From Integrity Music website 9/4/2004:
Kickin’ it up a notch in Kids Worship!
Lest you get too comfortable with the zone you’re currently in, I say, let’s shake it up and get ready to move forward in Kids Worship! It is our tendency to find something that we feel works for us and make our theme song, “I shall not be, I shall not be moved”! So, if you’re ready to dive in a little deeper, read on…
Planning & Vision: A New Theme
If you haven’t done so already, get into the Word and into God’s presence. Ask Him to show you where your kids are now and where He wants to take them during the coming year. A clear theme will emerge as you pray. Write it down! (Habakkuk 2:2) Let everything you do in the coming year reflect the goals God has set for your children; communicate them clearly to your Team, and plan everything around it. Someone has rightly said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Make it Relevant
Live in the constant awareness of making everything you do relevant to where your kids actually live. Know what’s happening in our culture with the kids in the age group to whom you are ministering. Check out what video games they’re playing, what movies they’re seeing, notice what they are wearing and discover what they are saying as they interact. Once you know where they are, make sure that the way you teach attracts and keeps their attention and is relevant to their everyday life. Ask yourself this question: “How will this lesson (or these songs) help ‘Anna’ tomorrow at school?”
Praise and worship should be done with purpose. Not just to sing a few fun songs, or to perform. We must praise an Audience of One…we must worship to an Audience of One. People often ask, “How can I engage my kids in real praise & worship?” The answer is simple, YOU must enter into worship. When you do, they will usually follow. Keep movements simple, to enforce the words and message of the song and to add to the fun. Where hands go, eyes go. Following this simple rule will help your kids to focus on the One to whom they are singing; they will be less distracted by their friends or mindful of who might be watching them. Your purpose as a worship leader is to stand out front, to sing and worship, to lead the children (and other adults there) into God’s presence — and then as they enter in and become aware of Him, you fade into the background. Kids interact in worship much as they do in a love relationship with their parents. They want to play, play, play (praise, praise, praise) and then love/hug (worship, worship) and then they’re off to play (praise) again! We need to know that it’s really ok that kids at worship look different than adults at worship. It’s a developmental thing. Give them time — and give them opportunities for authentic worship. Just keep it real.
First Things First
Most of us want to get right to the “GROW” part and skip the “Ready, Set…” parts! Make sure you put first things first. Plan a training time for your Team. Don’t assume that everyone knows what you know or that they have your heart for the kids. Know that when we’re all on the same page, amazing things can happen! Write down your God-given vision for kids worship, for your particular kids and ministry.
Make sure you share things that are important to you. Here are just a few things I always like to share with my Team:
1. We are in the business of helping kids enter into God’s presence. We’re in the business of life transformation. We’re going to have fun, but never forget that this is about ‘forever’.
2. Be attentive and in the moment. Be watchful for things that may come up.
3. Love kids. Period.
4. We don’t need any “kid police” or anyone to hold up the walls. Just worship with us. So many behavior challenges are eliminated if we have a good plan and then just enter into worship. If someone needs redirecting, do it gently and draw as little attention to it as possible. Often just a look, hand on a shoulder or quietly moving to stand beside a child does the trick.
5. We will plan an upbeat and interactive time of praise & worship, fun with a purpose (games, drama, snack) and Bible lesson and scripture memory. Here’s the checkpoint: if you’re having fun, the kids probably are too!
6. If a child raises his hand to ask a question during praise and worship or during the Bible lesson, the team member nearest him should go immediately and assist him. (Unless I’ve asked a question and instructed them to raise their hands) To interrupt the flow of worship or the spiritual time isn’t fair to the group. When a teacher (other than the group leader) goes to him, 2 great things are accomplished: the felt need of the one child is met AND the needs of the group are uninterrupted. Very cool.
7. The Leadership Team is important; you are the hearts and hands through which God will love the children. Through the fire and the passion that they see in you, they will be drawn to want to know the Jesus that you know.