Tap into the transforming power
of music in your ministry!
Movies tell a story -- a story most of us can recall for years
afterward. But what would movies be like without music? A stirring
soundtrack infuses emotion into a movie, enhances characters,
reveals deeper meaning, and gives viewers the sense that they're
part of the story.
As a children's minister, your job is to help kids understand
their part in God's story -- a story that's far more profound and
impacting than the best movie of all time. Each week you teach kids
about our great God, who's loved them since before time began. And
each week you have great opportunities to help kids learn how our
lives, in word and action, can sing praises to God. Music is one of
the most powerful opportunities you have to hook kids, inspire and
encourage them, and give them a new way to worship God as they
learn about their special part in his story. After all, what's a
great story without great music?
I'd like to take you on a musical journey that begins with your
environment and ends with each child's personal, heart-in-hand
connection with God.
1. Set the Mood in Your Environment
Music in spas, restaurants, or shopping malls sets a desired mood.
You can do the same thing in your environment. We knew when
Disney's amazingly popular High School Musical 2 was
premiering, so we purchased the soundtrack prior to the show. We
knew that kids from our ministry were excited about the show,
gathering at sleepover parties with friends and family to watch the
big event. As kids arrived on the Sunday after the big premiere, we
greeted them by playing their favorite songs from the musical over
speakers ministry-wide. Our kids ran into the worship
area. Their energy was through the roof as we began that morning
session. So by using something we knew our kids would love, we
seized an opportunity to help them relate to each other and to set
a tone of excitement.
Use music wherever you can -- in your hallways and during
transitional moments -- to set the mood for your message and to
support your theme. For instance, create a song play-list to use as
kids arrive. Create a customized playlist by visiting online
Christian music stores and downloading songs (for great resources,
see page 80). If you have access to screens, play motion or worship
DVDs to immediately engage kids physically and mentally.
2. Get Kids In on the Action
Great music makes people want to get up and move. When your kids
can't help but move to their favorite faith-related tunes, you'll
know you're using music they love. Use this can't-help-but-wiggle
standard to help you choose music that has an irresistible beat and
lyrical hooks kids can't get out of their heads.
Back in the 90s, boy bands hit the scene and became a huge force
in pop music. It's easy to dismiss that outdated phenomenon, but
it's not so easy to dismiss the powerful connection boys have to
music. You may instinctively assume that girls will be more drawn
to music and dancing. I did -- until something proved me
A big part of my music ministry strategy was to incorporate dance
moves for kids into our worship music. Not long after kids got a
taste of the music and movement, my phone rang constantly with
calls from parents whose kids wanted to join our KidSinger team.
Amazingly, most of the calls were from mothers of boys. We've ended
up with a growing music worship team where boys always outnumber
girls -- and today our team has grown to include a rotation of more
than 400 kids.
I also learned that kids have an appetite for learning about
music. I used to teach classical music classes to first- through
fifth-graders at a prestigious preparatory school in Atlanta. We'd
move kids' desks aside each day to clear some serious floor space,
and then I'd teach them dance steps from a particular musical
period, such as baroque. Students each got a CD collection
supporting the curriculum, so they had samples from each musical
period. The kids couldn't wait to open their CDs. They listened to
the music -- stuff we adults would never expect kids to enjoy -- in
the car and at home nonstop. They excitedly shared all they'd
learned about the music, the composers, and the dances with their
parents. Parents kept telling me they were thrilled with their
children's enthusiasm, but if they had to listen to one more
Today, we have what I call "The High School Musical
Revolution" on our side, too. Kids are more open and excited about
music than ever -- and you have a perfect opportunity to inject new
life and excitement into your ministry through music. Move your
kids with music. Introduce them to faith-related tunes they'll love
to fill their cars and homes with.