I was sitting in church today at the 10:00 am service with some of the youth listening to Pastor Al’s sermon. It was a great message (you can listen to it here) and I remember thinking I wish I could have heard this stuff growing up. But then I thought about how I didn’t want to hear that stuff growing up. At first I was upset at my younger self, but then my thoughts turned to the kids in our church. And I watched as those sitting next to me dozed off. And then the band started playing and I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable with the music. I felt this way not because I think our worship music is bad, but because kids don’t listen to this type of music. They don’t listen to music led by your mom. Sorry, they don’t. You won’t find it on their ipod. So, seeking to gain a little understanding into what they’re actually thinking about church I asked one of them, “what’s your favorite part of the service?” The response was, “the music.” I could sense the sarcasm, but then it got worse, “…the music is my favorite part of the service because it’s the only time Pastor Al isn’t talking.” Ouch.
Like me (and probably you), most kids won’t fully realize the significance of what the pastor is saying until later on in life. And most kids will never take seriously your mom leading worship music (unless your mom is Katy Perry, sadly). It’d be nice to live in an ideal world where kids listened intently to the sermon and lifted their hands in worship; and in some instances I’m sure they do. But for the most part, that simply is not the case. And that’s ok because what keeps kids coming back to the church is not the music, or the pastor, but the magnitude of the relationships they have with the people in the church; which is why everything we do in youth ministry, and at Peace, focuses on this.
So next Sunday, don’t be discouraged if little billy isn’t paying attention during church. Instead, watch him as he interacts with those around him. Encourage him to be involved. He’s there and that may be enough. And hey, who knows, maybe it’s better if the kids don’t like the music at church because if they still show up then you know that they are there for the relationships. And maybe that’s a sign that they are there to worship God and not a rock star.