A friend posed a question on facebook about children's worship music: should it primarily be singable, memorable or theologically deep? Obviously all THREE is best option, right? What music is there out there that fits the bill? Here are some I like -- and I'm sure there are more!
1. Emu Kids music from Australia. Our children's minister gave these CDs to me and Susie as a Christmas gift this year, and I've really enjoyed them. I left "Very Very Very Big God" in Illinois for my niece Mercedes to listen to, and yup. . . she's addicted. She and my dad are ALWAYS singing the songs from that CD! I'd give these a 10 for singability, 10 for memorability and 7 for theological depth (they are perfect for preschoolers). J is for Jesus is my personal favorite.
2. Sovereign Grace Music for kids. Thus far, there are 2 albums just for kids by Sovereign Grace, and understandably, they score a whopping 10 on the theologically deep scale! There are songs on the Trinity, God's Sovereignty, his holiness . . . it really goes beyond the typical kid music. Now, each song differs a bit on the singability/memorability level . . . but I'd say they easily get 6-8. These songs are RICH. . . excellent for the whole family, and NICE and upbeat!! Emu kids is preschool focused, I'd say "Awesome God" by SG is more like tweens. Take a listen on their website!
3. Praise Factory Music by Connie Dever and co. ALERT! WE'RE TALKIN' FREE!!! Everything Connie has put up online is free for educational purposes, so help yourself. WHAT a blessing and a ministry!! These score a 9 on all criteria. She has done an excellent job writing 150 scripture memory songs and "big idea" songs -- here's what Connie herself says about them: "I think you will find the songs useful and enjoyable--though humble--for use with the curriculum and with families at home."
4. "Songs Jesus Said" by the Gettys. Don't let the cover fool you -- these songs are pretty conservative and fairly simple. They are mainly songs about Jesus' life as recorded in the New Testament, thus the title "Songs Jesus Said". Carl Stam (my church's beloved music pastor) says, “Kristyn’s Songs that Jesus Said are amazing.” I'd personally give them an 8 for singability, 7 for memorability and 10 for theological depth.
5. Michael Card's Lullaby CDs: "Sleep Sound in Jesus" and "Come to the Cradle". I have put my daughter to bed every single night listening to these precious, precious songs. I love how Michael Card freely expresses the entire range of human experience in his music, and these lullabies are like that. If you can snag the book that goes with the "Sleep Sound in Jesus" I'd say get it!!! Those lyrics and devotions were just honey to my soul when Susie was brand new, and I am frequently encouraged or comforted when I hear them playing in her room. You don't often find beautiful rich songs about tears, or rest, but are those NOT a part of each and every day in the life of a baby (and the baby's parents)? One of my faves has a line that says "so goodnight my forever friend", that just brings tears every time I hear it. I'd rank these with a 10 for depth, an 8 for singability (the tunes are super memorable), but just a 5 for memorability (for the LYRICS). Some are obvious, but there are quite a few lines that just slip by.
I have Steve Green's "Hide 'Em in Your Heart" for Susie, too, but we haven't had a chance to listen to it too much, so I couldn't really rank them yet -- but it seems pretty good! Please feel free to post your favorites in the comments.