Posted by Br Gary Wison
on 17 September 2020
Music, as a core part of culture and a powerful impact in peoples' lives, is being used in a professional way in Lasallian youth ministry. Using it as an opt-in to Christian activities comes naturally when the Lasallian team get going. Over the years, the Youth Ministry Team has been using modern media videos, songs, projection techniques. Music-making has been developing, and the Team are very open to share their developed experience.
According to Damian Khoury, Youth Ministry Co-ordinator (ANZPPNG), through music, students are given an opportunity to engage in community in a new way with those around them. In that community, they are given an opportunity to "experience their unique individual and collective faith". Damian, educated at a Lasallian South African college, and as an audio engineer and composer, got his grounding at Southern Cross College Scarborough. He, within the Team, has developed further the tool of music in Lasallian retreats, biennial gatherings and online.
Sharing the Team's learning, not only engages youth in Lasallian schools but empowers them more in their faith. There is a context for youth prayer together and privately: misconceptions of prayer are broken down. Mashing up songs with Lasallian themes also shows the Team's adaptability and creativity. "We want firstly to create uplifting ministry moments, using music, with the vision to be able to train and empower students and teachers in effective youth ministry". Some schools are using the Lasallian team to resource their local encounters, where students sometimes find singing and mixing in Christian faith a strange experience at first. As one song says: Let me walk upon the waters / Your grace abounds in deepest waters.
Teachers, past Volunteers and school Lasallian youth ministers can also learn and be trained, where they have musical talents. In twice-a-year training seminars, the Lasallian Youth Ministers and Volunteers pick up the style of using all types of music when leading programs. "Go let your life shine, with those among us", as one of Damian's songs says. In addition, the Youth Ministry Team has been casually consulting with other youth ministry teams and organisations. One cluster of Catholic schools are working with the Lasallian Team to provide a training program in its region.
The Youth Ministry Team sees significant scope for its music-making - to be used intentionally and practically to foster community in many contexts around the District, and beyond, with the hope that many will be empowered to create in their own way the music spaces we are modelling.As some of the Team songs proclaim:
Greater things have yet to come,
Greater things are still to be done,
In this city whether it be Orange, Parramatta, Port Moresby or Melbourne!