One of the main reasons that I feel called to children’s ministry is that God used the children’s ministry I grew up in to dramatically impact my life. I became a Christian in 4th grade, the fruit of a lot of hours put in by dedicated children’s ministry volunteers and Sunday School teachers. I went to church every Sunday from before I can remember and I loved my experiences there.
One of my favorite things to do at church as a child was to sing! I loved singing everything, from the sing-song preschool tunes like “Arky Arky” to the hymns our family would sing in “big church.” Those songs stuck with me, and I would sing them to myself while playing in the backyard, or sing them “in my head” at school so that no one would make fun of me.
The truths contained in those songs are a big part of what God used to give me new life in Him. And from 4th grade on, I was able to sing those songs with great love and passion for Jesus in my heart. Because I was a Christian, I was able to truly believe the truths I was singing. Up until that point, God had been using the songs that I was memorizing to implant truths in my head that He later used to bring me to faith in Him. Worshiping through music as a child is a big part of my testimony.
Worship through singing is one of the ways that Austin Stone Kids Ministry seeks to obey Jesus’s commandment to his disciples to let the children come to Him. For the children in our ministry that have come to faith, we want to give them a chance to express their love for God through song. And for all the children still on their faith journey, we pray that God uses the songs we sing to implant deep truths about God and His Word on their hearts. Perhaps God will use these truths to bring them to faith at a later date, as He did in my life.
Because one of the main goals of our worship times is to teach our children truth about God, we take great care to make sure that the songs are age-appropriate and theologically accurate, all the way down to the songs we sing for the little ones. Songs do not have to be complex in order to be deep. The familiar lyric “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” is a great example of a truth that is simple to understand, yet profound in its implications for those who truly grasp it. As long as the songs are selected carefully, singing can be a great tool to lead kids to know and love Jesus, all the way down to our preschoolers.
All of our children down to our two-year-old classrooms have a set aside time where they come to a large group environment, sing songs of worship, and hear teaching from the Bible. In a couple of future posts, you will hear more specifics about how we go about leading kids in worship. Jana Magruder, one of our former Children’s Ministry Directors will explain what our preschool worship times look like. Jesse Saunders, our Kids Ministry musician lead, will share more about our grade school worship times. And finally, Paul Roberts, one of our Kids Ministry band leaders, will share what he has learned through leading kids in worship.
It is our great hope that God will use our musicians and the songs they select to play to awaken them to the truth of the gospel, and that they would walk with Him all the days of their lives.