stop before you start!

For the past year, we’ve been test-driving a new worship program with our 3rd-5th graders on the weekends. We made the jump from having a live band to leading with high-energy tracks. It took a while to work out the kinks, but we’ve discovered a couple of key factors that seem to have contributed to our success. You’ll be relieved to hear they both involve stopping something and not starting something.

1) Stop looking for an incredible singer and look for a firecracker instead.

I know this sounds crazy, but having someone with an incredible voice isn’t nearly as important as having someone up front who is energetic and loves working with kids. You can have the best singer in the world leading worship for your elementary kids, but if they can’t be larger than life on stage they will lose their attention right off the bat.

Keeping younger kids engaged in some manner is crucial if we’re going to teach them how to worship. Retrain your brain to stop going to the list of volunteer musicians for resources and instead try and tap into parents and volunteers already in place in your elementary programs.

2) Stop looking for a dance team and just do hand motions.

When we first started this new program I was trying to find people who could handle choreography and basic dance moves to liven things up, and I was headed down the wrong street. The rubber met the road when I was left to come up with our “dance moves” on my own. I have no dancing capability whatsoever, so I reduced things to very simple hand motions and basic movements, which seemed to go over very well.

Kids don’t need to be entertained by crazy dances on stage. Having simple hand motions that every kid in the room can do is much more important for overall involvement and engagement. If the average kid can’t keep up with you, then simplify your movements.

I am learning the value of debriefing my programs and seeing what I can stop doing to be more effective as opposed to what I can start doing. I wish I could regain the hours I’ve wasted trying to stir up new ways of doing things instead of taking time to evaluate processes and programs. Sometimes just a shift in energy and focus is more valuable than trying to start up something new.


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