Posts Tagged ‘kids

08
Aug
11

The World’s Greatest Job

CBC’s Christmas musical “We Celebrate the King” is now published by Lillenas Music and we recently took a bus up to Kempke Music Service’s summer conference to premiere it. For me it was a “pinch me” kind of moment. As a worship pastor, I have attended many reading sessions, plowing through reams of music searching for new songs. As a composer, I have been known to dream “someday it would really be awesome if I had some music published and we were reading through it.” Being able to present the music live was even better. I had my picture taken next to the stack of books. I was like a tacky tourist and I didn’t care.

We included several kids in the premiere and the energy and charisma they brought was palpable. The kids know how to use their chest voices, they all have great stage presence,  they know what worship is, and they let it rip. It’s unusual to hear and see kids sing like they do and the worship pastors in the room responded enthusiastically to them. You couldn’t help but be taken in by their authentic love for Jesus.

Being with the kids for two days was energizing as well. We played games, we screamed in a thunderstorm when the lights flickered, they entertained the wait staff at Denney’s and sang in pristine three-part a cappella harmony for the. They beheaded a Happy Meal Barbie. Hanging with them will make me forever young. As they sang through four albums of kids choir music on the way home at the top of their lungs I realized anew that my calling was the greatest joy of my life. I am forever grateful to the Lord for the privilege of leading them into His presence, for allowing me to empower them to minister, that I get to teach them to use their gifts for God’s glory.

When I was their age, I was asked to learn a song for the premiere of a Christmas musical somewhere in Houston. I think the name of the ‘cantata’ was “The Glory of Christmas;” the name of the song was “Christmas Isn’t Christmas.” I distinctly remember singing the solo at the event and knowing it was a big deal kind of moment. Little did I know that I would grow up to be a worship pastor that would give a handful of kids the same big deal kind of moment.

Eight of the ten kids are moving on to our brand new middle school choir, Ignite, debuting this fall and I will miss them terribly. I laugh now to think I was afraid that after my own kids graduated out of the program that I might lose some of the passion I have for kids choir. But it’s only getting stronger.  There’s no doubt I will fall in love with the next crop of kids. I will throw parties for them and take them to do historical things and we will laugh together and sing at the top of our lungs, too.

So blessings to Logan and Lillie and Xan and Megan and Andrew and Miranda and Mallorie and Emma. And you will see the Barbie head again.

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29
Nov
10

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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