Posts Tagged ‘kids choir

21
Nov
11

Walk in My Shoes

I had a 5th grade girl in the recording studio last week, and like me, she is a tiny little thing. We had lowered the microphone to its shortest possible level and she was still straining her neck to have a straight shot at the mic. Not a good position to lay some vocals. I quickly looked around the room for anything she could stand on. A chair would be too high. I didn’t want her to sit on a stool. And then the answer hit: “Peyton… would you be willing to stand in my shoes?”

My wedge heels were the perfect height to raise her up. I took a picture of her singing in my shoes. It was pretty neat. But the more I thought about it, I realized that there was a deeper meaning. As she sang, I began to pray “Lord, let her voice be strong like mine as she grows. Let her heart be turned toward ministry. Let her see my example and walk in Your ways.”

In children’s ministry, God gives us tiny little hearts to mold. Tiny little beginnings to turn into big futures. Tiny little talents to develop into huge gifts for the kingdom. I am always looking ahead, trying to discern where God may be leading each child I have the opportunity to work with individually.

There is a young man whom I “discovered” from the thousands of kids in Vacation Bible School one year. He was not involved in our Kids Choir program. But in the midst of the congregation that week, his enthusiasm and passion kept drawing my eyes. I convinced him to try Kids Choir that fall. Now he has recorded with us on two Kids Choir CDs and is continuing his worship leading with our new middle school choir,  Ignite. Andrew says that his goal is to “take over Ray Jones’ job” one day. Makes me laugh, but I don’t doubt for one second that God will indeed use him in ministry in a big way. Just last week, I called his mom to see if I could try his little brother Matthew in the studio. I needed a young voice and had never recorded a five year old before. She said “Well I’m glad you didn’t talk to Andrew first. He has already been working with Zoe on that song.” She’s three. Andrew has already taken upon himself the task of leading and teaching others. He walks in our shoes.

Our new middle school choir led worship a few weeks ago and I was moved to almost wracking sobs, overwhelmed by the Spirit of the Lord in the room. As the dancers made the lyrics of a great worship song spring to life, I marveled that every single one of the girls grew up in Kids Choir, every single one was prepared to a professional level because they had been led by a masterful dance teacher whose heart of worship is evidenced through the choreography she creates. They dance in Phaedra’s shoes.

Our youth choir Puresound will lead worship this weekend. They are led by a young woman who grew up at CBC, that sang in Kids Choirs and the Youth Choir that I led, that I taught voice and piano to for six years. She walks in my shoes.

Thank you Lord for this awesome privilege! Thank you for the Peytons and the Andrews and the Kristens that you give us to mold. Help all of us see that our lives are the textbook they are reading, and help us to follow consistently and passionately after you.
“Step by step You lead me, and I will follow You all of my days”
Rich Mullins

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28
Sep
11

Another day, another rehearsal

It’s Wednesday and we are gearing up for another rehearsal. Working with kids mean that you work with a lot of stuff. CDs, t-shirts, lesson plans, CD players, keyboards, song sheets – you name it, we are probably carting it around. Because we have so many kids, we are bringing a lot of stuff to a lot of different places. I like to think of it as the not-so-glamorous part of Kids Choir. It’s easy to get lost in the details of setting up classrooms and hauling carts across the building.

Here’s a little secret: it’s the mundane, repetitive, set-up type things that make it easy for a volunteer to walk into your room and teach a class after working eight hours that day. It’s those signs that you set up outside of the classroom door every. single. week. that put parents at ease when they drop off their child to learn about praise and worship. It’s those crayons inside the bucket you took the time to replenish that make a fun, welcoming activity that starts off the hour just right for the kids around you.

Kids Choir is about praise and worship and teaching children to bury the Word of God in their hearts. Don’t let the smallness of your task diminish the eternal impact you are making on the next generation.

Cart on!

03
Mar
11

Bring My Praise

In our adult choir rehearsals at CBC we begin with a time of worship. It moves our minds from the busy pace of the day to the things of God, it prepares our hearts to hear from Him, and sets the stage for Him to work throughout the rehearsal.

I do the same thing with Kids Choirs. Beginning with a fast song with fun choreography gets the wiggles out and captures their attention. We read a Bible verse out loud and I use stories they can identify with. We may talk about superheroes or puppies, soccer or Spongebob, video games or Taylor Swift. Then I translate that idea to a concept on God’s character or an aspect of worship. We end with a worship song and pray out loud together. I keep the whole thing very interactive and as tangible as possible.

A few weeks ago, the 5th grade kids arrived particularly rowdy from their hip hop class. After the first worship song, the presence of God had settled them down and I said “Listen! Look around you! Do you remember how chaotic it was in here 5 minutes ago? Now we are peaceful and ready to learn. The presence of the Lord brings order and sharpens our minds and attention.”

After the worship set each week, my friend Jennifer leads the music teaching portion for the 5th grade choir. She said recently “Tonight was different.” I said “How? Were they more attentive? Did they sing better?” When she said yes to both, I said, “It’s the worship. They are really beginning to understand what worship is, and His presence is changing them.” That is worth more to me than any other accomplishment. On the planet.

Last night, our devotion was on the song “Bring My Praise” which will be released in April. I wrote the song after hearing songwriter/worship leader Michael Neale speak about the importance of every choir member. Here is an excerpt from the devotion:

Did you know that God put a heart of praise in every single one of you? God created you to praise Him and no one can do it for you. Look at the person beside you. Do they look like you? Do they act like you? If God wanted us all to praise Him the same way He would have made us all the same. But He didn’t! Each of us is special to God. Let’s read this verse from Psalm 139:16: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” No one can praise Him like you can. No one can serve Him like you can. No one can love Him like you can. You may think “If I don’t praise Jesus, who cares?” I care and God cares, and if you don’t praise God, then part of His praise is missing. Let’s not leave Jesus wanting our praise. Let’s praise Him together right now.

You knew me before I was born / You made me special in Your eyes
You taught me how to sing Your praise / You listen when I call Your name

No one else can bring my praise but me / No one else can give my offering
You have put a love song deep inside of me / No one else can bring my praise but me

God will miss your praise if you don’t bring it to Him. You are special. He loves you and wants to hear. From you.

Bring My Praise (c) 2011 – Amanda B. Singer

21
Feb
11

CBC’s Kids Choir Revolution

Did you know that you can get a rocking kids music, split-tracks, and lead sheets from CBC Music’s online store?

Developing, maintaining, and promoting awareness of the music available from our Kids Choir has filled every spare second of my work time for the last several months. I have immersed myself in Facebook ads, search optimization techniques, flash media players, online shopping baskets…if it involves an online store or social media, I’ve probably done some sort of research on it.

You see, over the years here at CBC, we have completely changed the way we thought about how to run a kids choir program. Part of it was thinking intentionally – from almost the beginning, we have had our kids choir divided into two (now three) separate choirs. Clearly, what works for a kindergarten class will not translate to a sixth grader. Not to mention that at some point, you run out of a place large enough to hold your whole choir at once. Each group has programming targeted specifically to their needs, but tied together with one vision – to teach kids about worship. Not to teach kids about music, but about worship.

Part of it was necessity – we simply had too many children enrolled for the typical “program-in-a-box” curriculum to work for us. When you have 600+ kids enrolled, it isn’t economically feasible to do crafts that cost $1/child each week. It is logistically impossible to play the suggested games or do the class activities geared to work in a program with 25-30 kids.

But I would say the biggest factor in creating our current system is vision. From our Senior Pastor, who allows our kids the privilege of being worship leaders in “big church” and not performers…on down to every staff member, past and present, who share a passion in raising up a generation of worshippers. A big part of that is being able to meet kids where they are – creating music that is reminiscent of what they are hearing on the secular radio by listening to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga ourselves; choosing songs for our middle group that are easy enough to let them have the freedom to have fun in worship, but aren’t “baby” songs; allowing our tiniest group to choose friends to be in their classrooms so they feel comfortable in what might be their first extra-curricular activity.

As you might guess, finding music to fill all of those needs is challenging. For our younger groups, we still use existing music for the most part. Typically, we pick a yearly theme, choose songs from different projects, and write our own curriculum to build a semester. That works really well until about 2nd grade. For our older elementary choir, it’s not just the curriculum that is custom-designed…about 50-75% of the songs that they learn are CBC originals. 100% of the songs have been rearranged and re-tracked to sound fresh and relevant to music they hear every day. Sometimes we add raps written by one of our staff members. We’ve done a mash-up of two different songs. We let the soloists ad lib (to a certain extent). We are constantly trying to find ways to help engage kids in worship by creating music they want to sing. We don’t want to teach a child a song for a few months. We want them to hide those words in their heart for a lifetime.

Out of this mindset, a lot of music was born. We know there are other churches out there that have similar needs, so we are trying our hardest to get resources online and get the word out. I hope you enjoy the fruits of our prayer, passion, and time by visiting us at http://www.cbcmusicstore.com and getting some great kids music. And pass the word along.

24
Jan
11

Leave a Legacy

This past weekend I attended a “homecoming” in Gadsden, Alabama at my home church, 12th Street Baptist. I started attending there in high school on my own with my brother and some friends and the music ministry there under the direction of Lynn Madden, then David Prevost, changed the direction of my life. The musical excellence from Lynn encapsulated my music education in high school and the heart of worship David demonstrated ignited a fire in me to discover what true worship is. The strong Bible knowledge and theology and foundational truths I received from my pastor Troy Morrison and countless Sunday school teachers made me what I am today.

We kicked off Kids Choir last week. We began by rehearsing a small group that sang at the Spurs game and I had to shoo some of the older kids out of my classroom to go back to their group. “But we want to stay in here with you…”. Flattering – yes, but healthy – no. My job is to pour Jesus into them, not become the Pied Piper of Kids Choir. Also, Puresound introduced a song I wrote that they will record this spring. Several teenagers told me later “we really like it and we thought that sounded like an Amanda Singer song.” I am leaving a legacy…because someone left one for me.

As you minister to kids and teens in any capacity, the truths you pour into them are forever. The love you show them is forever. The empowerment you bestow on them is forever. In Kids Choir, I let them “teach” each other. I let them lead choreography, or help sing parts, or give a testimony, or pray a prayer of salvation for others to repeat. I strive to grow leaders that will impact their world for Jesus. By the time they leave the 6th grade, I want them to leave a legacy for their younger choir members to follow.

I praise God that my legacy will last long after I’m gone. But a legacy that continues from generation to generation will continue forever, until we stand in front of the throne, worshipping together, worshipping the One whom it was all for.




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