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Music That Moves

Ami Shroyer

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 wrong.

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 classical piece…!

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.

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