This article was written by Yancy, a guest writer for INCM.
Whether we’re 8 or 80, worship is a vital part of our connection with God. That’s why songs and music are such an important part of your VBS program as tools to connect with kids and to help connect those kids to God. It reinforces the lessons they are learning, helping what they learn stick and last a lifetime. Here are a few things you can do to help the music and worship times at your VBS come alive after you press play.
Create the Environment
Play fun music that is relevant to the age group in that area. As kids enter your church lobbies, hallways, and classrooms, let music be the soundtrack to that experience.
Teach through Music
It’s amazing that I can sing a song from my childhood that I haven’t thought about in years or maybe even decades just like it was yesterday. What a blessing it is when it’s a song with a spiritual truth, Scripture, or promise from God’s word. The Bible tells us to meditate on God’s word. God’s word in the songs we sing will help us to take it in, say it with our mouth, and let it take root in our hearts.
Make Time for Worship
Music within our services should be more than just a time-filler. During VBS, give kids opportunities to worship every day. Develop leaders and volunteers who understand the value of worship to help you in this area. There is power in kids worship. Don’t believe me? Check out Psalm 8:1&2, “God brilliant Lord, Yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you. Toddlers shout out songs that drown out atheist babble.” (MSG) Kids get it and their pure worship will have an astounding effect on those around them. They can be the positive example to other kids their own age. They can impact a relative that doesn’t know God by the songs that come out of their mouth. I believe that nothing brings God greater fame than a child singing the praises of our king.
I’ve been around the church world enough to know how often this very important concept is overlooked. While it may be tempting to try to learn the songs in the car on your way to church the day your VBS starts, be prepared instead. Spend time learning and studying the songs. Let them sink in. You want to know them so well they become part of your faith DNA.
Think about what you want to say when you lead these songs. What will you say before the song starts? How will you transition from one song to another? Depending on your experience level, you may even want to write it out. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable the kids will be. That makes the whole worship experience better and allows God to move and speak into the lives of the precious boys and girls we get the privilege of ministering to this week.
Remember, you are the leader. If you’ve been given the task of leading the music then somebody believes in your ability to do the job well. Sing and lead these songs knowing you’ve been entrusted to do this. Don’t be intimidated by the kids in the audience. (I promise they won’t bite…most likely!) Sing and speak boldly!
Make Eye Contact
Look at the kids. Open your eyes. Connect with them. When you look at them, they notice and respond. Sometimes eye contact is the very thing that will encourage them to sing out or clap their hands. A good rule of thumb is to look at one person until the line or thought is finished then change your eye contact to someone else.
Give Vocal Instruction
One of the best ways to get kids to sing, dance, and participate is to clearly tell them what you want them to do. Keep in mind, telling them one time isn’t always enough. Think about how an aerobics instructor calls out and encourages you in what to do. Saying things like, “Sing it again,” “one more time,” “let me hear you,” and “c’mon clap your hands,” are great between lines or before a new part of the song. Also, ask questions of the audience that demand a verbal response. Repeat the question if needed to get the response desired. It’s an easy way to get the kids involved in what you’re doing!
Give CDs of Music to Help Kids Remember
A great way to invest in your kids and families is by providing the same songs you sang at VBS in a format they can enjoy all year long. You can provide an incredible resource for those kids’ families, especially the ones who don’t know God, and the many hours they spend together in the car. Keep in mind, there are certain copyrights and rules to follow but permissions can be obtained.
Remember that worship isn’t about us, it’s about God. When you wrap your activities in it and give Him your best, He will bless the effort. Have fun and let’s praise God boldly this summer!
Yancy is an enthusiastic songwriter, performer, and worship leader for all ages. She travels the globe doing family concerts kids and parents love. She has a passion to serve the local church with worship resources geared for preschool to preteen ages, which can be found on CD and DVD. Her newest album, “Jesus Music Box” will release late February. Yancy also writes and produces all of the music for the Adventures on Promise Island and God’s Backyard Bible Camp VBS programs released by Standard Publishing. Find out more at www.yancynotnancy.com.
©2012 Yancy Ministries, Inc.