You are here
Leading the singing
Leading the singing is for me one of the most enjoyable parts of a childrens meeting. It's a chance to really have some fun with the kids, but also a chance to get the Gospel message across at the same time. Everyone has their own style, but listed below are some things that I do in a childrens meeting to (hopefully) make it an enjoyable time for all.
Start with a well known song
This can be difficult if you are starting a new session or a new work completely, but for the most part there should be a song that is well known by all. Even if it isn't well known by the kids, try and make sure all your leaders know it. If you struggle with the first song you can very quickly find attention drifting off.
- If you can, try and have a few songs that you sing every week. Hopefully as your kids work grows, the regulars will start to teach the newer kids the songs. It gives them a sense of achievement and encourages them to come back in future weeks. Kids love new things, but they also enjoy the comfort of familiarity.
Don't underestimate the power of singing
Don't assume that the singing you do at the start of a meeting is just to fill time as others arrive. It gets kids into the right frame of mind and also has an unexpected benefit. I don't know if you are like me, but there are times when I get a song into my head and for the rest of the day go around humming that tune. I'd like to say that it was always a hymn floating round my head, but more often than not it is a jingle from Radio 2. This happens to kids as well and we have heard stories in the past of kids who have gone to school the next day singing the songs they've learned in the kids club.
- To achieve the "jingle effect" you need to sing a song more than once. Don't draw it out too far, but repetition is still a good way for kids to learn. See the tips below on how to get the best out of individual songs.
Reinforce what they've just sung
It is important to try and reinforce what the kids have just been singing about. Let them know that these songs actually relate to the Bible. It's also a great way of getting kids involved. You don't need to retell the story the song relates to, simply asking a question about what they've just sung can be all that is needed.
If you are singing "He made the stars to shine", you could ask questions like "Who made the stars to shine", "Who made the rolling seas", "Who made the mountains high". The answer to all these is God, and even the youngest child will no doubt realise what is going on and be trying to answer by the end. An excellent question to finish up with is "Why do I love him?" which leads you onto a quick explanation about Christ dying on the cross for them.
Let the kids have fun!
Kids meetings should have a serious note to them, but they should be fun and enjoyable. There is such a multitude of activities out there for kids these days that if we don't make them enjoyable, they will speak with their feet and go elsewhere. There are numerous ways to liven up the singing and keep the interest going.
- Variations in volume: Kids love to make a noise, so channel that into their singing. See who can sing the loudest (without shouting!) or quietest. See who can beat the musical instrument that is accompanying you.
- Variations in speed: There are lots of songs out there where you can start off slow and get faster and faster. "I am a C" is a great one for this.
- Variations in key: Instead of staying in the same key, why not the repeat the song, but go up a key. Songs like "Take my hand and follow me" are great for this.
- Actions: A lot of kids choruses are prime targets for teaching kids actions along with it. Songs like "I may never march with the infantry" is a good example. You can also offer prizes for the best actions.
This applies to any kind of work you are doing with kids. There is a very fine line between letting them have fun, and letting things get out of order. If you are finding that things are descending into chaos you need to very quickly get it back under control before it goes too far.
- Move onto a different song. If you can, a quieter one without any actions.
- Don't be afraid to penalise anyone who is misbehaving. This can range from removal of points/prizes to removing them from the group altogether.
- Get other leaders to go and sit beside / in between the ones that are causing the problem.