Worship at Joyful Noise
Have you ever wondered why we have a kids’ music program at ECC? Of all the things we could have offered for kids to do while their siblings are at youth group, why music?
It’s not because we have a lot of homeschooling families who want a musical experience for their kids, or because having kids lead worship encourages the congregation (although those are good reasons). It’s because music is important in the life of our church.
We believe that music in the church is not to be performed by experts while an audience watches: it is for all of us to do together. Our worship director does a wonderful job choosing music with meaningful, God-honoring text that can be sung well by our congregation. Our congregation does a wonderful job singing with all their hearts. Even the babies join in - when a baby cries out at the end of a song, the pitch of the cry is often “in tune” with the song!
We believe that music is the way we use our hearts, minds, and bodies to worship. When it’s done right, singing is intensely physical. It requires giving our breathing, posture, facial expression, thoughts, and emotions to God so that words and melody flow from us in unbroken praise. My goal is to give our kids the skills they need to sing and play well so that they give God their very best.
But it’s not enough to be able to execute music well. I believe our kids need to be equipped to make musical decisions in the context of a worship service. Every year, Joyful Noise leads a worship service. The kids (with minimal guidance) do all the work of choosing the music, arranging the order of worship, rehearsing it, choosing how it should be accompanied, and finally leading the congregation on a Sunday morning. Every decision must be justified on musical and/or spiritual grounds.
This year they will also be making some decisions about the music we sing for special occasions - how should it be accompanied? Which harmony parts should we sing? Should we repeat this section? How will we begin and end? Their creativity glorifies God too. They will make some of these decisions in small groups where everyone’s voice matters. Yes, you heard that right - they’re learning how to be on committees. We are Presbyterians after all.
It’s okay if not every child in our church grows up to sing in the choir, lead worship, or play an instrument. It’s okay if every worship-leading experience isn’t a flawless “performance.” My hope for our children is that they learn how to be a part of the body of Christ by being part of a music ensemble, where individuals with different gifts and roles work together for a common goal. I hope that they love using music to glorify God, and that He receives the most glory possible from their music.