What's going on with Maynard's Groovy Bible Tunes, from day to day...
Watching reports pop up of “great children’s song…” from Facebook and Twitter, it seems that 'sound' parents want their kids only to sing Bible verses set to music. That is, actual Bible verses (ESV or NIV) squeezed onto notes.
Funny thing is, we don’t demand the same for ourselves. We sing “Amazing Grace” with gusto, and “10,000 reasons” from our hearts.
Now I’m not saying that your 5-7 year olds should be singing 10,000 reasons in Sunday Club – but what should they be singing?
First of all, they can sing Bible verses set to music. That’s a great thing to do, and a good way for them to learn God’s Word and get it into their hearts and minds. There are two drawbacks with this is. On the one hand not all Bible verses were written to be songs: they don’t all rhyme, or have a rhythm to them that works in 4/4 or 3/4 (or 7/8 even). So when some of them are turned into songs, the songs are, well, let’s face it, not that great. On the other hand, a verse you want your children to learn may not have been made into a song. There’s an opportunity for a little creativity there of course…
As well as Bible verses set to music, children can sing … children’s Bible songs! By that I mean songs that are based on Bible verses and passages and events and ideas. A bit like, um, Amazing Grace or 10,000 reasons (and a thousand other hymns and songs). Here’s the thing: God has given his people creativity to take his Word and turn it into song by making poetry out of the meaning, and fitting melody to it.
You see something of that when Paul urged the Colossians: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16, NIV) Not just psalms, but psalms, hymns and songs! There’s evidence of some Spirit led creativity there, helping the word of Christ to dwell in them richly.
Children’s Bible songs can do exactly that: help Children to have God’s word at work in them, richly – and that is wonderful.
Here are some things to watch out for, so you get good songs to sing:
(These are the kind of things I’m trying to do with my songs. I don’t always get it right, and public opinion varies even on the most popular ones!)
They don’t! They can, but other Christian kids' songs are great too. Great for helping our children to have God's Word dwelling richly in their hearts.