Before joining the Kids at The Austin Stone worship team I led worship for college aged ministries. With no prior experience teaching kids everything became a giant learning process. Without this practical knowledge I started by leading the kids like I had led college students. It wasn’t long before I realized that these kids needed me to provide more than just music; they needed me to serve as an example and they needed me to engage them. Through both my words and actions I showed them that this wasn’t a performance but that this was how I, a child of God just like them, worshiped.
Difficult Concepts Made Easy
Each month the worship leaders choose a song to lead throughout the month. Sometimes these songs have difficult concepts but were chosen because they were rich in truth. We strive to raise these kids in songs that point and root them in Christ. Each week before singing we’ll walk through different parts of the songs and explain both difficult words and concepts. By the end of the month, despite the younger kids having difficulties reading, these kids knew and understood the songs. Although we have little time with them it’s amazing to see how God uses these melodies to weave deep truths into their lives.
A few months ago we led the song “Love Shines”. We explained that in God’s amazing love he sent his son to suffer and die for us. Despite being undeserving of this love, he made this sacrifice so that we in response would love and pursue him. Because he rose from the dead we have hope and joy knowing that he has victory over all. Despite having walked them through this it felt like the kids were still having trouble grasping the weight of the song. We didn’t want the kids missing out on what we were singing so we tried taking a different approach the following week. We created and taught hand motions to the kids; every time we sang “He”, “His”, “King”, “Savior”, we would point towards God and every time we sang “My” or “I” we would point to ourselves. We incorporated this in hope that the kids would better see the relationship between themselves and God. And when they sang this song they would realize everything that had been done for them. Afterwards it seemed as if the kids began to understand and feel the joy for everything that had been done for them.
Don’t Underestimate Your Kids
It’s easy to underestimate a child’s ability to understand hard concepts but sometimes that stems from our lack of ability to teach. We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss difficult topics with kids, their potential lack of understanding can be what drives them to seeking understanding. Instead we should be creative and patient with them, we should never dilute truth for the sake of understanding.