[EDIT: After looking back over the article and video it can be perceived that I am picking on the student used as an example, or calling him out. This is not the case. I used his account because he helped me with much of the research for this article. I have nothing but respect for him and his family and have had to reexamine several ways I parent my own children since meeting them and seeing their example. Thanks Tucker for the help in writing this, and our many conversations on youth culture, music, YouTube, Instagram, and even Miranda Sings]
You get to preach to your students 2-3 times a week at best.
The artist’s your students listen to get them 3-8 hours a day, seven days a week.
And to top it off, they are preaching on issues that are more relevant to your students and connecting with them in a more meaningful, and effective way.
I hope that makes you mad. Not in the “I hate this post” mad, but a “How can I do something about this” type of mad.
If after reading that you are already planning next week’s message to be about how evil secular music is, and how your students need to only listen to christian music, you are going to lose.
Why? Because that’s the wrong approach. Not because it’s bad advice, but because it’s not practical.
First off, you don’t only listen to christian music, why should they?
And the real issue is the messages being preached through these songs, without a clear counter message from a biblical perspective.
Let’s talk about how you can know exactly what messages your student’s are getting from their music.
Because once you know what they are being told from the world, you can counter it with a biblical perspective on the same issue.
How to see, exactly what your students are listening to, and develop topics to preach a biblical perspective.
On the macro level, find out where your students spend their time, listen to what they are being exposed to, then lesson plan accordingly.
On a micro level it get’s a bit more complicated. Let’s roll our sleeves up and get busy.
How to use spotify to know both what your students are listening to and how to mine the songs for sermon and lesson topics.
I have included both a video walkthrough, and wrote the steps out below.
Step 1, What are they listening to?
If you don’t already have spotify, go to https://www.spotify.com/us/ and sign up. Then download the app.
Once you are in the app you have the ability to find and follow other users. Search for your students and follow them.
(NOTE) If your students do not want people seeing what they are listening to, they are able to create private playlists, as well as go into private listening sessions. But overall I have found that students, even students who are very conservative in what they watch, have no problem with others seeing exactly what they are listening to.
Once you have found a student follow them. Then look through their playlists to see what they are listening to.
You can see what is loaded into a playlist and once you find one that looks promising click on it. It shows all songs in the playlist.
Now I can see exactly what this student keeps in this playlist. Right away I notice several songs from Miley Cyrus’ bangers album.
This album is pretty full of sexually explicit content, as well as having several songs dealing with casting off of authority and living the way you feel is right. Even a few references to God being okay with whatever you decide to do with your life.
Well let’s dig in and see what we can come up with.
Grab a notepad, or create a new note in Evernote and hit play.
As you listen to each song write down any topics, you hear being sung about.
If you hear a few things that sound preachable, write down the name of the song and artist, then go google the song with the word ‘lyrics’.
Go through the lyrics and find as many topics as you can.
Once you have a list of themes do a search for scriptures that correspond.
Okay so just from We Can’t Stop from Miley Cyrus, I get the following.
We do what we want
Romans 13:1 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
We Can say what we want
–Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
We can love who we want
2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV / 266 helpful votes
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Red Cups and sweaty bodies everywhere
Ephesians 5:18 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Bet someone here might get some now
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Dancing with Molly
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
You can see how we can quickly come up with a long list of topics based off what your students are actually hearing and being told is the way they should live their lives.
From here you can craft your title and develop your message however you choose to study for your preaching/teaching time.
Okay one last piece of advice, don’t abuse this.
Don’t harass students about what they are listening to that day, and don’t call them out in a service.
If there is an actual concern pull the student aside, but again, don’t abuse this. Your students will block you and you will ruin a great window into their daily lives.
Yep, that’s all I’ve got for this one so do me a favor if you are so inclined and give this article a share. I am just getting started so even if one of your friends ends up reading it because of your 3 seconds of kindness, it’s a huge win for me.