Music Attracts Youth in Littleton
Hundreds Attend Contemporary Concerts
By Christy Ziemba –
How do you reach teenagers with the message of Christ? Do the more traditional methods work, or do we try to reach them through more contemporary vehicles? That’s a question often asked of Gator Gaynor, youth director at Littleton Temple Corps, Colo., and Jenny Gaynor, administrator of family ministries.
Having nine years experience with youth programs, they began working for the Army this summer at the Littleton Temple Corps/New Heights Center in Metro Denver. Gator has a radio background and has had his own radio show on Christian stations. Jenny worked for an agency that placed foster children in Christian homes and is earning her master’s in a ministry outreach program. Both volunteered as assistant youth pastors before working with the Army.
People often ask what are the major influences in teenagers’ lives. Gator said, “Parents used to be high on the list, but now they’re not even in the top ten. Music did not even exist as a major influence, and now it’s considered to be the number two influence in a teen’s life, with number one being their peers. So teens are listening to their friends and music for their decision making–a lot more than to their religious leaders and parents.”
The Littleton Temple Corps/New Heights Center has booked professional Christian music concerts since the beginning of last summer, at no cost to the corps. On an average, close to 300 are attending the concerts. One of the main reasons for this type of ministry is to reach some of the youth who might not come to know Christ in more conventional settings.
Gator said, “You don’t want to compromise, but there’s a certain point where we have to be all things to all people, so that someone can be saved. And honestly, if we plan on trying to reach teenagers from what we would consider the traditional ways, then we’re not going to reach them. We have to be in the world, but not of it.”
Jenny added, “The Christian band members gain respect with the cool music the kids like to hear. They first respect them as musicians and then the musicians are able to share the message of the Lord Jesus Christ with them.”
On a regular basis, 25 teens are participating in the Tuesday night Bible study known as the “Upper Room at the Corps.” On Sundays, approximately 10 teens are involved in this study. Four new families have started coming to Sunday worship because of their kids’ involvement on Tuesday nights.
At the beginning of the summer there were not any teenagers attending the corps.