Friday, January 21, 2011

My Notes

noun, verb
1. a meeting for consultation or discussion.
2. the act of conferring or consulting together; consultation, esp. on an important or serious matter.

I've been to marriage conferences, worship leader conferences, MOPS conferences, parenting conferences, writer's conferences, preschool education conferences, women's conferences. And now, I can add "children's worship conference" to the list of merriment.

I am a conference NERD. It's one of my favorite places to be. Vast amounts of information set to a schedule in climate controlled, neat & tidy rooms filled with polite, yet enthusiastic, like-minded people...wowwie wow wow.

Now I'm sitting in the hotel with a cup of decaf "fixin" to post a blog:)


(the following is a speedy version of my notes from today's sessions...please don't feel obligated to read any further...I just want to document it, and this is more fun than emailing myself:)

I attended "The Multi Grade Choir" presented by Angela Irby. She is the Music Associate at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson. She coordinates choirs for over 150 kids. She had a great attitude and spirit for touching the lives of the next generation of worshippers.

She encouraged us to think "smarter" not "harder" work to grow...with an emphasis on worship. She showed a GO FISH video - that is a personal favorite in the Johnson living room; and suggested "Modern Kid's Worship" - the collection MP3 is working on for our Spring Concert. So...not a lot of help there, but major confirmation that I'm not completely off base.

She reminded us that
*Worship is a way for kids to pray.
**God commands all to praise and worship Him.
***Worship is a personal gift kids can give to God.
****Worship is a way to experience God.
*****Worship can touch the heart.

She told us to "keep it moving" when it came to the pace of rehearsals, and gave some practical ideas for using games and finding volunteers. She suggested using a punch card for incentives. The child gets his card punched for attendance, promptness, scripture memory, quiz questions, etc. They must get their card completely punched in order to attend the end of year party for free.

She also told us about something new she is trying this year: a broad emphasis on "worship arts" - learning the ART of worship. We are to consider tapping into the children's interests like photography, dance, set & prop design, drama, song writing, black light movement, and audio/visual media.

Next, I attended "Using Diverse Arts in Children's Ministry" with Nan & Dennis Allen. This friendly couple has co-created several children's musicals - one of which MP3 presented last month. It was a kick to be within a few feet of the folks who composed and arranged the music that's been in my heart and on my mind for months.

He began by explaining that music IS his life. He is the pianist/assoc music minister at his church. He composes/arranges/conducts for a living and for the love of it. Then he paused and said, "But I am NOT a singer." (long pause) He continued, "We need to get away from the notion that we are leading children's are touching the lives of future worship leaders and they may NOT be merely singers."

He supported his position by stating "the Bible says,the angels SAID 'Glory to God in the highest'--no where does it say they SANG!"

He listed & showed examples of...

hand bells
charcoal sketching
dowel rod choreography
black light movements
stomp rhythm/dance
boom whackers - **note to google that one:) possible areas of exploration and learning. He encouraged us to get to know our kids and customize our ministry to expose and enhance the gifts that God has already given think OUTSIDE the box in order to nurture a love for God and a natural enjoyment of worshipping Him.

Tonight, the children's choirs of the host church presented a premier of a musical entitled "That's So Daniel". I must say. They did a good job. From what I gather they had very few rehearsals, and with that in mind, I rate it "pretty good". I guess I just assumed that with a kajillion people in the congregation and 75 kids in the choir, it would be "amazing". Not so. I figured with 75 kids, the soloists would be fantastic. Nope. Just good.

Biggest disappointment was the sound. Some mics were not on. They fed back. Levels were up for the wrong soloist. I wouldn't have such high expectations, except that the director made an enormous deal about how tonight's performance was being recorded and would be put on the web for other churches to view as an example. I'm thinking they have seriously reconsidered that idea.

What was good about it? One song included a boys' rap choreography ensemble: VERY cool. The guy who played DANIEL was hilar! He is a natural, and absolutely kept the show going....due in part to the fact that his headset had no apparent malfunctions while EVERY other voice amplification device DID!

Ok, we're speaking blessings, here...the kids smiled and they seemed to enjoy the project. Stage was simple and great! I noticed that spot lights were an integral part of the staging since half the lines happened center stage in present day, while the other half are elevated stage right in Biblical era. The drama itself was very funny. The songs were good...what I could HEAR OF THEM. (I'll stop.)

Thank You, God, for bringing me here this weekend. Thank You for planting seeds of truth in my heart and sending wise and experienced friends to nurture and encourage my efforts. You are the ONE TRUE GOD and You ALONE deserve our praise. Help me bring along and disciple and serve and lead MANY young worshippers. Help me know them. Help me make each one feel KNOWN and encouraged and strengthened in the gifts You've given them. I love You!