Originally published in the 2017 Summer Quarterly Explorer
One of my friends posted an article on Facebook about how music education develops a child’s brain better than other activities. As a trained music educator, I cheered, “Yes! Go Music!” Music has had such an impact on my life I can’t help but cheer when people affirm the value of it for children in an age where it seems STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes get emphasized more than anything else. But why sing at church? Why do we take the time to teach our children in choir? To learn musicianship? Certainly. To learn how to be better singers? To praise God? Yes to all of these. There is also another component to why we do what we do.
Singing in worship is one of the few ways that our children get to lead adults in worship. They sing anthems on the topic of the day. A few weeks ago, they gave the closing blessing, our Benediction, in song. Giving our children these opportunities is vital. It shows our children they are leaders now, not just in the future. It gives our children as young as four years old a chance to lead, and this is how they grow in faith. Where else can a child lead a group of adults?
Children singing in church isn’t about us adults admiring them or saying how cute they are, although they are. It is about giving them leadership opportunities so they can learn. This is a promise we make to each family at every Parent/Child/Church Dedication. We promise, as their church, that we will walk beside each family and each child to help them grow in their faith. This is why our children sing. This is why their choir directors teach them to stand tall, to wear robes, to sing words of “Be as Humble as a Child,” or “Go Now in Peace.” The next time you hear our children sing, tell them what a good job they did in leading worship. Also, a big thank you to Dr. Bob, to Kara Harman-Barrios, and to our WorshipCare leaders who sing with our children every Wednesday and Sunday.
“Strong, gentle children, God made you beautiful,
Gave you the wisdom and power you need;
Speak in the stillness, all you are longing for,
Live out your calling to love and to lead.”