I am honored to host friend and colleague in ministry, Josh Waugh this week. Josh is a worship pastor who discovered the Nothing Less research that lists Bible reading and listening to Christian music as two indicators of spiritual health in kids. This inspired him to combine the two that led to an amazing outcome. I welcome you to read his story and send us your own stories about how Nothing Less has inspired some things you’ve tried in ministry.
How to Combine Scripture and Music for Kids
I had a lightbulb moment this past year that completely changed how I thought about children’s choir and involving kids in music and worship!
When the book Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in A Lifetime of Faith came out, some of our staff was able to go through it and talk about the findings. As a worship pastor, one of the conclusions that stuck out to me was the role of music in a child’s faith development. In this study, the research found a trend among young adults that Christian music was one of the top five positive influencers on children keeping the faith into young adulthood. The number one positive influencer was reading the Bible.
When I was growing up, I loved watching Captain Planet. It was so cool to think about having the power of earth, wind, or fire in a ring on your hand (except for the power of heart … that was always the weird one no one wanted). Combined together, they were unstoppable!
That’s when the lightbulb came on! What if we combined the power of Scripture and music for our kids? What if music could be the vehicle for reading the Bible and hiding it in their heart (Psalm 119:11)?
I met with our children’s choir director and shared with her my lightbulb moment. We could help our 4th and 5th graders have a better understanding of God and Scripture by combining music with actual verses from the Bible.
So that’s what we did! Here’s how:
- We taught songs filled with Scripture. Our pastor was preaching through the book of Galatians verse-by-verse. From those sermons and themes, we found Scripture memory songs and worship music that utilized word-for-word portions of Galatians.
- We created kid-friendly motions with the music. They learned motions to the songs and even memorized Scripture verses for spoken transitions to be used in a service.
- We made it fun for the kids! We turned this into a fun, recording project for the kids at the church. The music CDs they recorded turned into a free resource for our families to memorize Scripture through song.
And now, another Captain Planet moment (my inner child was really excited), “With our powers combined …” we prepared our 4th and 5th graders to lead worship for our entire church with the adult band.
The adults were learning the book of Galatians from our Pastor on Sunday mornings. The kids were learning songs from the book of Galatians on Wednesday nights. We now had a multigenerational approach to music, worship, and reading the Bible. Kids and adults were memorizing Scripture together. With our combined forces, we created a CD and Sunday worship service called, “No Other Gospel: Songs from Galatians.”
When those 4th and 5th graders led Sunday morning worship for our entire church, it was powerful! That was a big win. But there is something else I am more excited about.
I want to know what will happen in the lives of these kids and families 10 years from now. What if these kids are keeping the faith because they read their Bible more … and they learned it through music. I believe, “With our powers combined …” God can use the next generation to change our world! The first step can be combining the power of Scripture with the power of music.
What are some things you can do in your ministry that help kids and families memorize Scripture together and read the Bible more? How do you involve music in your children’s ministry?
Josh Waugh is the Associate Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, Tennessee and a graduate of Samford University. He leads the band for weekend worship services and works with the Next Gen worship teams. Originally from Florida, Josh moved to the Nashville area with his wife, Susie, and their two daughters in 2016.