Mission Trip Jams
As a music lover since the womb, I am always listening for the message of a song before I decide if I want to add it to my personal playlist. The trickiest playlist to add to for me is my workout playlist. Thankfully, lots of Christian artists have stepped up lately to give us a great beat along with a great message.
This past summer, I drove my youth to Denver, CO. A 16 hour drive there and 16 hours back. I knew that we would need a full playlist for the ride. I challenged my youth to send me their favorite songs to add to the playlist BUT they had to have a quality, appropriate message in them. At first, they told me it was “impossible” because every secular song talks about sex or drinking or drugs or violence somehow in them, to which I agreed that MOST do, especially songs that have a really catchy beat and melody. (Single Ladies?? One Direction?? Sam Hunt?? We could go on…) After the first 3 hours of the drive filled with awesome, uplifting and current Christian music that I had filled our playlist with the months before, they were annoyed and sick of them and found renewed energy to search for appropriate secular songs.
I’ve had moments where I am very discouraged by what I hear on my radio across the genres at times. BUT as followers of Christ, we need to strive to not participate in any enjoyment of the things that Jesus went to the cross for. This is something I am constantly striving to correct myself at and that includes my music playlists.
Sure… “It’s just a song, Ashley” my youth say….but these are the places where it starts. It starts on the surface level with movies, tvs, jokes, etc, and then seeps into our lives from there. I’m confident that there are still musicians out there who can share a song worth listening to EVEN IF it’s not by a ‘Christian’ artist.
For this month’s playlist, I went back through our mission trip playlist and grabbed 16 secular songs that, for the majority of the songs, got the youth to smile and jam out together despite their different tastes in music, or at least got a “yea, its fine” from the biggest cynic in the back. Granted, you will still have youth that you just can’t please with any music you chose, but I think it’s our duty to at least give them examples of how to interact with the culture around us, without giving up the Gospel.
I’m sure there are many more appropriate songs out there, these are just a few to get you started! Good luck and I’d love to hear any you may have to add to our playlist here!
~Ashley Litwiller, pastor of youth and worship at Arthur Mennonite Church (IL)