Wouldn’t it be snazzy to do a mp3 player drive to collect old music players like ipods and Zunes and then be able to donate those to a program that used them to help someone in need? (Win #1) Wouldn’t it be even better if while doing that mp3 player drive, you were able to share the hope of Jesus with those who donated (or considered donating)? (Win#2) Well you can! Read on to find out how to do this cool outreach idea.
A little background:
Have you heard of how powerful music can be for an older person, particularly those with dementia and Alzheimer’s? According to Ann Wyatt,, “music has the power to restore that sense of well-being and connection to people,” especially for those with dementia. It really is remarkable. For an example, check out this video of “Henry” and how he responds to music.
The above video was produced to help spread the word about a non-profit called “Music and Memory”. They “bring personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life” (http://www.musicandmemory.org/). Basically they take old mp3 players and put customized music on them for a specific elderly person, which, as you can see from the video above, is pretty meaningful.
How to do the outreach:
The idea is a simple one. Partner with the non-profit “Music and Memory” (a secular non-profit) and do a music drive to help get donations of old music players. While you and your students are going door to door, asking for the music players, try to start a conversation about why you actually are asking for donations. Simply put, this means after someone donates a player or hears you tell them about the cool program by “Music and Memory”, ask them if they would like to hear “why” you are doing the donation drive. Maybe say:
Thanks for donating a player today. It is awesome to think about how the elderly person who hears music from it will be able to connect better to people. Can I tell you why I personally think this is an amazing program?
If they are open to hear, then share how God cares about all people and Jesus told us to love all people, including the elderly. From here, the conversation about Jesus loving them as well is easy. Ask if they know that Jesus said he loved them as well…that Jesus is God and therefore, God loves them? If the conversation progresses, you may even be able to share the full gospel message.
Remember, for students (and some adults) the actual asking for the music players is easy. It is asking if you can share “why” that is a bit harder. Then, the crucial part is being ready to give a short and concise answer about how Jesus loves all people, including them. You may even want to have your students and adult leaders practice this ahead of time so they can get it down. The goal is to start a conversation about Jesus and see where it goes and at the same time to collect the music players.
Jesus made it clear. To follow Him, we are to be known by our love (John 13:34-35), and doing things that demonstrate that love is important…VERY important. What it communicates to those you serve, as well as to those you ask to help serve speaks volumes for the message of Jesus (Win-Win).
There will be many older people whose lives are impacted because of the music they will hear. And if you were able to share the message of Jesus love for all people with just ONE person, you have potentially impacted their eternity for the better, which for the angels rejoicing in heaven…is sweet music indeed.
What do you think of the above idea? Have you ever done an activity like this with a youth group? What happened?