ome of you may be leading a children’s choir at your church this Advent season. If you are, be sure to encourage all of the children to look to Jesus, their Worship Leader, as they sing their hearts out. Remind them that it’s okay if they don’t remember all the words or sing every note in perfect time or pitch. Teach them to encourage each other to sing in full confidence that Jesus is making perfect their imperfect singing and worship.
Point out that they are not the show. Yes, their parents and grandparents and other loved ones will surely fawn over them as they sing. The kids will be heartily applauded. They’ll be photographed and shared with the world through social media. But Jesus is both the aim and the means of our worship, and the worship pouring forth from our children. Teach their little hearts to understand this.
If your older children are complaining about how bad the younger kids sound (because their singing sounds more like off-pitch yelling, and they keep messing up the words), well, tell them the truth:
Tell them that even the most beautiful sounding, perfectly timed and pitched songs offered by anyone are nothing more than filthy rags, apart from the perfecting intercession of Christ, who is our Faithful High Priest, our Perfect Worship Leader.
Tell them that God is seeking worshipers who pour out their whole hearts and declare what is true as they worship Him. He is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. He alone can and does make their worship perfect. Remind yourself this, too.
Finally, encourage them with God’s Word, which says in Psalm 8 that He has taught children and infants to declare His strength (to give Him praise), and as they do He silences His enemies and all who oppose Him. As our children sing, God is working to shut the mouth of the lying accuser who seeks only to rob, kill, and destroy all of us. Powerful is their praise of God, their declarations of His strength, offered through the power of the Holy Spirit and perfected by the intercession of Christ.
God wants these little ones to sing robustly in praise of His name, even if the rhythms and rhymes are random and the display is rambunctious. Encourage them to do just that as they look to Jesus who loved them first, loves them most and will faithfully love them to the end, as He perfects their offerings in His name.
Kristen Gilles is a deacon at Louisville’s Sojourn Community Church. Her new CD Parker’s Mercy Brigade is a story of faith, lament, comfort, healing and worship following the stillbirth of her son. Kristen blogs about worship with her husband, Sojourn’s Bobby Gilles, at mysonginthenight.com.