I truly believe in the power of music. In my opinion, there is nothing like it. Gratefully, I’m not alone—many of us recognize the power that music has to help us remember things, people, and places from years ago, all because a song took us back in an instant.
My favorite mind-blowing moment for many people is when they realize they can recount the lyrics to a song from their teen years without batting an eye. What you listen to matters. Maybe you’ve seen a study on the effects of music and memory when it comes to Alzheimer’s or aging.
The Gift of Music
We were given a gift from God when He created music for us to experience and enjoy. There is nothing like melody, harmony, rhythm, and rhyme all blended together. In church ministry, we can utilize this power-filled gift of music to help children learn and memorize Scriptures and even the godly character we are discipling them in.
I am passionate about helping kids learn to worship God and develop the reflex muscle that is seen exemplified in David’s life. He worshipped God. Period. It was a muscle he built up in his life that meant on the best days, he worshipped. When he needed shelter and a hiding place, he worshiped. And when he was in a valley, he worshiped.
I desire to see this generation of children we are leading fall in love with experiencing God’s presence and drawing close to Him in the process. Through weekly worship sets, I am helping them learn the path of running to the Father. Why? So they can learn how to get there on their own for the days on the journey that I’m no longer the one standing beside them.
I want to build in them the habit of giving God praise. We shouldn’t be satisfied just entertaining children for an hour when we could be developing a generation of Christ followers who will choose to live for Him all the days of their life.
The Impact of Music
In thinking about how to help children celebrate God’s wonder with a song, I can’t help but recall an impactful experience that certainly shifted how I look at what I do as a songwriter. About a dozen years ago, a man named Dana Key passed away. Dana was one half of a very well-known 80’s Christian Rock band named DeGarmo & Key.
After Dana died, multiple friends of mine posted tributes to him and about the impact his music had made in their lives. Through dozens of different posts, I kept hearing the same testimony: “His music shaped my theology.”
Now to be honest, I don’t think most artists create music thinking of that kind of responsibility that their music carries. That statement is weighty. Music shaping theology. Really? Really.
I realized that day that what I’m doing in writing songs with lyrics and melody had a holy responsibility to make the gospel easy to understand. It was a weight of accountability that I want to be worthy of carrying. It was a call to be intentional in what I say and how I say it in the songs I create.
The Importance of the Music You Choose
Now, let’s flip the table around. As a children’s pastor, ministry director, volunteer, worship leader, or whatever title you have: when you choose songs to use in your ministry, are you thinking about how those songs are shaping young hearts and minds?
Have you ever stopped to consider that the songs you choose to lead are going to be locked away in kids’ memories for literally decades into the future? Are the songs you’re currently using worthy of that privilege? Will their theology be formed to build their lives on the rock?
Are they songs that are filled with the truth of God’s Word? Or are they songs that are only fun and games? Are they songs that serve a purpose in forming a resilient faith? Are they songs that help you reinforce the messages you’re teaching in the lesson?
How do the songs you’re choosing help kids make wise choices when they are faced with a big life decision and a song from their childhood randomly comes to their remembrance and they sing every word without missing a beat? Do your songs give them the vocabulary they need to put into words how good God is and how amazing the gift of His sweet love is?
Think about the songs you choose to lead as putting God’s praise on their lips. Make sure you are choosing songs that declare things you want them to say, sing, shout, and ultimately remember. We serve a God of wonders. He delights in our praises; but as creation, we should also take delight in honoring our wonder-filled Creator.
Music is art. Beautiful music will only heighten your senses to better understand the beauty and greatness of God. How it sounds is important. I want to present music that sounds enjoyable because I want to invite others to give praise to an enjoyable and wonderful God.
As a worship leader, I long to help people be filled with awe and wonder for the God we serve. I have to choose my songs wisely for that to happen. It means I’m intentional in my song choices. I don’t just fill in slots on a planning sheet, but I consider what is being taught and what kind of experience I want to lead kids into. Then, I choose songs to help me accomplish those things.
The same songs you sing on Sunday can influence the families you serve the other six days of the week. You literally can multiply their impact.
Ways to Encourage the Families You Serve
Create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music of the songs you use in your ministry. You could create this annually, quarterly, or even monthly. Share links in emails or social media. Put a QR code with a link to the playlist on take-home pages you send home. Equip parents to push play on the right things for those car rides to school or in the sports carpool.
You can disciple parents to disciple their kids in their musical choices simply by providing a free resource (that only costs you your time) to these families. It will reinforce the songs you’re singing, introduce new songs to your ministry, write songs on their hearts forever, and help them choose obedience and to hear God’s voice. What a gift!
Creating a playlist is a win-win for you and for the families you serve. By encouraging them to share it with other families, you are helping them testify of God’s wonder to their friends too.
Don’t sell the music that fills your hallways or pre-service playlist short. Don’t be satisfied with just singing a few songs for worship time in large group. Every song has the ability to shape the theology of this generation of children. Give them incredible messages to sing, remember, and declare the wonder working power of our super wonderful God!