Worship Series: Song Selection

If you’ve been following for some time, you’d know that I help out with children’s worship once a month. Well, once a month we also hold a children’s worship practice, where we introduce new songs and motions to our children’s worship team. And every month I struggle with tying to figure out what new songs I’d like to add to our slowly growing list.

Now, it’s not that I don’t have songs that I love, however, everybody has their own style of worship and artists they prefer, and I’m no different. I love upbeat and energetic praise songs and I love worship, but I’m also very lyrically driven. Obviously, I’m a writer, so I tend to be drawn to songs with powerful, biblically sound lyrics. I mean, the Bible says that true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth, and the Word is Truth (John 4:23-24).

However, when it comes to children’s worship, I can’t always choose to share or lead the same songs that I enjoy during my personal worship time, because the lyrics are sometimes too complex for children between the ages of 5-12. That’s not to say that I choose watered down songs, because that would mean I’d be underestimating the understanding of the children; and children understand much more than we often give them credit for. (That’s why Jesus said that we should be more like little children in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18.) However, sometimes I really struggle with finding age-appropriate songs, especially because our group varies so vastly in age.

I think this is a challenge that someone leading any type of worship–adults, children, teens, etc.–faces: choosing the right songs for the particular group you’re leading. Leading adult worship, for instance, means you have to choose songs that reach a multitude of generations (unless your church has only one primary age group).

Here are three things that I started taking into consideration when choosing songs for Children’s Worship:

Tempo

Because I’m working with kids this is an important one. If we want the children to be excited about worship, we need some up-tempo songs to begin with and we have to be careful when we slow down our praise and enter into worship. Usually, I like to have a transition song, something mid-tempo, before going into worship, but sometimes it’s not always possible. Their attention span is pretty short and I’ve found that if we sing any more than one worship song, we usually lose them.

Lyrics

This is the most challenging for me. Some of my favorite worship songs are very lyric heavy. They either have a lot of lyrics or the lyrics are complex. In the days leading up to our most recent practice, for example, I went back and forth on a song that I really loved, but eventually decided against because I felt that the kids couldn’t handle it. The best songs for them tend to be those with simpler lyrics and repeating choruses, although I have found some exceptions. Songs that they are familiar with, because they hear them repeatedly on the radio, tend to do extremely well with this group! So much so, that we’ve begun to use more of such songs during worship.

Song Length

Unfortunately, we don’t have a live band for our children’s worship, so we use tracks (usually, including the lyrics). Sometimes the track we have is too long or there’s too much ad-lib going on in the track. I’ve been making notes of which songs these are, so that I don’t continue to use them or I request that a new/different version of the song be purchased. Again, I can’t lead an 8 minute worship song with this age group, since they just don’t have the attention span, and they don’t know what to do when someone is ad-libbing.

Still, even after taking these things into consideration, we just have to lead the song a few times and see how the children respond to it. Sometimes they pick it up easily and other times we end up disappointed and end up removing the song from our list.

Now I have questions for you…How do you choose which songs to use in your worship services? And how many times do you try/lead a new song before ultimately giving up on it? I’d love to hear your responses below!

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Worship Series: Pride

Pride is one of the enemy’s best tricks. It sneaks up on us when we’re least aware of it and can destroy our ministry, our character, and pretty much every area of our lives. So, what exactly is pride? The dictionary defines it as a “high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority.” Basically, in terms of worship, this means that we assume we are more important or valuable because of a particular ability or skill we have. Generally speaking, we’ve ignored the fact that God has given us our particular skill or ability, and instead of using it to glorify God, we’re using it to glorify (and inflate) ourselves.

Some questions that we should ask ourselves often, in order to identify whether or not we’ve fallen into this trap are:

  1. Why am I leading worship?
  2. Do I feel called to lead worship?
  3. Do I feel put out or offended when my skill or ability is overlooked?
  4. Am I trying to stand out and gain attention, or am I working in unity with the other band members and under authority of the leadership?
  5. Am I respectful of the leaders’ decisions?

Pride is a tricky thing and God detests it. The pride of mankind is what pushed Eve to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Pride is what caused men to build the tower of Babel in Genesis 11, and pride caused the devil to lose his place in the heavenly realm. In the Old Testament, king after king (2 Chronicles 26:16; Jeremiah 13:9; Daniel 5:20; Isaiah 10:12) is seen losing his power and authority to rule, because of pride; and nation upon nation (Isaiah 13:19, 43:14; Ezekiel 32:12; Zechariah 9:6, 10:11), destroyed because of their pride.

Psalm 10:4 says, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” and 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride says that we don’t need God and we can accomplish everything on our own, but humility and wisdom show that we can do nothing on our own; we need God. This is why Proverbs 11:12 states “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” We should never fall into the trap of thinking we can do everything through our own ability and skill, because at any given moment God can take away our gifts and talents.

Furthermore, there is a great difference between those who are gifted with talent and those who are actually called to the ministry. Sometimes someone may be talented, but not called, while those who are called aren’t necessarily the most talented, but heavily anointed. However, this is a topic for another time.

For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. ~ 1 John 2:16