When we first started meeting together as a part of Jesus’ bride, our children were really young. I mentioned in a previous letter that we had a hard time getting our kids to sit semi-still. See No Comparisons about training. We ended up using a blue and white blanket that we spread out in our living room a couple of times during the week where we sat and sang songs. They loved it. They got to roll around, but stayed in their area … and were involved. At future meetings, they loved to help choose songs to sing and pray with us.
I still have a couple of boys with exceptional amounts of energy, and since our church consisted of more small children than adults, I decided to make some musical instruments so they could join in even more. I took a number of plastic Easter eggs and filled them half full with rice (rice isn’t too loud, which is important when you have 10 kids shaking them). I taped them shut and surprisingly have only had one or two burst open. Even so, there’s always lots of little hands to help pick up.
We also made rainmakers one day by pushing tiny nails into a mailing tube, pouring some dried pinto beans inside, and taping the nails with masking tape so they wouldn’t fall out.
Now that they are older and some of the kids are becoming teenagers, we’re finding some hidden talents starting to emerge. The oldest boy we have is now playing the ukulele while we sing. I have been to other house churches where older children play electric guitars, congas, or other instruments. These same kids may feel uncomfortable singing or speaking in front of others, but playing an instrument seems to be a comfortable thing. They are contributing, praising God, and blessing us with their music.
There are other kids, however, who feel immensely uncomfortable with anyone possibly looking at them. These kids may not want to sing, or even play a musical instrument that they play very well at home in private. My husband and I come from musical families, so when one of our kids refused to sing or anything of the sort, it bothered me. I couldn’t fathom him not enjoying it. After I spent some time in prayer, however, I was reminded that every person is different. That’s one of the major beauties of the Body of Christ. Each brings his or her personality and gifts to the church. I still encourage him to participate, but I no longer push him.
Still others just want to sing!! Each week we sing a couple of the same songs because they are the kids favorites. And if we forget…they remind us. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The joy on their faces as they belt out an off-tune song of praise to their Lord always brings a smile to my face.
I guess the biggest thing I have learned in this area is to try to create an atmosphere where children’s energy and interest is appreciated and encouraged into an appropriate (for lack of a better word, since we also want them to be aware of adults and others who may want to do things differently) avenue of worship.
So, break out the egg shakers, and don’t be afraid to sing Old MacDonald or Jingle Bells!