My name is Jesse Saunders, I am the Austin Stone KIDS band coach, and I lead worship with our grade school students (1st-5th grade) at the St. John campus.
In our KIDS large group worship times, we have 4 primary goals.
Teach sound doctrine
While trying to meet this objective, a lot of thought and prayer goes into our song selection each week. As a part of our large group worship time, we lead the kids through two songs each week. In order to help our kids learn and retain the songs we are teaching, and provide continuity across services and campuses, we have one song-of-the-month that is led by all of our bands each week.
As often as possible, the song of the month is a new song to KIDS, and is tied to the overall curriculum theme for that month. Likewise, the second song each week generally addresses themes tied to the scripture being studied in the classroom and being taught in The Word.
Create an exciting and fun environment for kids to learn
In addition to the theological elements involved in week to week song selection, we try to ensure that at least one of the songs being sung each Sunday is high energy, to get the kids excited and engaged in worship. This, along with having a full band, (we’re always looking for new musicians to volunteer) a sound system, and lighting, help to give kids a sense of what ‘big church’ worship is like, while offering those who have chosen to follow Christ the opportunity to worship God on Sunday morning with their friends in KIDS.
Model and teach what our church’s corporate worship service looks like
Many of the songs used in our KIDS ministry are the same ones that the bands in the main services lead with every week. We do this to in order to help send the kids out the door singing the same songs their parents are. However, to ensure that our kids are able to engage with the song lyrics and themes, we look closely at each song in light of the children’s ability to understand them.
Tweet This: We want to send kids out the door singing the same songs their parents are. @asworship #worship
Allow regenerate (saved) children an opportunity to worship God
Given the broad developmental range of in our grade schoolers (5 to 10 years old), there isn’t one clear line we can draw on what our kids can really grasp in theology and themes. In some cases, I have been nervous about whether or not our kids would be able to connect with certain song, and in nearly every case, I have been amazed at how the kids are able relate to them after a week or two of singing these truths. I have found new songs to be particularly effective when I have taken the time to teach the kids about the thematic elements that may be unclear to them, as well as how they relate to the scripture they are being taught.
Leading worship for kids can be an incredibly difficult, yet rewarding experience. I hope that these goals inspire you to place a high value on the worship times you have in your kids ministries!