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Think Like Them

Geoff Stewart —  March 20, 2013 — 1 Comment

Josh and Kurt had a great post about understanding the world your students live in and I wanted to dig a little deeper on the subject:

In our ministry; like many others, Music is a core part of what we do week in and week out. Before and after our service and the Worship time within it, the music creates a vibe and a space where are students can connect with God and each other. When it comes to Christian music there have been few albums more hyped than Hillsong’s newest release “Zion” which has been a top seller in multiple countries and is filled with incredible music that unapologetically points to Jesus.

In the past few weeks of connecting with other youth pastors in my area, the topic of the album has come up several times and one comment I have made to each person that I have discussed it with is that there isn’t any “youthy,”  jump around classic Hillsong United anthem type songs on “Zion” and most of them were content with the departure. As I get older, my taste in music has change, and for a band like Hillsong United, they are getting older too and with the maturation of their members, comes a maturation of their sound as well.

So what am I getting at? As we get older, and our tastes mature it can become easy for us to lose sight of who we are serving and leading. I may be getting further away from high school every year, but the students entrusted to me are still there, and thus I need to be sure to do my best to see the world through their eyes and through their ears. While I may be less inclined to jump around during a worship service than I once was, I need to know that for 16 year old me, there was nothing better. The truth is:

  • The music that you encounter God through will probably be different
  • The games that you find fun to play might not be fun to students
  • The overnight lock-in might be the most dreaded event on your calendar, but the most exciting one on your student’s
  • The style and feel of a night that will make it conducive to a high schooler inviting a friend to is going to be different than what it might be for you.

Our responsibility is to advocate for the needs of our students. Sometimes that means doing events and playing songs that might not speak to our needs or engage us as much, but we are not youth pastors to serve our own interests. This is the place where student leaders and young volunteers are invaluable. Much like your grandparents favoring a rotary phone over an iPhone, we’ll often resort to the familiar and comfortable. There will be things that we might not be able to wrap our minds around at first, that we need to know and be fluent in. It can be challenging to try and continually re-learn the teenage mind, but for us to be effective in our ministry to students, we owe it to our students to understand the way they see the world.

Geoff – geoffcstewart

 

Geoff Stewart

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One response to Think Like Them

  1. Thanks for this reminder Geoff. As a guy in his 40′s, I find it is so easy to forget what you’ve just said and we can’t afford to do that. We’re missionaries into their culture in the sharing of the faith we hold dear, and all the elements that go with it (the games, the music, the media, the illustrations). It’s not about us.

    Keep going for it, and thanks for the encouragement!

    ::danKing::

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