Determined a program date.
Reserved the rooms.
Bought the Children’s Worship Series (or you’re thinking about buying CWS).
But the format is new. The philosophy is new. The idea of kids leading worship is new. How do you get started?
- Plan your calendar. The fall CWS is laid out in 13 weeks. Weeks 9 and 13 are dress rehearsals for your fall and your Christmas programs. But your church calendar may not work out like that – you may need to be ready for a fall program sooner or you may need to stretch the material to go longer – maybe your children’s choir program matches another church program and you have a set number of weeks you need to fill. CWS is intended for a 60 minute rehearsal. Maybe you only have 45 minutes for rehearsal. The good news is: CWS is flexible!
If you’re crunched for time, speed it up by picking the crucial parts of the lessons – teaching the worship concepts and learning the music; don’t include the games, crafts, theory, and other activities. Maybe you need to stretch the material to cover more weeks; add tried and true activities and games and music theory exercises that have worked for you through the years from other sources. Play memory games for the song lyrics. Watch videos of the program or worship service and have a party the week after. Host a Christmas party the week after your fall program – play Christmas games, have Christmas snacks and just introduce the Christmas music. Find a mission project to work on through the semester. And more…
Whatever you do: plan out your lessons and rehearsal schedule and stick with it!
Publish the calendar for your parents, and include extra rehearsals for speaking parts and singers (and special dancers if you are creating special dances.) Check your church calendar and make sure your dates don’t conflict with other major events.
The more planning you do, the more you will accomplish. The more information you give your families, the better attended your rehearsals and events will be.
- Plan your programs. Decide now if you are going with the character driven scripts or the worship leading scripts. Decide how many soloists you will need. Lay out extra rehearsals. Pick a song or two and find a cheerleader or a dance instructor that might create a special dance. Pick a few of the songs and prepare to lead worship in Children’s Church if that is feasible in your church. If you are doing the character driven script, schedule the kids to sing a few of the songs in worship at some point. Plan what your kids will wear.
- Prepare your materials. Make notebooks of the lesson plans and scripts for your teachers. Make lyric booklets for you kids if you don’t have Powerpoint capabilities. Order CD’s for your volunteers and your kids if you are going to pass them out. At Community Bible Church, we charge a registration fee that covers their T-shirts (which we design and print), a rehearsal CD, and parent booklets with calendar, lyrics (with CCLI license information), room numbers, teacher information and other choir information. It also includes the prayer of salvation, too! Print music booklets if you have kids look at print music. For sure, give music to your teachers that read music (the lead sheets).
- Prepare your personnel. Look at your line-up of volunteers. Pray and ask them which part of the lessons they are gifted to lead. The beautiful thing about CWS is that you can divide up teaching duties to different people. Some can lead the worship, some can teach the music, and some can facilitate a game or craft. Host a planning meeting with dinner or snacks about a month before choir starts with your key teachers and facilitators. Have the materials ready for them. Go through a typical lesson plan together. Plan your kick-off event. Plan logistical details of your events. Pray together.
- Pray. This is the most important thing! You are heading in a new direction. There will be challenges. There will be opposition. Satan hates praise (he wants it all for himself!) He will try everything he can to make this hard. Enlist others to pray with you and for you. Pray for the planning. Pray for the execution. Pray for your volunteers. Pray for church wide support. Pray for kids to come. Pray for your creative energy. Pray that the Holy Spirit would inhabit the praises of His children. Pray for revival to start in your people because of the passionate and sincere praise of His children.
I will be praying for you! We all will be praying for you! The worship concepts you are about to instill in your kids have eternal value and significance. Be bold and remember your calling. Get out there and MAKE SOME NOISE!
Amanda is theVocal Music Pastor/Kids Choir Director at Community Bible Church, in San Antonio, Texas. Along with Ray Jones and Craig Adams, Amanda is creating LifeWay Worship’s new children’s choir curriculum – Children’s Worship Series (CWS). She oversees the programming in choirs for ages 4 through fifth grade. Her passion for raising up a new generation of worship leaders takes the CBC kids choirs outside the walls of the church and into the community to spread the news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband Gary have two boys – Tyler & Cory.