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Witness
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
06/20/2017

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Witness by Katy Perry

Main Point: We all need friends…but we need good friends. We should surround ourselves with people of commitment and integrity.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • Katy Perry’s fifth album officially dropped in early June, but several songs (including Chained to the Rhythm, Bon Appétit, and Swish Swish) have already been released to mixed reviews. The album’s title track, Witness, is the latest song to enjoy national attention.

  • The song has a ton of clichés in it, which is pretty standard for pop music. It also has some language in it, so make a careful decision about the appropriateness for your group. As of this writing, there isn’t an official music video yet, but there is a lyrics video linked below the song’s lyrics.

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song:
I want us to take a moment to listen to Katy Perry’s song, Witness. The tune is about Perry’s confessed need of finding someone to connect with, someone to do life with. But she doesn’t just want a fair-weather friend; she wants someone who will stick by her when things get rough, too. In some parts of the song, she seems to have high standards for this particular someone, but in other parts of the song, she seems to just be looking for someone convenient. I think we can all agree there is a big difference…and it’s important to get it right.

The Video Clip:
Click the following link for the online video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3buEo3us1PU

Song’s Lyrics:

If I lost it all today, would you stay?
Could my love be enough to stimulate?
If sh*t hit the fan, grenades got thrown
Would you still show, oh?
Could you go down with me to the mat?
Could we get back up and eventually laugh?
Roll eyes at highs, cheers in the lows, and stay in the flow, o-o-o

'Cause I, I only got this life
And I ain't got the time, no
Not to get it right, oh

We're all just looking for connection
Yeah, we all want to be seen
I'm looking for someone who speaks my language
Someone to ride this ride with me
Can I get a witness? (witness)
Will you be my witness? (witness)
I'm just looking for a witness in all of this
Looking for a witness to get me through this

When you tell me everything, and there's no holes
You can scroll through anything, you've got the codes
Nothing to hide
It's all in their eyes
And we just know, o-o-o

'Cause I, I only got this life
And I ain't got the time, no
Not to get it right, oh

We're all just looking for connection
Yeah, we all want to be seen
I'm looking for someone who speaks my language
Someone to ride this ride with me
Can I get a witness? (witness)
Will you be my witness? (witness)
I'm just looking for a witness in all of this
Looking for a witness to get me through this

Will you be my witness?
Could you be the one that speaks for me?
Will you be my witness?

We're all just looking for connection (we're all just looking)
Yeah, we all want to be seen
I'm looking for someone who speaks my language
Someone (to ride this ride) to ride this ride with me (with me)
Can I get a witness? (witness)
Will you be my witness? (witness)
(Will you be my witness?)
I'm just looking for a witness (ooh-ooh-ooh-ah) in all of this
Looking for a witness to get me through this

Oh-oh-oh-oh (ah)
Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-ooh-ooh
Hey (ah)
Oh-oh-oh
Hey

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was the main message in Katy’s song?
    A: Over and over, she kept singing about her need of someone to connect with. She’s talking about searching for a confident, a friend, a “witness” as she puts it.

    Q: It’s pretty clear that she’s looking for a friend. What were some of the requirements she lists in the song for a person to be her “witness”?
    A: She wants someone who will be there for her in good times and bad. She wants someone in her life she can disagree with, but still love. She wants someone she can connect with, and she wants someone she can be transparent with.

    Q: What’s good about Katy’s list of requirements? In what ways might you disagree with her list?
    A: While she talks about wanting a trustworthy friend that knows her, she also seems to be saying she’s just looking for a friend for the moment.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
After listening to Katy sing about her search for a witness, there are definitely aspects of her search that we can identify with, right? She wants someone to go through life with, someone to know her, someone to be known by her, and someone who will be there with her in the good times and the bad. Like Katy, we all need friends. But we shouldn’t settle for low standards when it comes to choosing friends. Instead, we should surround ourselves with people of commitment and integrity. Those kinds of people make the best friends. Let’s talk about this more in our discussion groups.


More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our favorite song right now.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In your opinion, how important is it to pick the right friends in life?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Who’s your best friend, and what makes that person your best friend?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you go about choosing friends? What’s your strategy?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think God would say about choosing friends? What would His standards be for our friends?

  6. Read the following passage:

      Proverbs 12:18-26 (NLT)

      Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. 19 Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed. 20 Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! 21 No real harm befalls the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. 22 The LORD hates those who don't keep their word, but he delights in those who do. 23 Wise people don't make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their folly. 24 Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave. 25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. 26 The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In this passage, the writer compares two different kinds of people, the righteous (or wise) and the unrighteous (or fools). What are some of the distinctions he makes between the two?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Without naming any names, compare your friends to this list. How do they stack up?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Based on this passage, which kind of friend are YOU? What evidence do you have?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some ways to attract truth-telling, commitment-keeping, hard-working, godly friends?

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How would your life be different if you chose friends based off the kind of wisdom found in this Bible passage?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What changes do you need to make in the coming week as it pertains to your friends? Do you need to make some new friends? Cut some “friends”? Be specific.

Wrap Up:
During our time together, we listened to a very popular song by Katy Perry. In
Witness, she talked about the kind of person she wants in her life as a friend – a “witness” in her terms. She sang over and over again, “We're all just looking for connection, Yeah, we all want to be seen, I'm looking for someone who speaks my language, Someone to ride this ride with me.”

There is a lot to like about Katy’s desires. We want to know others and be known. That’s a major part of life. But when it comes to choosing friends, we gotta get it right. There’s just too much riding on that. In fact, Katy even said that in her song.

So, how do you choose solid friends? The Bible passage we read talks an awful lot about godly people and foolish people. Chances are good that we have some godly friends in our lives. But, we might also have some very foolish friends influencing us, as well.

Take a moment and consider this question: What would God say to you about each of your friends? How would He describe them? Does He trust them to influence you?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

Now turn the coin over: What does God want to say to you about being a friend right now? How well do you do at being a godly friend?


(Again, just pause and let them contemplate this question.)

Personally speaking, I want you to have amazing friends, people who will do life with you in the good times and the bad times. I want you to have sacrificial friends who put others before themselves. Most importantly, I want you to have godly friends who will push you closer and closer to Jesus.

As an adult, I can honestly say that one of the most important lessons I ever learned was how to be careful with who I let into my life. In the times when I was not close to God, it was usually because I had the wrong people around me pulling me into their lifestyle. But many of the times I have been close to God, it has been because I had someone in my life pushing me to live my life for God.

That’s the kind of witness, the kind of friend, I want you to have!


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith

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