In January my senior pastor asked me to put together a corny-every-kid-involved-old-fashioned-children’s-nativity-event for the next Family Christmas Eve service some 11 months away.  I began praying about the ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘how’,‘what’ and ‘when’. I wanted to offer a way to build such an event with more than singing because not everyone likes to sing.  Last spring a team of the best children’s ministry champions in all of North Georgia gathered around my kitchen table for the annual KidMin Ninja Think Tank. Think an ‘un-conference’ where we share table-life with ideas, food, books, prayers, life, and lots of laughter. My dear friend Katie Atcheson spoke about the updated choir program offered at Grayson UMC on Sunday mornings she calls a Glee Club . A couple of phone calls later, continued prayers, talking about it around every table where I sat for months, several creative leaders stepping forward to champion, a couple of leadership meetings through the summer, and McEachern Kids Glee Club was born. We started with a 30-minute Open House with parents and kids. Almost 70 students attended the Open House and their parents.

The word GLEE means exultant high-spirited joy; great delight. It’s a perfect name for teaching little people with intentionality to praise the Lord in song, dance, body prayers, percussion, drama, art, and sign language. We meet for 45 minutes before youth group on most Wednesday nights so our youth choir can serve and build relationships with the kids headed their way. Calling it a ‘club’ provides a sense of belonging.

5:45-5:50 Gather & greet
5:50-6:00 All gather in large group to learn sign language which we all present as one of the Psalms are read with echo prayer in pairs ‘knee-to-knee’
6:00-6:30 3-5 year olds make bell bracelets, angel halos, song motions, and play musical games
1st-5th grades gather in cup circles, drum circles, learn sign language to praise songs, and whatever else helps us praise the Lord with high-spirited joy & great delight. Not everyone likes to sing, but we’ve learned everyone likes to beat a bucket with a stick.

Last week a small group led a repeat-after-me-song learned at their Fall Children’s Ministry Retreat. In October we’ll present at the quarterly Administrative Council Meeting and at the Fall Festival in Tshirts that read ‘I (heart) my Glee Club’ with our McEachern Kids logo. We’ve even learned to ‘floss’ in rhythm as an act of worship!

A surprise? Since 45 minutes is too short a time to leave and come back yet too long to just sit and read your phone, eight Moms who typically serve on Sunday mornings in Children’s Ministry are gathering in small group two floors up at the same time. After dropping off their kids, several Dads have also begun gathering in small group in the room right next door to the Moms small group. These small groups are reading a short devotion, in holy conversation, and in prayer while their kids are two floors below in The Treehouse praising the Lord in their sanctuary. We have an attentive Mom, a dedicated Dad, and an amazing middle school young man who serve as buddies to three students with disabilities so those students can participate. Even the kids who have soccer on Wednesday nights are splitting their time evenly because as one Mom put it, “This is her wheelhouse!” Our Ambassadors who have moved up to youth are serving on the set-up and 3-5 year old leadership team. McEachern Kids Glee Club has proven to offer organic, sacred connections and that is something to celebrate with great delight…with GLEE! Do you see me dancing before the Lord? Well, I am!

“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of  His faithful people..” Psalm 149:1