Teach them to sing

Posted by Liz Perraud at

I love to sing. Let me clarify. I love to sing in a very large group or in the car by myself. I think I was a better singer as a child. I must have been because I tried out for and made Folksingers when I was in fourth grade. We sang cool songs like Mr. Bojangles and Feelin’ Groovy (when they were brand new radio hits!). I also sang in the church choir (with adults!) around that same time. I think it’s a rule though that they had to take everyone, especially in a small church.

I’ve always thought of myself as a “filler”—you know, that voice that supplies a little more volume (very little) and when combined with the other voices makes MUSIC. I’ve tried to improve my singing voice and have worked (really hard) under the tutelage of some outstanding GenOn choir directors at LOGOS training and at the summer youth summits. I can make my voice go up and down by following the notes on the page but hitting the actual note is a real struggle. And that’s fine when I’m the filler and when the choir director doesn’t expect me to really sing out. I believe fully in the Body of Christ thing with each of us having and using different gifts so it’s okay.

Through several recent conversations I’ve been reminded of the importance of singing in church. We can all sing (and all together) no matter our age or where we are on the faith journey, singing is a way to praise God, and studies show that music cements learning (of the faith) and memory (of our faith community) which is all good. I’m wondering if singing also increases endorphins and as Elle Woods explains in Legally Blonde about exercise, endorphins make you happy. So there’s that too.

Worship Skills is one of the four parts of weekly LOGOS that contributes to a balanced ministry. And balanced ministry is one of the 3 Key Practices that makes LOGOS effective in connecting young people to Christ.

The purpose of Worship Skills in LOGOS is to learn and practice ways to serve God through worship.

Here’s what the LOGOS User Guide states specifically about singing choirs:

Most primary children enjoy choir and delight in sharing their gifts through worship.  Intermediate age young people will usually respond positively when the choir is regarded as an authentic choir with challenging and quality music.  Middle school age students are at an awkward age. They often feel self-conscious about being up front. The boys are experiencing voice change which can be a source of embarrassment and they need a large number of peers with whom they feel secure. High school students have developed more self-confidence and are more secure in the role of music leadership. Young people may resist singing with the excuse that they can't or don't sing. In reality they surround themselves with music, know the lyrics to the songs of their culture and can sing along with movie soundtracks. The problem is they don't know the music of the church.

It is our responsibility to teach them, to share our own joy of the music of the church, to choose age-appropriate music, and to teach the vocabulary and talk about the meaning. Great theology lessons are found in the hymns and music of the faith.

In this season of the startup of LOGOS in churches all over the US and Canada, the page is fresh for scheduling children and youth as worship leaders. Invite church staff or volunteers who (1) love God (2) love kids and (3) have the gift of music (in that order) to consider a call to direct children and youth choirs. You’re looking for people to not only teach skills but also to build relationships.

Also consider drama teams, speaking groups, drummers, chime and bell choirs, dance troupes, signing to music, and liturgical arts projects like banner making. They’re all opportunities for children and youth to come together to learn about, to practice for, and to lead in corporate worship.

Need help? Listen to this podcast or go to the Worship Skills section of our store. Here’s a great article from Building Faith that you’ll love too.

If we believe, as one of the GenOn Nurture Realities states that “Worshiping is for the congregation what breathing is for the human body and children and youth must be included and participate in congregational worship” then we need to do something about it.  How does your church include young people in worship leadership? And how often?

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