There is a widespread ministry mindset among Christian churches that view children simply as little people that need to be entertained during Sunday worship services and kept at a low volume as much as possible. The main objective is simply to make sure they stay out of trouble, so that the adults can pay attention to the preaching of the word. This kind of mindset leaves little room for kids to grow in their relationship with Jesus, and kids Christian songs, in this context, will mainly be focused on getting kids to behave right.
But is this all that kids Christian songs should portray? Or is there a better way or paradigm when it comes to helping children get to know God better and do mighty exploits as His little warriors? When choosing kids Christian songs, what criteria should you check for?
- Do the songs extol Jesus and His finished work? Many songs designed for children under the guise of Christianity actually have nothing about Jesus or the cross in them. This is a sad reality, because Christianity is essentially about Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross for us. For example, songs that talk about loving one’s neighbor may have been inspired by the Bible passage, but if the focus is all on the child’s behaving right, it really is no different from the secular music that everyone else listens to, which extols good morals and right behavior. Anyone can make songs like that, but they do very little to help a little child understand the love of God. Hymns are a great foundational compilation of songs, and you can introduce your kids to classic hymns with Hymns by Cedarmont Kids.
- Do the songs talk about the unconditional love of God? In addition to singing to Jesus and rejoicing in the work He accomplished on the cross, kids Christian songs should also focus on the unconditional love of God. By unconditional, it means that His love is not dependent on a child’s behavior. Many parents are too preoccupied with reward and punishment systems that they also incorporate that into the way they believe, mistakenly, God deals with their children. They portray a God who smiles when the kids do well and who frowns when they fail. While this may temporarily give a solution, with kids who behave the way you want them to out of fear, it does not really establish a good foundation for your children to view God as the God who loves them unconditionally. Awesome God by Songs 4 Worship Kids is a good example of an album that will help your kids in this area.
- Do the songs allow the child to talk to God directly? There are kids Christian songs that talk about God, while there are those that talk to God. While you may use songs to instil spiritual truths to your children, they will also benefit even more from songs that allow them to dialogue with God. For example, you can get them involved in corporate or family worship by getting them a kid version of popular worship songs, like the Worship Together Here I Am to Worship for Kids album.
When you get these foundations laid for your kids, you can see how kids Christian songs can actually help in facilitating their growth as young, but definitely full-packed, Christians. Indeed, children are in no way some junior form of Christians with what we think is just a junior version of the Holy Spirit; instead, the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living in them just as He lives in us! When we understand this truth deep down, we become more conscious about the exploits that our children, young as they are, can actually do. In addition, realizing that children have the same access to God as we do gives us the confidence to teach them to pray and intercede, which also imparts to them the same confidence to come boldly to Jesus with whatever they need, expecting that He will hear them and answer them. This lays very important groundwork for Christians who grow up confident in His love and faithfulness and not in human zeal!