Music is not what it use to be. If the Beatles are still your favorite band then we need to talk. The music conversation is one that most youth pastors will have with a senior pastor, fellow staff member, student band member or even a parent. I remember a parent asking me recently, “Do you think it’s okay if my daughter listens to Taylor Swift?” Here’s the reality, as a parent or a youth pastor…most of the students out there are listening to a secular radio station your city plays or quickly downloading the hottest #1 release on the digital market. If that’s not the case of your child or student, they will still hear this stuff around their friends or when they go out. While it might not be your taste, visit a radio station that plays music with bad words being bleeped out, lyrics about one night stands and a beat you can’t understand. Here is what you need to remember – this is “their” music. This is what students listen to, this is what their friends listen to. These are the lyrics that are filling up their minds, driving their emotions, and even affecting their decision making. The chorus that sings about love, will be one of the ways they think about and interpret love as a teenager. Their favorite lead musician may appear to have it all together, this is literally a rockstar they look up to – they want to sing like them, dress like them, talk like them.
Surprisingly, there is still some clean secular music out there and when you find it… you should play it. Play it in the home. Play it as students are walking into church. Play it on the bus as you travel on your mission trip. Play the music video at camp. Students appreciate you knowing their music, and keeping up with their taste. When you play the clean stuff you are affirming and encouraging that specific song or artist. When you choose certain songs or decline particular song requests, this allows for honest conversation in why you chose these artists/songs rather than others. Avoiding the subject all together and just playing what you want is not an option.
I’m guilty of listening to plenty of songs that are irrelevant in today’s student culture. I’m an old soul. When I say to a student that I like listening to The Eagles, Marty Robbins, or some Johnny Cash they look at me real funny. So here is the challenge to you and me, find that radio station playing all the current rock/pop and just push play. Give it a whole week. Reflect on the lyrics, better understand the culture they are living in and what they are listening to. Find the fun and clean songs, write them down, download them, add them to your playlist.
I’m sure there is way more to this conversation…what do agree or disagree with? How do you feel about the challenge? What were the results if you did try this?