When I was a kids pastor at the ripe age of 21 I did then what I find unthinkable now. I wouldn’t sing Christmas songs in kids church and never would sing hymns. As I think back I can’t even remember why I felt that way. I think I felt that kids wanted to have fun and Hymns were above their pay grade. I think I thought Christmas Carols were things you heard in stores not songs of praise sung in church. What changed my perspective was being in the same church for 20 years. Seeing the kids grow up that I had taught in preschool I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.
One mistake was thinking that fun mattered more than substance. If I made it crazy enough they would come back. I’m all for fun but not at the price of substance. The other mistake I made is I thought I was helping kids with the faith that they need today rather than preparing them for the faith they are going to need. As kids pastors, we have to give them a faith for today but we also have to prepare them for the faith they are going to need.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. Kids also need to be connected to the history of our faith. The need to know that God loves them, yes, but many people have lived a life of uncompromising faith they can to by God’s grace.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. That’s why I think kids need Hymns and Carols they create categories in kids minds they don’t have yet. One of my favorite Christmas Carols does just that. In 1745 Charles Wesley wrote Come Thou long expected Jesus.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Kids can relate to this because they struggle with fear. In a world filled with ISIS and Orange Alerts, our kids are aware of the sinfulness of man and how we need a rescuer to set us free from the tyranny of sin and fear. What kids need to know for later is that we can only find our rest in God.
One of the challenges to teaching kids hymns is finding the right hymns and finding ones that are on video or have an audio track so we can sing them in our kid’s services that are increasingly video driven. There are a few things on Youtube and some on Worshiphousekids.com but, the best place to start is by heading over to Yancy’s Website she has started something called the Kidmin Worship Project. I’m so excited to tell you her first volume is all hymns for kids. (she gives you a jump drive with the videos already ripped so you can slap them into pro-presenter) I have it we have started doing the Doxology in our kids’ ministry the kids love it. It is tons of fun and for the theological nerds out there fantastically trinitarian. Do yourself a favor start singing Hymns in your kids’ ministry. (She also has a great Christmas album btw) Check out Yancy talking about her Kidmin Worship project.