I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Baby, let’s go
‘Cause we gon’ rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite
Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite
Here’s a quick relevancy test: are those lyrics familiar to you? Chances are, they’re familiar to the kids in the community you live in. More on that in just a moment.
Today’s post wraps up a series on Kids’ Worship: Where we’ve been, what our transition looked like, where we are today… and today’s post will cover some dreams I have for the future of kids’ worship in our ministry.
Student Led Worship
Since our transition (from something to nothing and back to something), I’ve been the primary worship leader for our kids on Sunday mornings. On the occasion that I’m out of town or sick, our church’s worship director has taken time out of his busy Sunday to come over and lead worship for our kids.
One of my hopes for the coming year is that I shift away from being the worship leader in our Elementary environment and that we get to a place where the youth in our church are leading our kids in worship. We’re in the midst of raising up multiple teams who can do this well – I hope to see this transition happen before the end of this school year. Two thoughts behind this move:
1) Kids love seeing high school students in leadership roles. If guys on our high school football team can rock out for Jesus on a Sunday morning, it gives our kids the freedom to join in – their coolness factor isn’t on the line (because, let’s be honest, singing along to a lady or old guy with a CD player can be a sure way to embarrass a kids in front of their visiting friend).
2) When students take leadership roles in your church’s ministries, they grow in their faith and in their commitment to the Church. I truly believe that high school students learn more about their faith by serving than they do by spending a Sunday morning in Bible studies. Call me crazy.
Kid Owned Experiences
For our church, Sunday is the road IN to our community and the Faith. Sunday mornings at Glenkirk are meant to provide space for people, young and old, to ASK “who is Jesus?” in their lives. With that in mind, we always want to think about our first time visitors when programming our kids’ worship time on a Sunday… because we know we’ll have them. We also recognize that our kids need a place where they feel welcomed if they’re going to welcome others.
That’s what led to our great idea that then lead to the card you see at the top of our post. We started thinking – “how cool would it be if kids had significant input on the Sunday morning experience?” If kids knew that they had influence over the way a Sunday morning looked, maybe they’d be more likely to attend regularly, invite friends, and get involved during the time they spend with us.
Good ideas often lead to new experiments, which (more often than not) lead to failures. The cool thing is – failures can allow us to learn how to succeed in the future… if we try to learn from them.
Our idea was this: What if, as a first step into giving kids ownership over a Sunday morning, we allowed kids the ability to choose what songs we sing during our worship time? So, we developed a card that kids could fill out for song requests. In fact, we might even use their song suggestions in our worship service at 11:11am (kids begin that service with their parents in church for community worship before being dismissed to programming). As soon as I announced the new change, one 1st grade girl ran to the stage to pick one up… I had hardly finished my sentence and she had taken the card to the back of the room to begin writing furiously with a purple crayon.
I was excited when she brought it back to me at the end of the morning… and I knew that I had to share it with you. It was too classic to let it slide (at the same time, I realized that I had to provide SOME context to the post – hence the series on Kids’ Worship).
I clearly didn’t set the parameters well – our great idea wasn’t defined well enough for the kids to understand what we were going for. Instead, multiple cards were turned in with song requests for our worship team to perform cover songs. The cards are helping me shape some of the music we play through our sound system during pre-service activities (creating a welcoming environment includes being intentional about the music playing in the room when children arrive)… but, that’s about it.
So, we’ll go back to the drawing board on that one and try to figure out other ways to get our kids actively involved in owning their Sunday morning experience. If you have ideas or suggestions you’ve seen work in your context, feel free to post them below in the comments section.
That wraps up my initial thoughts on this series. Shaping our Sunday mornings is still in process and I love getting input from parents and other kidmin leaders across the country (though, you get bonus points if you live on the West Coast).