Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Music Leaders Part 1

This coming Sunday, our youth is going to lead the Morning Worship service. I am really looking forward to this. We have some amazingly talented teens, and they are truly going to ROCK THE FLOCK (Mark Hall’s term).

Some of our musicians have had lessons. Most have not. They are self-taught, learning from chord charts, books, YouTube, and playing music with friends.

That’s not how I developed my talent.

I was in piano lessons by age 7. Aside from a brief break a few years in, I took lessons all the way through college. And though I taught myself the guitar, I did so at age 17 with full knowledge of chord structure and a good grasp of music theory.

I learned to sing harmony by picking up the hymnal in a Baptist church and, using the skills I developed in piano lessons, was able to ascertain which notes I was supposed to sing. And I sang them. Choir classes in school and children’s choirs at church strengthened my ability.

This is simply not the way today’s teens are learning to sing and play.

As I mentioned earlier, the resources available to today’s youth are so far beyond the materials available years ago. And while this is important, it is also important to note that today’s youth have more performance opportunities than ever before.

When I was in youth group, we NEVER led the entire service. Oh sure, we would occasionally sing a couple of songs DURING a service. But lead the whole shebang? Nah.

Think about it. I was a teenager in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Churches were just beginning to use instruments other than piano and organ. Drummers and guitarists need not apply.

The orchestra currently consists of six teenagers: guitar, clarinet, flute, and trumpet. Two sing on praise teams on Sundays. Another two work on our tech crew (lights and projection/PC). Our band for this Sunday will consist of rhythm guitar, lead guitar, keys, piano, drums, and four singers (I will be on bass). Our youth choir runs about 25. The youth worship service on Sunday nights is entirely youth-led (except for me – I’m the lone old dude, just playin’ my bass and singin’ my songs).

These young men and women are vital to the music ministries of our church. Not in the future. NOW.

Stay tuned for part two.

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