The Songs We Sing

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When I think of Sunday school I think about telling God’s stories and sharing God’s love. But we’re also passing on a faith tradition. With that in mind, the songs we sing with kids and the variety of music we use is significant. It can help or hinder our efforts to enculturate them into the full life of the church.

Consider this quote from the book Intergenerational Christian Formation:

"A Chinese-German couple lives in Holly’s small town. Mei’s first language is Mandarin, Kurt’s is German, and they speak English as well. Their preteen children are trilingual—fluent in all three languages. A person’s first language is considered that person’s “heart” language. Mei and Kurt’s children have three heart languages—that is, languages through which they can express their deepest, most profound feelings and understandings.

Perhaps it can also be said that one’s first music “language” is one’s heart music. What a blessing it would be if the next generation were to become “multilingual” musically from childhood—that is, they would be able to express their spiritual praise, lament, adoration, petition and love through a wide range of musical worship styles. For this blessing to occur, it is keenly important that the worship music of our children and youth tap into the depth and breadth of theologically sound, melodically memorable, profoundly true songs, hymns and spiritual songs not only from the ages but also from the last several decades—and last week."

What an inspiring thought! We can help kids become musically “multilingual” by introducing them to a variety of music from a very young age. What kinds of music could you add to your worship time to give kids a richer variety of songs to sing? Global songs? Contemporary music? Traditional hymns?

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