Music & Media
group magazine: May-June, 1998
Ideas for using Top 40 and Christian music, movies, and TV programs in your programming.
by Bryan Belknap
Song: “Lovely Mausoleum”
(from the release...Amplifier)
Artist: Big Tent Revival
Theme: Jesus brings life to our souls
Synopsis: The singer points out that people sometimes make beautiful exteriors for their lives while hiding emptiness, corruption, and ugliness inside themselves.
Background: BTR’s solid third album continues their progression to full-blown Southern rockers. The music is louder, but the lyrics remain straightforward and deep-felt, delving into the heart of Christian living. Old fans will love Amplifier, as will fans of The Black Crowes and Third Day.
Activity: Cut Spam into squares, and lay the squares on paper towels alongside an assortment of craft materials. Give each person 10 minutes to decorate a Spam square. Afterward, play the song. Ask: How are these Spam squares like or unlike the people the singer’s describing?
Read aloud Luke 11:37-44; then ask: What specific things do people use today to give themselves status? What status symbol is most tempting? Challenge kids to read 1 Samuel 16:7 each day during the coming week.
Song: “My Own Prison”
(from the release...My Own Prison)
Theme: Our sin and our need for redemption
Synopsis: The singer seeks God’s forgiveness for his sin, which creates his “own prison” and condemns him.
Background: Creed performs the straight-up, heavy rock popularized by Metallica and Alice in Chains, but Creed’s lyrics focus on deeply spiritual themes, such as grace, redemption, and repentance. The lead singer grew up in a Christian home, rebelled, and came back to God. Though mainstream, this album is more spiritual than many “Christian” albums today.
Activity: In a large open area, have your kids line up. Then have them tie their own shoelaces together (or loosely tie their ankles together with twine) and run a race. Once back in the meeting room, have kids form small groups. Play the song.
Have groups discuss: You were handicapped by running with your shoelaces tied together—what hinders this singer from reaching his goal? What do the two situations have in common? Have groups read aloud James 1:13-15. Challenge kids to identify the “prisons” in their lives and to ask God’s help to be released.
Song: “This Time” (from the release...Urban Hymns)
Artist: The Verve
Theme: Deciding to live without regrets
Synopsis: The singer looks back on his regrets and vows to follow “the light” and make good decisions in his life.
Background: The Verve, from England, are riding their massive hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (the Nike commercial song) to stardom. The album is a psychedelic mishmash of classic rock, pop, country, classical, and more. Though the songs explore depression and the trials of life, they always turn to love and to hope for answers and assurance (except for a two-word spiral into the gutter at the very end of the CD).
ACTIVITY: Give everyone a slip of paper. Ask each person to write down his or her biggest regret. Tell kids to conceal their papers so others don’t see. Form small groups and play the song. Ask groups to discuss: What makes it so hard for people to let go of regrets?
Have groups read aloud 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. Ask: What’s the difference between regret and godly sorrow? What have you learned from a regret? Have kids rip their regrets into pieces and throw them away, symbolizing what God has already done with them.
Lost in Space
“Danger, Will Robinson. Danger!” This is Robot’s classic warning in the Lost in Space TV series, as well as in the current $70 million, special-effects-laden sci-fi film. Take advantage of the hype to teach about the Holy Spirit.
Play a clip from the TV show (check the Sci-Fi Channel for reruns), preferably one of Robot proclaiming “danger,” or play the theme song. Choose someone to hold a (fake) frayed electrical wire. Have kids take turns warning the group not to touch the wire, using any possible means to convince them. At the end have everyone decide which warnings were the funniest or most effective. Then ask: In real life what warnings do you hear most often? What type of warning affects you most, and why?
Have kids form small groups and read John 14:16-17, 26. Have them discuss: Has the Holy Spirit ever warned you? How did you respond to him? What things interfere with hearing him? Close in prayer, asking God to help kids learn to listen more closely to the Holy Spirit.