This fall the Central Territory’s youth music groups (Territorial Youth Band, Territorial Youth Chorus and Territorial Worship Collective) are releasing a recording project called “Level Up” which features 14 musical selections with devotionals that can be used in a group or personal setting. Members say they’ve grown musically and spiritually through the process; three of them share their journey here.
Territorial Youth Chorus
Music has always been an important part of my life. I was drawn to it from a young age through my family. In elementary school, I was part of a musical and fell in love with performing. In middle school, I participated in choir, show choir and a musical. All of this built my confidence, knowledge and musical ability, but something was missing.
At 13, I won a scholarship to Central Music Institute (CMI). I loved it! I finally was able to bring music and faith together. As part of the top choir, Booth Chorale, I was eligible to join the Territorial Youth Chorus (TYC). My close friends and I were excited to be a part of it.
In 2019, TYC traveled to New York—a dream of mine—to participate in the Eastern Territory’s Singing Stars festival. I saw not only singing but spoken word and other expressions sharing God at work in people’s lives. It gave me a deeper appreciation for music and how it can draw others to Jesus.
Though TYC couldn’t meet last year, my relationships with others in it held strong. I’m glad to be part of a group where people understand the talents God has given them and what they need to do to celebrate His Word in these times. It’s been a rough year, but through music, my growth spiritually and emotionally hasn’t stopped as God has spoken into my circumstances.
Territorial Worship Collective
Early in 2019, I heard the territory was creating a group called the Territorial Worship Collective. I was beyond excited to play with youth from across the territory in a praise team. This opportunity came right after I became a leader with my corps praise team. My first year was a blessing as I was challenged to use my gifts.
Though COVID-19 took away my second year in person with this group, we found ways to worship together and encourage one another. We made collage videos of “I’ll Raise a Hallelujah” and “Yes and Amen.” It was fun to try something different, but we didn’t stop there.
This year the Lord provided the opportunity to record our music in a project called “Level Up.” It’s a new experience for many of us, and I’ve been excited to be part of the process, knowing it’s challenging us to improve our skills but also about the song’s message which will help plant truth in our hearts.
One of the songs, “Boundless Love,” reminds me of how great God’s love is that rescues and restores us, regardless of anything we’ve done. It gives me hope. I am looking forward to seeing how God has been working in all our lives during this time.
Territorial Youth Band
The Level Up theme couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It’s encouraged me to let go of things—a step of growth we often forget. Before the pandemic, I often functioned on autopilot, forgetting the purpose behind what I was doing. With lockdowns and social distancing, my systems broke down. I became frustrated with having to reorganize my life. “What do I do with all my free time,” I wondered. I no longer had an excuse for not carving out time with God or practicing my instrument. I suddenly had all the time in the world.
While the pandemic forced me to part ways with many things, God used last year to teach me how to trust Him. He reassured me that He “will make my paths straight.” He has my back. I learned to hold not so tightly to my own ideas, dreams and plans. God must lead, not me.
It was the same for my music. I had forgotten the foundation for music being such a big part of my
life, but God reminded me it’s about investing time and effort to develop and use the gifts He’s given me.
Please keep our territorial youth music groups in your prayers as we strive to “level up” not only as musicians but as followers of Christ and that God will use our new recording project to minister to others.