“Is the desire to have dancers or singers?” Those are the words that I wrote down in my notebook recently as I was at a church consulting them on their kids worship. They had a group of kids on stage that honestly were doing a great job. Especially without an adult type leader in the mix. They were smiling and they were giving it their all but the truth is they were so focused on doing the “moves” to the song that they were missing the truth about what worshipping is all about. Too often throughout the song, they weren’t singing. It’s the words to the song (especially when they are filled with God’s Word, truth, promises, victory, and goodness) that gets down on the inside of your heart. The songs you sing help the voice of creation declare the greatness of their Creator, shaping a perspective of who God is and what He’s capable of doing for months and years to come.
We don’t do worship in our services and programs to check a box off the to-do list. We don’t do worship to fill up time or even get the wiggles out. We don’t lead kids in songs just because many generations before us have grown up on “Father Abraham.” We choose to make worship be a part of our services because it’s a connecting point with the Father. It’s a way to lean in and take another step in our relationship with the Lord. Through the lyrics we sing, we can cast our cares and we can declare from where our help comes. Worship is something we were created to do. As we sing we confess “to God be the glory forever and ever, amen.”
There are seasons in life that I’ve been through where the only option I knew I had was to turn to the Lord. I made my hiding place be His presence. I sang about His faithfulness and His power even when I needed a miracle turn of events in my reality. Worship was the place where I could cry out to the Lord and at the same time remind myself of what I believed was true. Worship isn’t something we do just when the feeling is there. It’s a choice we make. The cool part is that often that confession of truth that you choose to sing and lift up rings truer and truer in our hearts as we take that step of faith and honor the One that gave us the breath in our lungs. It is that confession that enables us to pour out our praise.
Think about it like an elevator. What you think about gets into your heart by passing through your mouth. What you speak with your mouth is what gets into your heart. Just like what is in your heart is what comes out of your mouth, I want more than anything for the attitudes and reflections of my heart to be the praises of the One that holds the victory. I’ve seen His faithfulness in the past and I know He won’t change so I’ll keep singing about His faithfulness for as long as I live.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14, NIV
So back to the recent reminder I had of what is really important. There was more dancing than singing that day. If someone watched your Kidmin take part in worship how would they define what they see? Are you raising up dancers or singers? Are you truly helping kids become the worshippers God created them to be?
Too often of late, due to some traditions that I’m sure started with the best of intentions, we have defined kids worship to be all about the dance moves or motions to the song. I have spoken with leaders who truly think if a song doesn’t have any motions they can’t do it. That is bologna! Motions can be great. They can be a tool. They can enhance parts of the songs you do. But that’s just it, they are a piece of the equation. If it is your main focus and how you define kids worship you sadly are selling your kids short.
The Bible talks about the power of kids’ worship.
God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.
Psalm 8:1-2, The Message
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?”
Matthew 21:16, The Message
Motions don’t have to be in every song or from the start to the finish. Have you ever considered that some of the pushback you may have within your group is because some of your kids, especially older ones and boys don’t want to participate in your dance number?
We have the book of Psalms in the Bible as a guide to teach us about worship. Dancing is a part of it. Just like clapping and lifting your hands are a part of it. Shouting to God in triumph, playing instruments and singing new songs is all part of worship. How are you teaching kids to do those things? These are the traditions of worship that we don’t want to lose. They are necessary and needed.
For some of you, it’s time to expand your vision for kids worship. What do you want your kids to learn about it? What about God’s presence do you want them to experience? When they graduate to the next age group or class what do you want them to know about how and why we worship? Introduce some new songs. Help craft worship experiences for kids that engage them and let them experience God’s presence. Because once they taste that He is good they will long for more of His presence.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we helped our kids learn to run TO God with their troubles rather than FROM God? Worship is a safe place. It’s a hiding place that young and old have to say “God, You’re amazing and I need your help. I’m trusting You. I’m relying on Your strength today.” Every week you have an opportunity through the songs that you sing in class to point kids to Jesus and help them express their adoration for the Lord. This is a tradition worthy of being passed on. Be strategic. Let’s raise up a generation that knows how to worship the One all praise is due.