Music Festivals 101 (part 1)
Having just returned from a rather sizable Christian Music Festival, I thought it best to debrief myself by sharing my experience with you. This is part one in a small series, so please make sure to check out the other parts…
Over the years, I have wrestled with sponsoring/running/encouraging large group youth ministry-related events. Largely my apprehension to get involved stems from a desire not to see teens won over to some glitzy production, only to have the excitement fade a few days after they return home, and any real commitment that they made over the course of the event fade just as quickly. I have been to several events over the years where this very thing has happened, and so I agreed for our group to attend Alive 08 with much trepidation. I am happy to report that so far, the pros have greatly outweighed the cons to this particular trip.
Go to build relationships – One of the biggest boons to your ministry that a trip like this can be is a deepening of relationships with students. We took 11 teens total (8 guys, 3 girls), most of whom I have not been able to build any real solid semblance of a relationship thus far in my ministry. Of those 8 guys (the girls wound up doing their own thing and will be another post), I only had a real pre-existing relationship with 3 or 4 of them that had any genuine depth. During the course of Alive, I was given many opportunities to goof around with them, share concerts and music that they enjoy, eat together (never underestimate the power of a meal together), hear Biblical Truth together, swim together, and really just do life together. We camped out. We laughed. We go to build real relationships with each other using the opportunities and shared experiences of the week. Worry about building those relationships even more than ensuring that one or two students will step forward and accept God’s gift of Salvation. (Not to downplay the altar call – or salvation – but with a relationship to back you up, you can speak more into a student’s life after they have responded to that particular invitation. Our group did have one student who chose to accept Christ’s salvation at this festival, and the relationship that I have built with him allowed e to speak more into his life than the others present who had no relationship with him. More on this thought in a later post)
Now coming home, I have several new buddies that I did not have before. Guys that can now see that I do have things to offer to them, and that they do ant to spend time with. So not comes the challenge of maintaining these new relationships. But you know what? I look to it with great anticipation. Keep the relational fires going with movies and concerts together. Meals together. Times to just talk together. Don’t let these activities overshadow your relationship, but feel free to use them as vehicles to enhance your growth together.