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Teaching Children to Sing Hymns in a Church Service

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Teaching Children to Sing Hymns in a Church Service

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Growing up, my parents were excellent role models in developing an appreciation for music in all their children. Mother played the piano, and several sisters also learned to play. At home we would sing hymns learned in the churches we attended at the time. On special occasions when close friends would visit us for a meal, we would sing together songs with beautiful melodies. Singing in this manner helped to bring us closer together as family and friends. As I grew older, this special appreciation for singing motivated me to participate in choirs at school, in the youth and adult choirs of the church, and to earn a degree in music from a university in the Los Angeles area. I am grateful for the loving examples provided by my mother and father. As excellent role models they helped to motivate me in developing my own musical talents.

Have you ever thought seriously of why we sing hymns in a church service? The “song service” helps us draw closer to our loving Creator God in four important ways.

First, it helps unify us as the Body of Christ. In Ephesians 5:18-21 Paul comments on some characteristics of people who are filled with the spirit of God that will produce unity of the spirit:

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

Secondly, singing is a reverent and personal way of praising God—if we put our hearts into it! The apostle Paul made reference to this in Colossians 3:16:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Notice that Paul emphasizes the importance of singing hymns and spiritual songs from our hearts to God. What is pleasing to God is how we sing the hymns. Having a beautiful voice is not what is essential. Singing from the heart with love toward our wonderful creator God is what is vital and critical. We can be certain that God created music, which includes singing, for a definite purpose. When we sing hymns as a congregation in a church service, we are actually singing directly to God and Jesus Christ, who love us. We are a part of Their family and are communicating with Them through our singing. They are the listeners. They hear our voices and our sincerity as we sing. They observe our desire to please Them.

Usually at the beginning of our Sabbath services, after the sermonette and after the sermon, there is congregational singing. These periods of singing during the worship service are just that: acts of worship. Psalm 33:1-3 emphasizes the third use of music in worshiping and praising God during a service.

“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.”

Notice the positive words that are in this scripture: Rejoice! Praise! Sing! Joy! Psalm 100:1-3 also describes the importance of praising God in a joyful and glad manner through singing. When we sing, we are actually presenting ourselves before God in love:

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing.Know that the Lord, He is God; [It is] He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

This scripture clearly explains that the singing of hymns is an important part of worshiping God during a Sabbath service. The words in the hymns include praising and thanking God for His love toward us, teaching us how we should live, focusing on the future and asking for God’s help and guidance as we live each day. Hymns are based on Bible scriptures that can help singers appreciate the valuable and spiritual concepts described in the hymns.

Finally, the singing of hymns helps us to express our love to God on a personal level. We are actually communicating with Him. Every hymn has meaningful scriptures from God’s Word and spiritually applicable concepts for each individual. God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior and High Priest love each one of us and know who is singing from the heart, and They will provide the inspiration needed to understand the words in the hymn.

Children Singing in the Weekly Sabbath Service

A key scripture in Proverbs is very clear and true, and it can be applied in teaching our children a key concept in worshiping God by expressing their love to Him through the singing of hymns during a church service. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

With all the spiritual benefits described above, shouldn’t we train our children in the worshipful act of singing? Shouldn’t we be including our children in the opportunities to draw nearer to God that singing during the worship service affords? All youth, regardless of age, should learn to enjoy and participate in the congregational singing during a church service. They should be taught that they are actually expressing their love toward God when singing and will be blessed by Him for their obedience.

Children’s choirs can be an extension of the Christian education of children. Christian character can be developed through participation in children’s and youth choir programs. Parents can be encouraged to convey their love, both to their children and to God, by serving in the local church children’s choir program.

Suggestions for Teaching Children to Sing Hymns in a Church Service

Children can be taught to understand that the singing of hymns by all people attending a church service is a way of expressing love to God, and is an important part of worshiping God.

Parents can practice singing hymns with their children at home and then set an example of love by singing the hymns with them during the weekly Sabbath service.

Song leaders could devote at least one hymn during the Sabbath service that would be easy for children to sing with the congregation.

Developing children’s choirs should be emphasized in congregations by giving the choirs opportunities and encouragement to sing for special music presentations during church services. Singing easy hymns from the church hymnal is an excellent way to begin. Asking a few adults to sing with the children should help ease the fear of singing in front of the congregation. The congregation always appreciates and is delighted to listen to the singing voices of children.

A key component of the education of our children should be the clear teaching that the singing of the hymns in our Sabbath services is a very important part of the service and vital to the true worship of God. God is well pleased when children express their love by singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to Him.  

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  • Chad Johnson

    By having children participate in the singing of hymns, we instill in them the feeling of belonging to and being apart of the church service.

  • Amanda Boyer

    I believe this is a wonderful idea to start teaching children the hymns! When I was growing up, I was rather shy and didn't want to sing. I feel that half of the reason why I didn't want to sing was because I simply didn't know how to read the lines. As I grew older, I have grown a deep love for music and I believe it is an EXTREMELY important aspect of praising God! Especially when we see how large the book of Psalms is. Singing also brings us together and is a unique way God has provided for us to be unified--in voice!

  • Katherine Rowland

    I have read in various places over the years that merely setting ideas to music and rhyme makes them more memorable. Indeed, there are certain sections of scripture that always resonate in a special way because I first committed them to memory as song lyrics. When we model thoughtful and enthusiastic participation in song service, we demonstrate that the word of God is important, whether we are listening to it, singing it, or thanking God for His love and care.

  • janleigh73

    I totally agree with teaching the children to sing hymns. It teaches and allows them to participate in the service. Growing up, we sang a lot and I learned the hymns in the purple song book by heart. Today, those songs help me in stressful times. Knowing the words helps to comfort me. In happy times, they are joyful to sing. Words set to music help a person remember them better, thus getting God's holy word written in our hearts.

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