Do you desire to impact teenagers’ lives for the better? Then get yourself plenty of help!

by Jan 26, 2018CUEnotes, Directors' Workshop

Whether working a youth choir ministry in a church, within a school system, or in the context of a larger community, we directors need to give thoughtful consideration to finding ourselves lots of help.

Here is the six-month series of articles coming in 2018 and beginning in this month’s edition:

January                        Lone Rangers and Long Hauls
February                      Real Grown-ups Who Want to Assist
March                          An Affirming Environment
April                            On a Par with the Best – and Then Some
May                             A Viable Niche in the Local Market
June                             This Mission Impossible

Part 1 – Lone Rangers Don’t Survive the Long Hauls

Lone rangers are not successful in building student choirs over the long run.

Why not?

How many reputable orthopedic surgeons do you know who would dare head into an operating room all alone, just surgeon and patient?

No receptionist to sign in the patient and obtain proper signatures. No orderly to wheel the patient from holding into the OR. No anesthesiologist to interview the patient and them put him to sleep, monitor oxygen levels, constantly watch blood pressure, and keep the poor guy from waking up in the big fat middle of the horribly painful procedure. No assistants to firmly slap instruments into the surgeon’s skilled hands. No surgical residents to keep an eye on the clamps to make sure they stay precisely in place. No extra hands to pull back muscle tissue while the surgeon checks the patient and completes her work. No nurses to remove blood-soaked gauze and replace it with fresh, dry, sterile supplies. No medical professionals standing by with retraction and suction equipment. No one to adjust the AC, lighting, or to move medical equipment around as is needed in the cramped space. No one to stitch, close, and bandage the patient once the exhausted surgeon completes multiple hours of intensive, muscle-straining work, standing in the same position all the while.

Just the surgeon and the patient … along with sufficient focused light to burn a hole in the floor and enough silence to hear yourself sweat.

What are the chances of the survival of said patient and the long-term success of that invasive procedure? And furthermore, what might be the odds of a major malpractice lawsuit being filed in the ensuing weeks and months?

Directors of youth choirs face similar-though-different challenges when we seek to radically impact teenagers. Going it alone is nothing short of crazy, but many try it. In my younger years, I gave it a good college try. Blazing forward with a group of singing students, I attempted ministry by personality cult, thrusting myself forward as the most delightful and cute extrovert on the planet. Heavy on the smiles, too quick with the tart one-liners, and overbearing with the high pitch noise, I set out to win friends and influence adolescents.

If we do nothing but scratch the surface of teenagers’ lives and hit only the high spots, we can perhaps accomplish that with our high-pitched conversations, cuteness, and high-octane personalities. However, if we have hopes of radically impacting the lives of teenagers for the good with a ministry that will bless them for the rest of their lives and into eternity, the we had better surround ourselves with plenty of help … good, dependable help!

So then, how do I know what kind of help we need?

Glad you asked! Please come back in next month and we’ll discuss it in the February edition of YouthCUE! u

Happy singing!



Submit a Comment

Randy Edwards

Randy Edwards

Founder & President, YouthCUE & Minister of Music & Worship at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX

Prior to devoting his full-time efforts to YouthCUE beginning in 2005, Randy served for more than thirty years as minister of music at First Baptist Church San Antonio, First Baptist Church Shreveport, Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio and currently at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio. He served as Chorusmaster of the Shreveport Opera Company from 1991-1999.

He has composed twenty-one published choral anthems and has authored the most comprehensive textbook to date on youth choir ministry, entitled, Revealing Riches and Building Lives: Youth Choir Ministry in the New Millennium. With more than six hundred articles published in over thirty publications, Randy Edwards is one of the premiere specialists in youth choir ministry today. He is sought widely as a conductor, clinician, consultant, and teacher.