I have stored up your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
We've all memorized the lyrics to thousands of songs and often when just a few notes of a melody are played we know the name of the song before we've heard a word. People use scripture in many of the Christian songs on the radio but they're usually not direct and they rarely, if ever, add a scripture reference. I recently found some really great songs to help students of all ages memorize scripture!
My favorite is from Seeds Family Worship. These are good for all ages... even high school aged kids will find them pretty cool. There are many discs you can get at Amazon.com and you can find individual songs on iTunes. They are listed by name and scripture reference. Here's a good example from YouTube.
Another is the Hide the Word Series by Mark Altrogge. The songs are great but aren't quite as edgy as the songs by Seeds Family Worship seem to be. There are over 190 different scriptures set to music on 10 different discs. They can be found at Amazon.com as well and are listed by scripture reference on each album. (I couldn't find a sample on YouTube.)
The other that I liked are Hide 'Em in Your Heart by Steve Green but they are definitely for younger kids and while I love the songs, the scripture references aren't incorporated into them. They're given apart from the melody which will make it harder for kids to remember them.
How To Use Them
So, now that you have all these great songs, how can they be used?
- Pick a song for the Week (or month) and play it as much as possible on Sundays and Wednesdays (if you have a Wednesday education program).
- Sunday School Opening - Most churches have a short opening program where all the kids get together, pray, take offering, and sing a few songs. What a perfect time to introduce the memory verse/song of the week (or month)!
- Mood Setter - If you don't have a Sunday School opening try a Mood Setter. It's an intentional activity that sets the tone for the class. Having a song chosen and playing as the kids enter the classroom is a good way to set the mood and it will remain with them. Be sure to sing it with them at least once before you turn it off.
- During Work Time - When kids are working on an art project, coloring, or doing some busywork is also a good time to play these songs, especially if there's one you want them to focus on that day. Don't play music during any time when you want the kids to think or process as that will slow down their ability to focus on the task or discussion at hand.
- As They Leave - When parents come to pick students up or as they hang around with their friends chatting after class put the music back on. They'll leave the room singing it!
- Follow Up Next Week - If you want something in long-term memory you need to play it for more than one day so make sure you play scripture songs they've been learning on Wednesdays or during Sunday School openings.
- Tell Parents - Be sure to tell the parents of younger kids where they can find the CD's to play them in the car or at home.
- Tell Youth - they can download many of these songs from Amazon.com or iTunes.