Choosing worship songs for children

Every month we have an all-age ‘family service’ at church, and as in that service we try and include songs which are particularly suitable for children. At the moment we’re trying to increase our repertoire, but what are we looking for in a worship song for children?

Now I probably need to apologise in advance, because I’m not a musician, so I’m looking mainly at the words and content – I’ll leave the musical consideration to those who know what they’re talking about.

What makes a good Children’s worship song?

  • First of all I’m looking for theological substance. This sounds like a tall order for simple songs, but I want them to proclaim truth about God or express our response to Him in Worship.
  • Songs which make Bible verses memorable or easy to understand are a great way to get scripture on our lips.
  • Songs which tell a Bible story or parable.
  • Psalms.
  • Songs which lend themselves to actions mean that even children can join in.
  • As with adult songs, If the main premise is that we are praising God, I want to know why we are praising him. (Because of His work, His character, His attributes, etc.)

And which songs will be vetoed?

  • Songs which anthropomorphise animals. (I.e. singing about how much Mr Sheep loves Jesus.)*
  • Songs which don’t mention God.
  • Songs which try to use youth speak or trendy language. (Given how far behind the times the church often is, how long will it be before we have a song with ‘lol’ in it?)
  • Songs about being good (we’re not trying to create mini-morralists).
  • Songs which are boring to sing. (OK, I did include one about the music)

*Maybe this one is just a personal peeve, but I’m allowed to have one or two eccentricities.

So have you found any good new children’s songs recently?

2 thoughts on “Choosing worship songs for children

  1. I think most of what you say is sensible. The ‘trendy’ one is interesting – I guess it depends on who the song is being aimed at – Children aren’t trendy – but at an all age service it tends to just be cringe making.

    One of the Ebbe’s apprentices wrote a song along the lines of :-

    The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost…. (repeat)
    Luke 19:10; Luke 19:10
    Good news for all of us
    The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

    which pretty much does what a song for young people ought to do.

    I think that I would add that the music ought to be something that the musicians in your church can pull off live, with credibility. CD’s again can be cringy – what sounds ok when Colin Buchanan sings it on a CD, (or if you’re our age Ishmael) may not work…

    Emu music do some great CD’s which can translate to church if you take the right songs (The King, The Snake and The Promise is one) but there are album and song names that I’d be worried about …. Unreal Banana Peel for instance. A very very very big God is pretty good too but again it’s about picking the songs from a range that varies from great to pretty ordinary.

    We’ve pretty much avoided Mr Cow, how do you…. although it does come up from other people from time to time….

  2. Here’s and example of why Ishmael is so good:

    “I wanna be a Cowboy for Jesus,
    But not like any cowboy seen before.
    I would love the bad guys and not want to seem them die
    I’d want to see them living for the Lord”

    Memorable, Fun and Substance. Yee-Ha!

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