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The Best Youth Ministry Playlists (That Won’t Get You Fired)

a soundboard with different sliders for volumes

We tend to think a lot about what happens during our youth ministry programs — but not as much about what happens before programming even starts.

At Orange, we call that the “prelude” — the first of the seven segments of an effective youth ministry program. The prelude includes playlists, graphics, room setup, and much more!

The predule is critical to your first impressions with teenagers, and communicating clearly that your environment is for them.

Music Cues Teenagers That You Get Them

If you’ve ever been to Disney, you know that the experience starts before you even enter the gates or before you get to the attractions you are headed toward. The way it sounds, the way it looks, the way it even smells.

Imagine (to be extreme) only playing 90’s music. That might be your vibe, but it communicates that the environment is about your preferences or — at worst that you care more about convincing them something’s cool than understanding and engaging their preferences.

Even worse, dead silence just feels . . . awkward.

Great youth ministry playlists are just one small way to create an environment that engages teenagers and helps them feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.

Your Done-For-You Youth Group Playlists

We create playlists every month to accompany each XP3 curriculum series. It’s one way we build a complete strategy and operating system for youth ministry leaders instead of just a sermon outline.

With the XP3 playlists, you’ll find . . .

  • New playlists every few months so your music stays fresh and relevant
  • Pre-screened lyrics so you don’t get a call from the elder board or an angry parent
  • A mix of Christian and non-Christian music to meet students where they are as you point them to timeless truth
  • Themed playlists to go with your summer vibes or your rockin’ Christmas party.

You can find all of those playlists on our XP3 Curriculum Spotify channel.

Choose Your Music Responsibly

While we pre-screen lyrics, we can’t guarantee each playlist will agree with your church’s policies or preferences. It’s best always to screen a playlist and the artists before you play them in your environment. We curate these playlists so that you can stay relevant, engaging, and culturally connected with your students without compromising essential values.

Another pro tip — make sure to turn off autoplay if you use Spotify. Auto-play will algorithmically play “recommended” music that can be explicit and inappropriate.

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