Children’s choirs are incredibly important. Of course, you would expect me to say that but I believe it with all my heart!! We are losing children when they grow up and leave home because they are disenfranchised with religion and haven’t fallen in love with worshiping our Creator, Provider and Savior! We are facing a shortage of worship leaders because we are not providing opportunities for our children and students to explore gifts that can lead to a calling from God! In many cases, if we are offering opportunities, it is only for a select few. We have to do all we can to lead our children to discover the need and desire to offer adoring worship!
Purpose is Paramount
First off, if you have a format for Children’s Choirs that is working for you, keep it up and congratulations! To those who do not currently have choirs for children or who used to have choirs for children, I would ask you why in the world would you want to start a children’s choir? Most churches are programmed to the max and there had better be a good reason to start something else. Not only that, but most of our children and young families are programmed to the max as well. To add something to the family schedule will have to scream of great value. So what about teaching children the value of worship…real worship…genuine worship …worship that connects their hearts with their Creator, Savior and Maker? Isn’t that of great value? If a parent is genuinely interested in the spiritual journey and development of their child in this day, worship is significant. Most young parents in the church have become enthusiastic worshipers themselves and desire that for their children. Notice, I am not talking about styles of music…I am talking about worship! Reality is this: if you are trying to get children and parents to attend and learn music theory, and “perform”…you have probably lost them. How about creating moments that will allow kids the opportunity to disconnect from the world and connect with God through music and arts? Parents, staff and churches can focus on an approach that is purposeful in making an eternal difference in the lives of our children.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the name of Children’s Choirs, but a name change could create the opportunity for a new concept and a fresh approach. Some ideas that have had success: Kids Praise (or KidzPraize if you dare chance being challenged by grammarians); WOW (Worship on Wednesdays – if your choirs will meet on Wednesday); WIRED – Wired for Sound, Wired to Move and Wired to Worship. Get creative but choose something that is not too trendy that will lose its relativity in a few short years.
You may want to consider starting with a small project. Try a summer music week for kids. Make it fun and exciting. Learn a musical in a week…they can do it! Along with the musical, offer classes in various arts and instruments, share Jesus with the children, and have a lot of people on hand who will offer unconditional love to the children. A positive experience leaves them wanting more!
Christmas is the time of year when people are more open to music than at any other time. Offer an 8 week project to learn a Christmas musical and share it with the church family. Make it missional by getting outside the walls of the church and share it at a local nursing home or senior adult facility. Senior adults love children!
Worship Arts Concept
Consider branching out in your approach of having only choir. Sure, have a time of singing…you can never go wrong teaching children to express the love of God in their hearts with their lips and voices, but go all out for worship arts! Always keep them singing, but…let the kid that loves to draw know his gift is significant. Let the kid that has a desire to play a guitar know his gifts are worthy. Teach rhythm and expression through STOMP or drum circles. Sing silently by expressing worship with sign language. Let drama take its course by allowing opportunities to express God’s message through acting. And that is just the beginning. God made us creative beings…dream big for your kids and your church!
Choose Relevant Material
There are still a few sources that are striving to produce relevant curriculum for those who are trying to engage children in the arts. Some of this fall’s material has created a buzz. Children’s Music Series produced by Lifeway includes contemporary worship songs this year i.e. “Your Great Name”, “You Alone Can Rescue”, and “Here for You”. Leaders who utilize this material have reported to me that they are much more pleased with this latest release. Be aware that CMC has gone to a one-time release each year so you may need to supplement with other materials. Growing In Grace is a new series also distributed by Lifeway that has created interest in the children’s choir world! Growing in Grace will produce curriculum for both semesters. When children’s musicals first started being produced, they were just that…musicals. Now they are producing supplementary materials that provide opportunities for teaching moments all along the way. The materials help the children grasp music concepts, but also provide opportunities to explore worship and spiritual truths! Maybe a combination of curriculum and a musical would be the right mix.
Worship is the Heartbeat!
Remember, worship is the heartbeat. Let’s raise a generation that loves to worship God and not a style of music. Let’s raise a generation that loves others enough to sing current day songs and songs from years past. In this self-centered world, let our worship allow us to take our eyes off of ourselves and catch a glimpse of our incredible God who “loves the little children of the world!”
(For more help with resources or materials, contact Larry Grayson on the Evangelism and Church Health Team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention at 501.376.4791 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.