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Michael Jackson and Youth Ministry

The King of Pop is dead in case you missed which would mean that you have been hiding under a rock or on a youth mission trip in a third world country. The media is teeming with information about his life and legacy. Who gets the kids? Who gets the money? You can find out what Michael Jackson song you are on facebook. Millions loved him. Millions dispised things that he was accused of doing and the life he lived. Does the church and our youth ministries need to respond to this cultural phenomenon?

Many would say no, but I think there are several teachable moments that we can use this moment in time to talk about with our kids.
1. We could address how the media and society is crazy for gossip about this human being. We could address how our kids talk about others including celebrities.
2. We could talk about the effects of a childhood lost and how that shaped Michael Jackson as an adult with parents who want their kids to grow up to fast.
3. You can talk with your kids about the “hurt” inside someone that must have existed to cause someone to have such radical transformation to their appearance.
4. Play – have a Michael Jackson trivia contest, have a moonwalk contest, have a Michael Jackson karaoke or lip sync night.
5. But my favorite thing that we could do is to use the moment to teach them some Michael Jackson lyrics that were life changing for many in the two previous generations. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” Which could be powerfully combined with suggest #1. See more below.

I broke the news to my wife who had a 45 single record of Thriller when she was a kid and she was sad – partially because of who Michael Jackson had become but also because he had impacted her life. Michael’s songs had marked her childhood, middle, high school, and college years.  There is no doubt that Michael Jackson affected youth culture in the MTV generation (the one where they showed videos).

The most common post I saw on Facebook on my feed were quotes from “Man in the Mirror.” This was a very powerful song with powerful lyrics for my generation and it could be for this one as well.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)”

A couple of  possible scriptures to use with a “Man in the Mirror” lesson would be 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” or Matthew 7:4 – “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

I believe that the Be the Change generation that we are working with can hear and would welcome this message again.

Granted there are plenty of Michael Jackson songs that we would not want to promote our young people.  But here are four other great teaching songs from Michael and even a couple of scripture references to work with:

“Keep the Faith” – Dangerous
Scripture: Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

“Heal the World” – Dangerous
Scripture: Micah 4:3 – “He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

“Black and White” – Dangerous
Scripture: Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

“You are not Alone” – HIStory – Past, Present And Future – Book 1
Scripture: Matthew 28 -“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Here is a link to the lyrics for all his songs: Michael Jackson Lyrics

You can also find this article at YMtoday.com where you can print it off or find other great resources.

Categories: Youth Ministry
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  1. July 9, 2009 at 1:03 am

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