Kids Worship

Christ Music Kids

Engaging Kids In Worship

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into His presence with singing!”
Ps. 100:1

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!”
Ps. 100:4

Scripture is full of exhortations to give praise, worship, honor and thanksgiving to God!  By doing so, we enter into His holy presence!  How vital it is to our relationship with God that we not only learn about Him, but know Him personally, experience Him and learn how to worship Him!  God created us to worship Him for all of eternity.  Let us start eternity now by creating opportunities of worship for our kids!

How does one engage kids in worship?   First of all, kids CAN worship, but do so differently than adults.  Kids, by their nature, are so open and uninhibited. They also come with an abundance of energy when it comes to worship!  We can capture that energy and openness by engaging them through the song selection, motions and the right leadership.

Worship Flow

A time of worship with music has a certain “flow”.  Begin with fast, upbeat songs.  Set the pace with a good beat.  Music should be loud enough to fill the room.  Kids need to “feel” the music.  After several fast songs, gradually bring it down to slower, more reflective songs.  The music can still be loud but should move the kids to prayer.  If appropriate, invite the kids to close their eyes, sit or kneel and to focus on God.  If at any time during the song where there is no singing, or the “dead” time between songs, keep the kid’s hearts and minds engaged by having the leader read a verse in scripture, lead a spontaneous prayer, or invite the kids to lift up their arms and imagine that God is giving them a hug.  Depending upon the hosted event, this time of more reflective worship will then go into a talk or teaching, or into the next activity.  We usually plan 25 to 35 min from the beginning of upbeat worship to this transition time.

If you are also closing with worship, you can bring the pace back up with faster, upbeat songs.  This can last 10 to 20 min long, but if the kids are really engaged, they won’t want to leave.  We’ve led events where we literally had to tell the kids that it was time to go because their parents had been waiting a long time!  What a blessing it is when kids want to stay longer and give glory to God!

Song Selection/ Giving CDs Away

When choosing songs, we prefer to “teach up” rather than to “teach down”.  We typically don’t select songs that only appeal to the younger children.  We have found that during ministry events with combined ages, it’s extremely important to keep the older ones engaged.  They need to think that it’s “cool” to worship God.  Then, in turn, the younger kids will follow because they want to be just like the older ones.  

It’s also important to repeat the songs often enough that the kids learn them.  Introduce new songs slowly.  If you are going to be using certain songs during the year, use the worship during VBS to teach some of the songs. 

 

If you want the kids to have the music, give parents a list of songs or CDs that you will be using and encourage them to purchase the CD or the songs individually on iTunes.  We offer ministries a great discount on bulk order purchases.  If you would like to purchase CDs for your ministry, please contact us.  Burning CDs and giving them away is not only illegal, it financially hurts the ministry.  Producing quality music is expensive.  Please support the ministry by puchasing the CDs rather than burning them to give away.

Motions

Kids love motions to songs!  Incorporate them in your worship time.  View our Youtube channel for ideas.  When choreographing a song, We like to use a combination of sign language, motions, and dance moves.  It’s helpful if you have choreography help from those who are familiar with sign language, have a dance background, or other youth that are current with some of the latest dance moves.

If it’s a one time event where kids are coming from different places, choose popular songs and keep the motions simple.  Engage them with more with clapping and raised arms.  If it’s an ongoing or repeated event, you have the opportunity to incorporate more motions and dance moves.  Don’t shy away from choreography that you think is too difficult.  Today’s kids like the challenge and can pick it quickly.

Those leading the motions, should exaggerate the movements.  If those that lead have fully raised arms, you can expect most of the crowd to have arms half raised.  Sign language needs to be deliberate and concise.  Even facial expressions need to communicate energy and joy.  Smile!

It’s also very important that the adults in the same room are also participating in the worship.  It’s so tempting for adults to stand in the back and chat.  This is distracting to the kids and worship leaders and also communicates to the kids that they don’t need to participate.  If the adult can’t do the motions fully, encourage them to do what they can do or simply to stay engaged by clapping or raising their arms.  Again, we need to model what we expect from the kids.

Training Up Young Worship Leaders

It makes a huge impact on kids to see other young people leading the worship and motions. It’s so “cool” to their peers leading and encourages the audience of kids to participate. However, those in leadership need to possess certain qualities and should be selected by invitation only.

Begin your selection by praying about who you should select!  Carefully observe the kids during your worship time.  Are they engaged themselves?  Do they enjoy singing and doing the motions?  Do they have a pleasant personality and a good attitude?  Can they receive instruction and correction or are they highly sensitive and get their feelings hurt easily?  Can they physically keep a beat? Can they laugh at themselves if they mess up? Are they flexible and can quickly adjust to change?  Do they have a love for God?  Do they live a life of good example?  These are all important questions to ask yourself when selecting your team.

The most important quality they must possess is the proper disposition of their heart.  They need to lead for the right reasons and not be doing it for themselves.  A dance background can be very helpful, but the proper disposition of their heart to lead other kids in worship is more important that refined dance moves.

Also, consider having two groups of youth leading.  Kids in grades 2-5 can be involved in peer leadership.  This group leads by example in the front of the crowd facing the older leaders.  This is a powerful way to model right in front of the kids how they should be participating.  Jr. High, High School and young adult leaders lead in the front facing the crowd. 

Girls need to especially mindful of how they dress when they lead worship.  No skirts or tops that are revealing when they bend over or show tummies when they lift their arms.  Hair should be pulled back.  No heavy make up or big jewelry.  With both girls and boys, the clothing that they wear should not be a distraction to the kids.

Try to recruit kids from a variety of social circles.  In turn, they will provide the necessary leadership to their peers.  If they aren’t suited to lead the singing and motions, have them lead by being involved with other areas necessary to kids worship.  Being in charge of the power point, playing the music CD, running the lights, running the sound, greeting the kids or taking up the offering are all ways that they can “lead” by active participation.

Worship comes from the heart.  If a leader is having a bad day, don’t have them lead, have them participate.  The worship leader’s disposition sets the tone for the time of worship.  It’s important that they prepare their heart and mind to lead.  They need to prepare themselves to focus on God and worship Him.  We are all made to be worshippers of God.  But be very selective who you choose to lead, they need a strong faith and need to have a life complimentary to worship.

The Worship Space

Kids worship can be held in a variety of places. But, there’s a few things to consider when choosing the room or location.

Sound is of utmost importance.  Does the room have adequate sound or will the music get lost?  Is the sound distorted when turned up? This can be really tricky if the space you are using is a traditional sanctuary, an outdoor area or a gymnasium with lots of echo.  If this is the case, you might try and consider some other possibilities.

Have a microphone ready for the main worship leader.  A cordless headset is preferred, but if used, make sure that the body pack is snug so that it doesn’t fall off and break.  Also, if the headset won’t stay on the leader’s head during the motions, have them wear it over a baseball cap.

Try to select a room or space that is the right size for the crowd.  A worship space too big with high ceilings can give a very impersonal feel.  A space too small can make it difficult for the kids to engage in the motions.  If the space is too big, try and make it seem smaller with the lighting or partitions. Be creative in choosing the space.  If the main sanctuary is too big, try holding it in the foyer of the church, a smaller chapel, or even a large enough hall.  Be creative and try out different options.

It’s important that the kids are not scattered.  Gather them in one area.  If your space has chairs, make sure that there is a good amount of room between the rows.  If your space has pews, consider gathering the kids in front of the pews or in the aisles for worship.

If possible, have the older leaders facing the crowd be on a stage or a platform so that they can seen.  If the platforms need to be moved often, make individual platforms covered in carpet for easy transportation and storage.

Adoration For Kids

Doing Eucharistic Adoration with contemporary and traditional worship is a growing movement within Catholic circles.  Some current examples of Adoration events include Caelorm (www.christmusic.org), Adore (www.adoreworship.com), LIFT (www.liftedhigher.com), Proud2BCatholic (www.proud2bcatholic.com), XLT (www.lifeteen.com), Diocesan Eucharistic Congresses, G2G (Generation to Generation) and Children Of Hope (www.childrenofhope.org).  Each one of these Adoration events has a different “flavor” depending upon the worship leader and the participating group. But with each, however big or small, God is moving mightily during these times of Adoration!  Read this sample testimony….

“  We went to Steubenville East Youth Conference where one of our teens had an incredible conversion and followed Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist around the tent for the whole night!  When I shared this with my pastor, I told him, “Eucharistic Adoration is where it’s at!”  He said that is what he’s been told.  He had been on retreat for the week with priests from all over the country who all testified to the fact that Eucharistic Adoration is changing their parishes and really moving in their youth groups!  Our teens LOVE to go to Adoration and worship!  This is something that our adults are not quite used to…..they are used to “quiet” personal Adoration.  Praise God for events like Steubenville, Caelorum, Proud2BCatholic, LIFT and others where communities come together to worship our Eucharistic Lord!”

What an honor we have to provide opportunities for worship and Adoration where God can move and empower our youth! Although there is always an element of chaos when working with a group of kids, be encouraged that even in the midst of chaos, God can touch their heart

Listed here are some tips for doing Adoration with kids.      

  • Keep it under an hour long.
  • Hold it in a space that is a good size for the crowd.  A space too big for the crowd can give it an impersonal feel and won’t capture the energy of the singing.
  • Use pre recorded music and have adequate sound.  This can be really tricky in some churches if you hold Adoration in the main sanctuary.  In many churches, the music gets lost and you can hear every sound that people make- which can be distracting. We like our music fairly loud- still reverent and worshipful, but loud enough that the kids don’t get distracted by the cute babbling baby in the back.
  • Engage the kids through movement by using motions to the songs.  Even our version of the Tantum Ergo has motions to the contemporary refrain.
  • In general, this is the outline we use:  Three upbeat songs followed by a transitional song (like “It Is You”).  Lights are then dimmed and all are asked to kneel.  "We Fall Down" is a perfect song during this time.  Priest enters with the Eucharist and places the monstrance on an altar. Go right into another worship song like "Here I Am To Worship", "Offering" or "Jesus, I Surrender".  Priest then offers a short reflection which can be followed by a short time of silence.  Another worship song at this point is optional.  Priest can then lead  the Divine Praises followed by the Benedition, or can go right into the Benediction. which can flow into the into the "Tantum Ergo/ Adoration".  Priest exits with Eucharist.  Once the priest has exited with the Eucharist, the worship leaders can motion to the kids to stand and join in the motions to the song being played at that time.  If it's the "Tantum Ergo", lead the kids in raising their arms during the verses and join in the motions during the refrain.  Close with two upbeat songs.