Fact: the average teenager's attention span ranges anywhere from eight seconds to about five minutes. That means that you as a student leader have just a measly eight seconds to get your students' attention and only five minutes to figure out how to hold on to it! Talk about a challenge!
One of the best ways we think you can quickly and easily grab the attention of your students is with music. There are so many ways you can utilize music to excite and engage your students. And to give you some tips, we turned to resident music expert and world-renowned rap artist, our very own Joseph Sojourner. Check out Sojo's five tips for engaging the students in your ministry with music.
1. Remix It!
If you're struggling to get your kids engaged with the music in your ministry, think about remixing some of your songs. Mixing up the arrangement of a familiar song is a great way to reengage and pull your kids back in. If you've been playing the same song in your worship set for more than a year, remix it to make it relevant again and reignite the excitement around it for your students. It's unexpected, it's new, and it gives them something to be excited about hearing again when they come back next week!
2. Create walk-in playlists.
At BigStuf, we always create incredible walk-in playlists to use before each session. It gets the buzz going in the room and gives students something to stay engaged with while they're waiting for the session to start. Choose music from different genres to capture the different styles and interests of the students in your program. Or let them get involved by giving your students the opportunity to choose songs they'd love to hear in the playlist. If you have local talent that your students are interested in, include them as well! Be intentional about selecting music that's fun, recognizable, and interesting to your students.
3. Incorporate openers.
Start your Sunday nights in student ministry with a fun opening song. Incorporating some familiar, fun songs as openers will get your kids' attention quickly because they recognize the song and are excited to hear it at church! Just remember to not outkick your coverage here! If you don't feel like you can do it justice (or do it better!), just don't do it. Kids will know the original song so well that if your band can't at least match their expectations for the song, your kids will lose interest.
4. Ask and research.
Maybe music isn't really your thing. Maybe you're more of a sports or movies kind of person. And hey, that's okay! Just remember that if music isn't your thing, you're going to need to put a little more research and effort into your student ministry music selection. Ask your students who they're listening to and look those artists up. Turn to your worship leaders and rely on their input for song selection. Let the experts be the experts and trust their guidance when it comes to music.
5. Your visibility gives you credibility.
Ultimately, this is true for most any part of your student ministry. The more visible you are to your students off stage, the more credible you'll be to them on stage. If you're actively engaged with them before and after your student ministry time, if you're hanging out with them during the week, if you're following them on social media, if you're intentional about showing up in their lives beyond Sunday nights' that makes you visible. And the more they see and know you off stage, the more credibility you'll have to them on stage - even with the details like music!