Use this preteen Sunday school lesson: Make a Joyful Noise to help preteens make a joyful noise to God.
1. Messenger — Lead kids in singing several songs, such as “Jesus Is the Rock” or “River of Life.” Afterward, ask: What is the message in each of these songs? Which is more important — the music or the words? Explain.
Say: The words in songs often tell a story. As we listen closely to songs, we can learn more about the songwriter and singer.
2. Message Test — Tape three sheets of newsprint to the wall. Write these phrases, one per sheet: “A popular singing group you like,” “A singing group you don’t like” and “Your favorite song.”
Ask: What makes you like or dislike a singing group? Explain. What kinds of messages does your favorite group sing? your least favorite group? What does your favorite song say about God? How does it make you feel about being a Christian? Read aloud Philippians 4:8. Have kids each evaluate their favorite group and song against each of the tests in this verse.
3. Music-Maker — On a table, lay a variety of potential music-making supplies, such as empty containers, paper clips, panty hose, balloons, pencils, rocks, cardboard, paper towel tubes, rubber bands and thumbtacks. Give kids 10 minutes to build an instrument using the supplies on the table and anything else they find in the room.
4. Symphony — Write “country,” “rock,” “rap” and “marching band” on different 3X5 cards — enough cards for each child to have one. Give each child a card, and have children form a group with others who have the same card.
Say: Name your group, choose a song to sing and prepare to perform your song using the instruments you made.
Allow 10 minutes for groups to work on their musical creations. Then have them present their songs. After each group presents its song, have the whole group determine how the message of the song could have a positive influence on listeners.
5. God’s Word — Read aloud Colossians 3:16-17. Have kids repeat verse 16 several times after you.
Say: God has given us music to enjoy and to communicate with. Let’s be careful to listen to messages in music so we can know if we are being influenced positively or negatively. Give children fortune cookies that have the messages replaced with Christian messages, such as “Praise the Lord” or “Sing to the Lord.” Sing “Rejoice in the Lord” as a closing prayer.
Authors: Margaret Hinchey is a children’s choir director in Colorado. Jane Wilke is an early childhood educator in Missouri.