Musician brings Life to high school students
“Why did the melon have an elaborate wedding ceremony? Because it cant-aloupe!” joked Ben Hittie, a 21-year old from Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
“My brother made that one up,” he added as he laughed at himself.
Hittie, with his infectious personality, first picked up a guitar in sixth grade.
Now in his senior year at Penn State, he has learned how to play six different instruments, including piano and drums, and music has become a part of his everyday life.
Hittie is a leader for an organization called Young Life. He described Young Life as “a high school outreach ministry that tries to introduce who Jesus is to kids in a way that they’ve never heard the gospel before.”
Hittie has been involved in the organization since his junior year of high school. After one of the first few weeks of attending, he was recruited to play guitar for their “clubs,” what Young Life calls weekly meetings that seem more like a party.
“My leader said that they had been praying for a guitar player, and that was right when I started playing. He was like ‘We needed a guitar player and you showed up. Play guitar for us,’” said Hittie. “And I was like ‘ahhh, okay!”… I didn’t even know what Young Life really was yet.”
Hittie said he wants to change high schoolers’ opinions of what it means to be a Christian.
“A lot of people have preconceived notions of what it means to follow Jesus: that it’s boring, and it’s just a lot of rules,” Hittie said. “Young Life serves to meet kids where they are in their lives and show them that following Jesus is fun and an adventure.”
While he has used music as a means to make an impact on others’ lives, he has ventured outside the realm of Young Life and deepened his musical talents. In addition to playing in a blues band with his brother Jon, Hittie played in several different bands in high school, experiencing what it was like to play on stage and express himself through writing his own music.
Those experiences shaped the leader and musician that Hittie is today.
“It’s given me a way to serve in ministry through leading music in Young Life, which is a really awesome way to serve,” said Hittie. “I don’t think people come for the music. They come for the community and acceptance and the fun, but music is a big part of that too.”