Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Using Music to Reach the Next Generation - Part One
In the last few posts we have been discussing how churches can reach the next generation. We have covered the issue of technology in two posts (read the first one here, read the second one here). Now we will turn our attention to perhaps one of the most controversial issues in church life today, the issue of music.
Though the style of music a church uses can be a touchstone that many pastors want to avoid, the reality is that churches will eventually have to discuss the delicate issue of what type of music to use in worship. The language of today’s young adults is music. Churches that understand this new language will be able to reach young adults more eﬀectively. Many churches falsely think that if they just add drums or guitars to their worship services, then they will automatically reach young people. While it is true that most young adults prefer music that has more bass and is more upbeat than traditional Sunday-morning fare, just speeding up the tempo and adding a drum will not keep young people coming to church.
The secret to communicating to young adults through music is to understand that young adults use music to express their emotions. For young adults, music is how they communicate with those around them. They sing about their experiences and how those experiences make them feel. They use song lyrics as Facebook posts and in text messages to communicate how they feel about themselves, other people, politics, and their personal experiences, as well as what they think about spiritual issues. Danny Ferguson is a professional youth minister serving with Youth for Christ in Langley, Canada. When discussing the critical issue of music, Ferguson says “Music can be a gateway to understand life and God.” This is true for the next generation. They see music as a gateway to their relationship with God. Sometimes churches use music as a filler between other parts of the service, and that just does not speak to the next generation at all. But when used effectively, music can be a powerful medium to communicate gospel truth to the next generation.
In our next post, we will talk about the difference between hymns and modern worship music.