A Simple Strategy to Manage Your Kidmin Music Library

childrens-ministry-musicIf you are anything like me, you have a lot of songs and videos of kidmin music! It’s hard to remember all the songs and it is even more difficult to remember what type of songs you have. In order to help you choose a good balance of songs for Sunday morning worship, put all your songs into categories. Categories are helpful because they give us a way of organizing music that help us create balanced sets for worship times.

Here are the song categories I use. The first three categories are for specific kinds of songs – Christmas, Bible verse, Hymns. The next five categories are more related to the style of song – pace or theme. You might want to use something similar or add to it for your own situation:

Christmas

This category is for all songs that relate to advent and Christmas. We tend to only sing Christmas songs at Christmas, so it’s helpful to put them together.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • He Made a Way in a Manger
  • Joy to the World

Bible Verse

These are Scripture songs; Bible verses put to music. These songs may fit any of the next 5 categories but I find it helpful to put them together.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Wherever You Go – Joshua 1:9
  • Eternal Life – John 3:16
  • Life and Breath – Acts 17:34-35

Hymn

These are hymns or any song found in a hymn book.

  • Standing on the Promises of God
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • This is My Father’s World

Fun

These songs are usually high-energy songs with lots of actions. Kids love to sing these songs because it’s an opportunity to maybe be a little silly and to get some wiggles out.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Boom-Chaka-Laka (Overflowing)
  • Every Move I Make
  • Superstart

Active

These songs are usually high-energy songs that are accompanied by clapping or actions. The difference between fun songs and active songs is the content. Fun songs can be silly whereas active songs are more serious in their content. They are about who God is or they are songs of praise.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Almighty Creator
  • Friend of God
  • My Redeemer Lives

Bridge

These songs are not as fast or high-energy as active songs and are used as a bridge to slower, more worshipful songs.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • All the Earth
  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • God is Great

Worship

These songs tend to focus on who God is. God is holy. God is great. These songs are generally mid-tempo or slow. Songs that are full of this content yet are fast paced are probably better in the active category.

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Here I am to Worship
  • Amazing Love
  • You’re Worthy of My Praise

Commitment

These are songs that speak of our commitment to obey Jesus and to follow Him. These songs talk about what we will do. They are our response to God and have messages like: “Thank you;” “I will serve you;” and “I will follow you.”

Some examples of songs that would be in this category include:

  • Make Me Wise – SovereignGraceKids
  • Holiness (Take My Life)
  • I Give You My Heart

Now that you have categorized your songs, it is easier to put together a set of songs for your Sunday morning worship time.

How do you evaluate the music you use for worship with kids? These 6 questions will help.

What’s your goal when leading kids in singing? Stir reverence and evoke worship.

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Top 10 Go Fish Songs

childrens-ministry-musicIt can be hard to find good music for kids – especially when you are looking for music to use on Sunday morning. A lot of songs are just silly or are too vague and symbolic for kids.

But there is good music out there – songs that kids can understand; songs that teach kids something about God; songs that lead kids to worship.

One of the places to find great music for kids is www.gofishguys.com . As it says on their website, the Go Fish Guys offer “great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers.” The Go Fish Guys are a talented band that love kids and write solid, Biblical, fun songs. You can preview their songs by clicking on the music tab on their homepage.

I picked 10 songs that are great for Sunday morning. I will list the songs and why I picked them.

Here are my top 10 picks from Go Fish:

10. Lord, I Life Your Name on High
This is from the Superstar album. Go Fish did not write this song. (I remember singing this song when I was a teenager!) But they have updated it in a fresh, fun way. I like how they have incorporated “Praise Him, Praise Him” into the song. This is a great song to sing with kids! It is a song of worship for who Jesus is and what He has done. It includes the gospel and it is full of joy! This is a good bridge song for use between active songs and slower worship songs.

9. Jesus Loves Me
This is a classic Sunday School song – but the truth it proclaims is the same for each generation. The Go Fish Guys have taken this well-known song and made it new and fresh. This song is found on their Superstar album. Although Jesus Loves Me has classically been a preschool song, I wouldn’t hesitate to sing this with kids up to grade 6. They have added a bridge and some other fun elements. This is a good bridge song for use between active songs and slower worship songs.

8. I’ll Do My Best
This is a good commitment song. It is from their first album Splash. It speaks of giving our best to God. There are four verses: I will love, serve, and praise God. It is easy for kids to learn. There is a lot of repetition. It’s sung as a prayer.

7. Glory
This is an active song from the Kids Music album. It is a song about giving all the glory to God. This song reminds us of God’s love, grace, glory! Talk with your kids about what it means to give glory to God.

6. My God
This is an active song that kids will love! It’s an updated version of “My God is so Big.” Again, the Go Fish Guys have taken a classically preschool song and made it a song that all kids will love singing. The chorus is the words to the original song and the verses talk about the things that God has done. The second verse is a clear gospel focus. This is a fun song of praise highlighting our big God who can do anything!

5. Joy to the World
There are a couple Christmas songs on this list and this is the first. Joy to the World is a favorite Christmas carol and this version will quickly become a favorite with your kids! It is upbeat and full of joy! Because it is a hymn, some of the lyrics will require explanation. A new verse [or bridge] has been added.

4. It’s About the Cross
This is the second Christmas song on this list. I absolutely love this song! This song talks about all the things we love about Christmas, including celebrating the birth of Jesus. But it reminds us that it doesn’t end there. It’s about the cross. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)  This is a slower song that calls us to worship Jesus as our mighty Savior!

3. My Father’s World
This is an upbeat, active version of the hymn, “My Father’s World.” There is a definite rock and roll sound. It might not suit everyone. As a hymn it will have words and phrases that need explanation [ex. All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.] But don’t let that stop you from using this song with kids. The truth is important for kids to know – God made this world and it belongs to Him. “The Lord is King. Let the heavens ring. God reigns. Let the earth be glad!” There is a chorus added that highlights the fact that everything has been created by Him and for Him.

2. Sweet Song of Salvation/I Love to Tell the Story
This fun upbeat song is a combination of the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story,” and the song “Sweet Song of Salvation.” It is a definite favorite during kids’ worship at our church! There are words and phrases that will require explanation. This song is about telling others the story of Jesus and His death and resurrection. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus and the salvation He offers.

1. Praise Your Name
I think this is my new favorite Go Fish song. It is a bridge song to use between active songs and slower worship songs. It is sung directly to God. It is a clear, simple song of praise. The chorus says, “All I want to do is praise your name.” The verses talk about what God is like: You are holy, righteous, faithful, and sovereign. Every good thing comes from God. “No one can compare to You. You are my God. And I will ever praise You.”

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Words Matter!

 

Deep and wide

Deep and wide

There’s a fountain flowing

Deep and wide

 

I sang that song a lot when I was little. I had fun doing the actions and singing the words, but I had no idea what they meant!

Was I worshiping God when I sang that song? I don’t think so.

Worship God SignI love singing with children on Sunday morning! But we don’t just sing for the fun of it. When we sing together on Sunday it is part of our worship. Therefore the words to the songs we sing matter.

The words matter because we are singing to God.

There is something about putting words to music that helps us remember them. I remember Deep and Wide and I learned it when I was 3!

Since we remember the words we sing, we should sing songs that matter when we sing on Sunday morning.

We are singing as a form of worship and worship is about God. Worshiping God is focusing only on God.

So, what are we singing? It is truth? Is it focused on God?

Do the songs we sing help us to focus our attention on God? Do they encourage a worshipful response to God for His greatness and worth?

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. Psalm 47:6

Because the words matter we should:

1. Look carefully at the words to the songs you are singing with kids.

When we choose songs to sing with children at church, we need to look carefully at the lyrics. Are the words full of truth? Do they help us express our worship? Does this song help us focus our attention on God? Read through all the lyrics of a song before you choose to sing it with kids.

2. Choose songs that encourage true worship. Sing songs that either express truth about God or are a worshipful response to God.

Some songs are silly or just for fun. There is nothing wrong with songs like that, however, when we sing together on Sunday, we are singing as a form of worship. So the songs need to have words that will help us to express our worship. That doesn’t mean that the songs won’t be fun to sing or that they have to be slow and pensive. Again, what matters is the words.

3. Teach that the words to the songs we sing matter.

We need to find a way to communicate what a song teaches. Take some time to talk about a new song when you introduce it. Tell the kids why you choose to teach them this song. When you are singing a familiar song, ask the kids to tell you what the song is about.

Do the kids understand what they are singing? Some songs have difficult concepts or words in them. Explain to the kids what those words or concepts mean. Understanding leads to meaningful worship.

With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him. Psalm 109:30

My husband and I love to attend the opera. Before the event we will read up on the story of that opera. We will even listen to some of the pieces within that opera. Unlike a movie, the more information and understanding you have about an opera the better your enjoyment of it. The more I understand of the story, the more I can simply focus on the music and singing.

It’s similar to worship through singing. Worship is about focusing our attention on God and giving Him the glory He deserves. The more we understand the words we are singing, the better we can focus on God and worshiping Him.

So, don’t sing anything with kids until you have explained it.

At the beginning I talked about the song Deep and Wide. It might be fun, but it has little value for young children. Instead sing this song with them, because the words matter:

Praise, praise, praise the Lord

For He is our King.

We love Him so we give Him praise

For He is our King.

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Books of the Bible Song

I am always looking for ways to teach about the books of the Bible and for kids to interact with the books of the Bible. Ultimately, I want kids reading their Bibles because that is how they can build a relationship with Jesus and learn more about Him.

Knowing and being comfortable with the names of the Bible books and where to find them in the Bible helps kids. Reading the Bible is not such a daunting task if kids understand how the Bible is put together and are familiar with the books in it.

Phil Joel on his album, Deliberate Kids has written a song called “Old Testament (AKA The Ice Cream Song).” I think it is a fun way for kids to learn the books of the New Testament.

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Highly Recommended Christmas Pageant

It’s that time of year to start planning for the annual Christmas pageant. If you are looking for something that is easy and doesn’t require a huge cast but is focused in the true meaning of Christmas, then I highly recommend “The Christmas County Spelling Bee.”

Here’s the description offered on the package:

Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. Everlasting Father. Even a brief reflection on the names of Jesus brings power and strength to our faith. Dove award-winning writer Celeste Clydesdale has centered her newest Christmas musical, The Christmas County Spelling Bee, entirely around this theme. Set within the narrative of a lively spelling bee, this warm musical consists of nine delightful new songs, as well as the Michael W. Smith classic, “Emmanuel.” As the musical unfolds, the contestants learn more about the character and nature of our Savior.
Worshipful, bright and enjoyable, The Christmas County Spelling Bee will engage the hearts of your kids and congregation this Christmas as it reminds us that “Jesus is the only name that saves.”

Our church performed this musical last year and I was so impressed with the focus on Jesus given in all the songs and the spoken parts. This musical is set during a spelling bee and every word the children are asked to spell is one of the names of Jesus. The kids had a lot of fun performing this musical.

One gentleman approached me after the musical and told me that he had attended many Christmas pageants and musicals in his life and he has never seen a better one than this. It was gospel-focused and centered on Jesus and led those attending to worship.

Check out “The Christmas County Spelling Bee” and encourage your kids to find out more about Jesus – the only name that saves!

More information about this musical can be found at www.wordmusic.com
This musical can be purchased through your local Christian Bookstore or at amazon.ca

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