Brian Veenstra

Involving the Youth: Music Ministry

Every year after our church’s Christmas program, a handful of young men in the assembly gather around our piano in the auditorium and sing hymns together. We’ve been doing it every year for three years now, and we always have a very good time. We’ve expanded this worship to other events hosted by our assembly. Whether it be the Spring conference, or the New Year’s Program, or Easter Sunday, we find a way to sing together.

My friends and I love singing. Singing to the Lord Jesus Christ is the one thing I love more than writing. The first time I went to camp, I was known as “the guy that sings everywhere.” I sing while I work, I sing while I write, and I sing while I draw. I can’t stop. I have a joy that makes me want to sing until my voice stops working.

Music as worship

This love of music is not limited to myself or my own youth group. Youth all over the world love music. We enjoy singing to ourselves, listening to music, and also singing in church while praising God. 

The assemblies have a rich history of writing and singing doctrinally sound hymns and songs. We have also enjoyed a solid heritage of hymns sung well. We sing because we love our God. Singing as Christians is something we have that other religions do not have. At least not in the same way.

Music is a means of worship and a way to express our love for God. We are encouraged throughout Scripture to sing to God. In fact, we are not only encouraged to sing, we are commanded to sing.

Involving the youth

The young people have a very important role to play in the music of the assembly. Many young people in the assemblies have musical gifts. It’s important that we include the young people in music ministry, because they are an integral part of the church.

  1. If a young man is musically gifted we should encourage him to lead the singing. This will give them confidence that they will later need to preach and evangelize. It gives them practice in front of a large group of people and allows them to hone their skills.
  2. If a group of young men and or women show talent singing together, allow them to sing for the congregation. This is sometimes called “special music.” The congregation tends to enjoy this, and it blesses the assembly as a whole.
  3. If a young person is gifted with a musical instrument, they should be encouraged to accompany the congregation. Accompanying a group develops different skills than playing by yourself. A large congregation is usually more forgiving than a music teacher. It teaches how to adapt, to keep going despite mistakes, and to follow a leader.
  4. If a young man or woman shows a gift in songwriting, encourage to write hymns for the assembly. Songwriting is an underrated skill in the assemblies, but it is important. Young people that write good hymns are adding to a tradition of rich hymnology that the assemblies hold dear. We can build up the young songwriters by singing their hymns and incorporating their hymns into the assembly’s worship.

Above all, encourage those young people with musical talents. Whether it be a new piano player, a group of singers, or a songwriter, help them to grow in the Lord. Gently lead them and guide them in Christ.

Start now

Remember: youth are not the future of the assemblies, they are the present. So, as with the rest of the assembly’s ministries, the youth need to be included in the music ministry. If we want our assemblies to grow, our youth have to step up to the plate and help with music.

As I’ve said before, the young people love being entrusted with responsibility. Give them the responsibility to work with music. You won’t be let down. 

Brian Veenstra
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