A topic of discussion for many years has been how to get youth more involved in church. One way to approach this is by looking at music. Get the youth involved in music; then point them to music in the church. Here are a few ways to think about involving young people in church, specifically through music.
Why Music Matters in Young People’s Lives
I’m a firm believer that having experience in music helps people achieve more and succeed in all areas of life. In the malleable minds of young people, the benefits music brings can have especially far-reaching effects.
Learning music helps young people think both creatively and analytically, which helps develop both sides of the brain and broadens the possibilities of other subjects they can learn about. Being in an ensemble teaches young people how to work with others and see their part in the bigger picture, which will benefit them in group projects in school and then later in the workplace. Music also encourages creative problem solving, appreciation of art and history, emotional maturity, and the development of fine-motor skills. Put these benefits in a biblical context, and music can be a powerful tool in young people’s spiritual growth by helping them learn how music can point people to the Gospel. So how do we involve youth in the extraordinary benefits of creating music at church?
Modeling Musical Interest in the Home
Like many things, interest in music starts in the home. Kids want to act like their parents, so the best way to get kids excited about music is for their parents to be excited about it. Encourage parents to participate in the music of the church and to make music a part of everyday life so their children know about music and are exposed to it daily.
Even if parents don’t think they have any musical abilities, remind them that people aren’t born musical, they just have to practice and learn. The cliché “fake it till you make it” applies here. Encourage parents to show their children why they sing or play handbells and what they get out of it. This will help their children learn why music in the church is important.
Pairing Young People with Other Musicians
Get young new musicians involved with other ones. Young people feed off one another. If they’re surrounded by others like them, they’ll have fun regardless of the circumstances. Give them instruments or a song to sing, and they’ll run rampant. Then it’s just a matter of corralling them and helping them focus on the music.
Another option is to pair each young musician with an older musician. This gives young people someone to not only learn from but also look up to and grow through spiritually. Having a mentor at church is a good way for young people to learn about and apply their faith in their lives.
With the support of parents in your congregation, you can help young people thrive in musical environments at church. I hope these ideas help you get started!