Choosing songs for praise and worship can mean the difference between having kids who love worship time, and kids who are bored out of their mind staring at the wall. Here are a few basic guidelines to help you in making your decision on what songs to do.
- Choose songs that aren’t wordy - A lesson we have learned over the years is not choosing songs that have too many words in them. The song may be excellent, but if there are too many words, the kids won’t get it. They will spend more trying to figure out what the lyrics mean than they will worshipping. Think, simple is better. There are many well-known music companies that put out great children’s worship, but the songs can sometimes be too wordy. When making your music selection, make sure you listen to the song with the ears and mind of a child asking yourself, “Would a third grader understand this?” Popular songs that are big on the radio may not always be the best song to choose if the lyrics are difficult to understand. The key to worship is expressing yourself to God and no one can express their love by using words they heard on the radio once but don’t actually know what they mean. If you do choose a song that is wordy, make sure you take plenty of time explaining what the words mean to the kids, otherwise you’ve lost them.
- Choose songs that reflect your church - If your church is big on southern gospel, then Hillsong might not work the best for the children in your church. If your church is big on traditional hymns, then Jesus Culture might not be the best fit for for your kids. Children will pick up on the music that the adults listen to, whether that’s at home or in the car. Many times, kids will want to emulate what they have heard from their parents during their own praise and worship time so it’s important to stay consistent with what style your church is.
- Incorporate new songs slowly - When adding a song to your order of service that you have not done before, it’s important to introduce the song to the kids as a new song. Don’t expect the kids the pick up on it right away. Encourage them to look at the words on the screen to follow along with the lyrics. It will take doing the song a few times for it to stick, but repetition is important. The more a child hears the song, the deeper in their heart the lyrics go. It may take a few times for the kids to get a particular song, but when they do it could be your kids ministry’s new anthem!
- Get the kids opinion - Many times when we are on the hunt for some new material for worship, we will consult with our 5th graders. Grab a group, both guys and girls, full of some of your most passionate worshippers, and ask them about certain songs. They will be brutally honest with you, and as a leader, that is what you need. Remember, you aren’t trying to reach the thirty-plus crowd. You are reaching kids, and who better to help you in making the right choice than a kid?
If you can do a good job at creating a worship culture among your young ones, then the sky's the limit as they grow up in the local church and use those passions and gifts to lead the congregation as a whole. Remember, the key is to build a movement, not a monument.