Paul Turner is a youth pastor in Alabama, a longtime Youth Leaders Only member, and a good friend of interlinc’s. Paul wrote a set of powerful discussion starters for all 12 songs on the latest Switchfoot album Vice Verses. Each discussion starts with a song and then transitions into a character study based on men and women in the Bible.
I asked Paul to share a quick overview of his studies (since he does it so much better than I just did). And you can click here to download the first 3 of his Discussion Starters from YLO87 for “Afterlife,” “The Original” and “The War Inside.”
The new YLO87 includes a re:tuned discussion starter for the song “Lonely Boy” from The Black Keys. The song is a great way to start a discussion about how Jesus is waiting for us. re:tuned writer Benjamin Squires asks this question:
Could it be Jesus singing the blues about you? Jesus left His place in the throne room of Heaven to save us. “Well, I’m so above you/And it’s plain to see/But I came to love you anyway.”
Editor’s note: The re:tuned section in every Music Resource Book features discussion points for some of today’s most popular mainstream songs. These brief studies are designed to give you a starting point for a “What do you think this song is about?” discussion about a song you hear hanging out with students at Starbucks. Or you might try dissecting the week’s featured “Glee” song in a small group setting. Many youth leaders tell us that the re:tuned section is one of the hidden gems of their YLO membership.
I don’t usually use this space for blatant product promotion. And that’s not my intent here. So if it looks that way, I’m sorry. But this is something I’m passionate about. Over the last 20 years, through a series of events and people that are too long to list, God has taken the heart of this small-town girl and broken it over and over again for children and teens struggling to grow up in urban America.
That’s why I’m excited that the new Youth Leaders Only box (YLO87) includes “Man Up,” a movie and soundtrack from Reach Records that features Christian rappers Lecrae, Trip Lee, Sho Baraka, Tedashii, and others performing under the name of 116. It’s a powerful tool that was created to impact the lives of urban youth — specifically young men — growing up in a grim reality that offers very few Godly role models.
Here’s how ReachLife describes the project on their website:
There’s an ongoing war within urban culture. Confusion over what manhood is has plagued our cities, families and lives. The concept of a biblical man has been lost in our generation … Man Up is a new campaign, calling men in the hip-hop culture to true biblical manhood through repentance and faith in Christ.
Don’t think your guys won’t get it
I don’t know where you live or what the students in your ministry look like. I do know that the majority of our Youth Leaders Only members are in suburban churches in “middle America”. So it might be easy for you to dismiss “Man Up” as something you can’t really use.
While the target audience for this project is obviously urban youth, you and I both know that hip-hop culture isn’t just in the ‘hood. Five of the Top 10 singles on iTunes this week are by or feature hip-hop artists. Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. were front and center in the Super Bowl halftime show — one of the most mainstream events in America.
“Man Up” deals with the universal topics of authority, responsibility, envy, courage, sexual temptation, and repentance. These are issues that are relevant to the young men in your group no matter where they live. They may not come from the streets, but culture is holding up the ethos of the street through music and media every day.
Make an impact (twice)
If you’re a YLO member, when you get your new box, please spend some time with the movie and consider the impact it can have on the young men you know. Find a way to use it with your students.
Then I want to encourage you to think of a friend or co-hort you know who is working with urban youth, and share “Man Up” with them. (If they want, they can even get their own copy in a single box of YLO87 … or maybe you have a way to gift them their own box). I promise you they’ll see the value of the resource and quickly figure out a way to use it. This project speaks truth to a generation of young men no matter where they’re from or what color their skin is. Together let’s issue the call to a generation in need of God’s love and leadership: Man Up.
Click here to download our “How To Plan a Man Up Event” guide from the YLO87 Resource Book.