Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hide 'em in Your Heart!

Children's music ministry has been where my heart has been serving the Lord for the past 20 years (officially - longer unofficially)! God has blessed me by allowing me to direct children's choirs and accompany them on the piano at churches, schools, and homeschool groups.

One of the most awesome things about serving this way is seeing the lifelong impact that may be given to the kids. I couldn't tell you all the names of the songs I've picked for the kids or even how many pieces they have done, but there are some that will never be forgotten by me -and hopefully not by the kids either.

This month I will be starting this new Christian music blog by presenting some of the recordings and sheet music that have been more that cute songs or musically aesthetic for the kids. I try to pick musical selections that will teach them something about the character of God, review a Bible story, share a message with the congregation or audience they sing to, and most importantly, help them remember a key Bible passage or concept.

The first materials I wanted to share are recordings and music books by Steve Green. They are phenomenal! Entitled Hide 'Em in Your Heart - Bible Memory Melodies, Volumes 1 and 2, they do just that - plant key Bible verses into the children's little beings! A friend had mentioned them to me numerous years ago as something her children enjoyed listening to, so I decided to purchase them for my children. Wow - what a treat that was the first time listening to them. Volume 1 has 20 short pieces based on the Word directly from the Bible, and Volume 2 has 21. Each song is short (1-2 minutes long) and to the point. Mr. Green and the children on the recordings sing significant Bible verses in a simple, pleasing, repetitive way that are easy to learn and fun to sing. I searched out companion sheet music books for the accompaniment and away we went.

The children are usually presented with the verses of the month for memory. I have them look it up in the Bible, read it several times, and discuss what it means to us and how we can apply it in our lives. Then, of course, we learn the song and sing it repeatedly until thoroughly and internally memorized. Long after we are "done" with a song, the children request to sing them at rehearsals! I have been using them with my own children and children in the groups I work with frequently over the years.

Now here's the cool part ~ parents of the children (along with my own) sing the songs at home and other places they go, simply because they enjoy the songs. While they do, they are placing those verses deeper and deeper into their hearts and sharing the Word with anyone who may hear them! The verses come up in conversations and the children are able to take those oh so important verses with them as they go through their daily lives! I've been told that the kids remember them many years later as they go to recall certain verses. I know I've many a time been able to remember a verse by simply singing the precious tunes in my mind!

As I sit here and look at the worn covers, scratched on the plastic, paper crumpled, I continue to pray that these Biblical truths will stay with the children, guiding them in all they do!

I'll be sharing some other favorites throughout the month, so if you have a resources for children's Christian music, please leave me a note to share. Thanks and God bless you! :)

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