Heart Matters: A New Song

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I believe music has a higher purpose than just
filling time.

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Toward the end of children’s church, I stepped in and was greeted
by the familiar tune “Father Abraham.” I asked one of the workers,
“Why are you guys singing this song?” She answered, “That’s what we
always do when we run out of lesson material.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with that reason for
singing in the church. I believe music has a higher purpose than
just filling time. It can do much more than bridge the gap between
puppet skits. Music is such a wonderful ministry tool that I must
speak out on its behalf.

Music has been used through the ages to teach, inspire, and
solicit a response to the message of God’s love. A rushed,
disjointed, and meaningless song time teaches children that music
isn’t important. A well-planned, meaningful song service, where
each song builds on the message of the last, shows children that
music is a living, vital part of their church experience.

Get hold of the following reasons for using music, and I think
your children will grab hold of music as a vital part of the
worship and educational experience in your church.

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•Inspiration-Music is inspiring. It’ll make children feel
like being with God. Music can lift your spirits. Dean-o Lies, a
gospel singing artist, says, “Music affects decisions, thoughts,
and actions. A good song can lift you up when you’re down.”

I’ve had down days turn around by simply listening to a song on
the radio. It doesn’t always have to be a Christian song. Add Jesus
to the message and the music becomes powerful.

Music can usher us into the presence of God. The sound of harmony
can walk us right into the throne room of the Almighty. Kids need
music that’ll do this. When choosing musical selections and even
special numbers, find music that inspires you. Usually, the
children will be touched as well.

•Declaration-We use music in our praise and worship. We
choose songs that encourage children to tell God what they think of
him. We declare the wonders of God. Children need to declare God’s
power and grace without shame or embarrassment. Dean-o says,
“Re-emphasis and repetition engrave the message in children’s
hearts.”

•Cooperation-I’ve heard children’s ministers say they
were singing a song with kids to “work the bugs out of them.” I
think you’d have to sing for about 30 years to accomplish that.
Children have a reserve of energy that no song service will
sap.

Instead of fidget-busting, I use action choruses to bind kids
together. Music teaches unity in the body of Christ. Get kids
singing and doing simple choreography to a song and you have
teamwork.

•Presentation-Some of our most successful children’s
church services have been tailored around a song. Music is a great
way to present the gospel to boys and girls. When Scripture and
stories are presented in song, children enjoy the learning process.
They also seem to be able to retain and restate the information for
a longer period of time.

•Dedication-I don’t think I’ve ever heard Billy Graham
end a crusade without the chords of “Just As I Am” playing in the
background. Music seems to draw a response from even the toughest
street kids. I’d never think of having a response time without soft
music. Find songs that re-emphasize your message. We taught Sunday
on seeking God. Our response time, of course, featured “Seek Ye
First.”

Will you ever use a song as a bridge or filler between service
segments? It’s possible. When you do, make certain the song has
something to do with the day’s theme. We have no time to waste in
our time with God’s kids.

Dick Gruber is a children’s minister in Bloomington,
Minnesota.

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