Like many of you, when I started leading children’s choirs many years ago, I had no experience. However, I had a heart for children and a desire to see them worship God. I also wanted to see kids grow and develop their creativity. We are all uniquely creative because our Father made us in His image. I wanted to give children opportunities to see how God could use their gifts and talents. I also knew a few artistic parents and adults in our church and wanted to get them involved, so I decided to start a worship arts program.
A worship arts program isn’t about performance. It is about praise. A good definition of worship arts is: An expression of adoration in any creative activity. Most would immediately think of singing as the way to express adoration for our amazing God, but it is so much more. Worship is creative. It should encompass the use of all our gifts.
We call our worship arts ministry WAMO (Worship Arts and Ministry Opportunities). It is a combination of music and electives (tracks). We do music the first half of the night and tracks the second. WAMO sessions are anywhere from four to ten weeks long. Kids choose the track they want to take at the beginning of the session. In an eight-week session, we divide the eight weeks in half and have two four-week sessions. It’s fun for kids to take more than one track during a session. Does this sound like fun? It is! You can get started anytime. Here are some things I’ve learned:
- Get to know parents, adults, youth, and the seniors. I put the following question on every registration form: “Parents, do you have any artistic gifts and talents you might want to share with our kids?” We once had a lovely 80-year-old great-grandma teach crochet. One of my choreographers was one of those kids, and she recently told me how much she loved learning to crochet. She said that she still makes potholders to give away.
- Try to have at least three or four tracks for variety. How many tracks you do will depend on the size of your choir. Some may need a size limit (hand bells for example). Always have a class where kids can go if others are filled (e.g. Creative Crafting). If you have a very small choir or one only room, keep everyone together and do a different track every week. It will still be fun.
- Give your program a thematic bible verse. If you’re doing a musical, find a verse that goes with your musical. Have all the classes do something around that theme verse.
- Do a worship concert at the end of the session where every class gets a chance to shine. Have a different bible verse for every class. For example, the verse for art might be, “The heavens declare the glory of God and show His handiwork.” Display the paintings at your concert. Cooking could be, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” Black light/white gloves could be, “Establish the work of our hands.”
- Have a goal. For example, our crochet class made scarves for the homeless, woodworkers made birdhouses for a convalescent home, and the drama class performed a skit for the younger children. One season I used several of our art class drawings to make a set of blank greeting cards we sold at our concert.
Here are a few class ideas to get you started: Drama/Improvisation, Painting, Dance/Movement (hip hop, lyrical, ballet), Rhythm Instruments, Hand Bells, Mime, Crochet, Woodworking, Photography, Storytelling, Creative Crafting, Sign Language, Songwriting, Cooking, Lego Building, Black Light/White Hands, Media, Clowning, Sculpting/Pottery, Guitar, Sidewalk Chalk Art, Puppets, Voice Ensemble, and Boomwhackers,
Worship is creative. It should encompass the use of all our gifts. Let’s teach our kids that worship is a way of life and a way to give glory to God in whatever gift or talent He has given us. It is giving what we value to God—whether it is a song, a drawing, or a potholder—for His use.
About the author:
Susie Williams has been writing for kids since 1996 when she was first asked to direct a children’s choir. Currently, she directs the children’s music program at The Church on the Way Santa Clarita. Susie has written dozens of children’s songs and musicals, including the Dove Award-winning musical, God of This City and the Dove-nominated musical, An Unplugged Christmas.