Help! My pastor wants me to work with the youth band! I can handle the adults; God has called me to lead adults. I can even work with the little kids – but teenagers? They are like aliens, just residing on this planet to bring unrest to our peaceful existence! I don’t speak teenager, I don’t wear skinny jeans, I don’t have anything pierced; how can I relate to these strangers?
Well first off, calm down . . . God has not called you to what He will not equip you. Let’s look at the great opportunity you now have to pour into the generation that very well may usher in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This generation is impassioned and analytical, somewhat cryptic yet painfully honest. They are looking for someone who will see past their veiled insecurities and pull the potential out that God has placed within them. They are looking for love, validation and a creative output that will allow them to bloom. Let’s face it, if the church doesn’t give these crazy, talented kids the opportunity to use their skills, they will find another place to use them. God gives the talent and now you have the ability to channel that aptitude and make sure that they are able to use it for the Glory of God!
Let’s set some ground rules that will allow you to be successful:
- Don’t try to get hip quick – you will fail!
Don’t start shopping for clothes that you have no business wearing and learning dance moves that no one wants to see you do! Please don’t get a faux hawk or tattoo Japanese calligraphy on your forearm. Leave the hipster jeans and beanie at the mall. You were asked to speak into young people because you have something to offer. You don’t have to “get hip” to do that. Yes, you need to be relational, but if you try too hard, they will consider you a fake. Be genuine, be real, be you.
- Don’t try to change them!
So they don’t do any of the songs you do; you don’t even like the songs they do! Ask yourself a few questions: Are they biblical? Are they encouraging? Do they point to Jesus? Are they singable? If the answer is yes, then there is nothing wrong with the music they are doing. Learn to adapt and get out of your musical box. Start listening to music you normally wouldn’t listen to. Broaden your scope of what worship is. That doesn’t mean you change your likes or dislikes, but it’s important to reach their generation. They won’t be touched by the same things that touched you. It’s the same spirit, same God, just different method.
- Listen to them!
Don’t just blow into rehearsal, spend an hour working on parts and guitar riffs and then leave. Spend time with them; get to know their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and passions. Not only will they feel that you have a genuine interest in their lives, but you will be able to better assess their gifting and anointing. You will be able to help point them in the direction that will help them fulfill their destiny in God. You will be blown away by the insight, wisdom and compassion that will flow from them. You might even learn something, so be open!
- Pray, pray and did I mention, Pray!
These kids will keep you on your toes. They will challenge you, they will stretch you and they will, at times, make you crazy! Make sure that you are being poured into on a daily basis which will in turn, allow you to pour out, and never be empty. Always be ready to capitalize on a teachable moment. This can only happen when you are walking every day, saturating yourself in the Presence of God.
I promise you, this is one adventure you will not regret! You may be tired, you may be frustrated and you may feel stretched thinner than you ever have, but you will not regret one second! Take this season and give it all you have and watch as a generation ignites with passion for Christ!
Cassine Puckett is a graduate of Victory Bible Institute’s School of Worship and, as a singer and songwriter, has been leading worship for over 15 years. She has been a speaker at various worship conferences. Cassine’s heart is to raise up leaders and see them walk in their God-given potential and anointing. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org