We Wondered why Vietnam was viewing Mighty Sound Kids videos

June 2016 has been a landmark month for Mighty Sound Kids, especially with over 20,000 views of the MSK videos on YouTube. However, there is a bigger story behind the numbers.

Mighty Sound Kids videos in Vietnam

Mighty Sound Kids videos in Vietnam

When we examined the analytics supplied by YouTube, we were surprised to discover that Vietnam by far was watching the Mighty Sound Kids videos more than any other country. At first, it didn’t make sense. Why? The first clue was the other top countries—Russia and all other former communist bloc countries (Kazakhstan, Georgia, Belarus and Russia). It seems whenever the people are living under oppression or have a history of oppression, God’s love is the answer and His Spirit moves to set people free in Christ.

Our mission is free resources to draw children and families closer to God and in our own small way, we are seeing this happen. We are looking for ministries in these countries to see if we could supply resources that would complement the work they are doing in these nations.

You can find videos on the underground church in Vietnam. Here is just one that we have seen to open our eyes and hearts and to pray for the people of Vietnam:

Jerry Lenz / June 22, 2016 / Mighty Sound Kids / ©2016 Lenz Entertainment Group

Kid’s Church in the Main Sanctuary

Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship 1999

Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship 1999

Have you ever wondered how the early church handled children during the “adult” worship service? Well, chances are good that you’ve read the text; “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.” The early church included all members of the family and I can picture mom’s holding a crying baby and walking away from those gathered to attend to the young child.

During my years (1993-2000) as KIDS Church editor for CharismaLife / Strang (now Charisma Media) I was a big proponent of holding KIDS Church services with the adults in the main sanctuary. And I was able to accomplish this as I traveled for CharismaLife to conduct children’s ministry conferences, normally on a Saturday, and then holding a service at the host church. In May of 1997 to May of 1998, Strang allowed me to be “on loan” to the Toronto Christian Fellowship (now Catch The Fire ministries). You may have heard of the “Toronto Blessing” during these years. My purpose in being the temporary children’s pastor at TACF was to build the infrastructure to handle the explosive growth of the congregation.

ARNOTTSThe ministry at the heart of the Toronto Blessing were the lead pastors, John and Carol Arnott. What a privilege for me to serve with these wonderful, loving people. Our family was blessed with one incredible year in Canada and much was accomplished because the leadership at TACF was receptive to family style worship and wanted to establish a more welcoming building to express how they felt about children.

When I would speak on this subject I would often ask the question, “why is the church content to have a swing out back for the kids at a time when McDonald’s is featuring play places in front of their restaurants?” This struck a chord with the TACF leadership as they began remolding their sanctuary in 1998. They were committed to have a sanctuary that demonstrated their commitment to let the little ones come. The design team was told to get my input and they went way beyond my suggestions, designing one of the most kid welcoming church auditoriums ever. The remodeling was not completed until after my family was back in Florida but they did share photos with me and it was exciting to see this all come to pass.

Please do not be offended if your church has a swing out back because I really do like them–and enjoyed many as a kid. The point is being able to hold worship in a more family style gathering, at least from time to time. Something to think about in our current culture is that it is harder for a predator to pull a child away from a large family setting than an understaffed classroom. The verse at the beginning of this article continues: “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Storybook or Video? Choose Wisely     

 

Storytelling to your children and grandchildren

Storytelling to your children and grandchildren

One of the best memories of childhood is our parents reading to us from a storybook. Even in our ever-increasing world of technology, nothing can equal all that happens to us when someone is personally reading a story to us. Allow me to repeat, NOTHING can equal the experience and all that is going on inside of us, mind, body and soul.

A fond memory of mine is my grandmother, Cora Lenz, visiting us and when it was naptime for me she chose to read the Bible. I was laying on my parent’s bed and I can remember feeling the texture of the bedspread. Then grandma started showing me pictures in the Bible (think 1950s version with a few pages of full color paintings of Jesus’ ministry). She didn’t read me scripture, she told the story from her heart as she knew the Bible well. Not surprisingly she was a Sunday school teacher.

In 1993 when I became the editor for KIDS Church, I discovered that the most useful tool in the curriculum we were producing was the Today’s Life Story segments. We supplied churches with overhead transparencies and 35mm slides to display the pictures. We included a script but emphasized the importance of “owning” the story and telling it from the heart rather than reading the script. The Today’s Life Stories supported the Bible lesson and the drawings we created were cartoon characters. We weave the story making Bible application for the kids to live out the lesson. By the way, it sure would have been easier with PowerPoint in 1993.

Later in the KIDS Church development we “modernized” and made some Today’s Life Stories in video format. It fell flat and failed and I saw it first-hand. Observing the kids watching the video segment told me the story. They disengaged. They were restless. The reason is simple. Video cannot and will not ever replace good storytelling from the heart of a gifted teacher.

Joel 1: 3 Tell your children about these things. And let your children tell their children.  And let your grandchildren tell their children. (ICB)

Storybooks and storytelling from the heart will best serve the needs of our children and their children and for all generations to come. Go fire up the gift inside you and tell a story.

©2016 Jerry Lenz / Mighty Sound Kids / Lenz Entertainment Group

The Three R’s…Renewal, Revival and Reality

In 1998, after serving as the Children’s Pastor at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (see “Toronto Blessing”), Children’s Ministry Magazine asked me to write about what I experienced. Here is a reprint of the article. Jerry Lenz

Jerry Lenz - Mighty Sound Kids

Jerry Lenz – Mighty Sound Kids

Is there more to God than we’ve experienced? Most Christians
who’ve attained any sense of maturity in their walk with Christ
have at least wondered if they could experience more of God. And
most of us would pray, “If there is more, God, then I want more.”
But something deep within us that craves the genuine article also
adds, “But it has to really be you, God. I don’t want anything
unless it’s really from you.”

 

We do hunger for more, because God created us to want more. And I
believe the same hunger exists in children’s hearts. Given the
opportunity to be exposed to more of the living God, kids seek even
more of God with an unquenchable thirst. Still again–and
understandably so–since we have a shepherding role in kids’ lives,
we say, “It has to really be you, God.”

DO YOU WANT MORE?
When you hear the words “renewal,” “revival,” and “reality,” you
may react in one of two ways. Maybe two of the r-words “renewal
and revival — excite you. Or your reaction may be far less
enthusiastic. In either case, let me give you a fourth r-word —
“relax.”

In Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water, he writes
that “God is drawing many streams [of spiritual experience — such
as Orthodoxy and charismatic Christianity] together that heretofore
have been separated from one another. It is a little like the
Mississippi River, which gains strength and volume as the Ohio and
the Missouri and many other rivers flow into it. So in our day God
is bringing together a mighty ‘Mississippi of the Spirit.’ ”

My purpose in this article isn’t to divide the waters but rather
to help draw the different streams together. Regardless of our
denominational ties, God is creating a yearning in us for more-and
how we experience that more doesn’t need to be doled out in
cookie-cutter fashion. God has a multitude of ways of giving
himself to sincere hearts that seek him. So relax in the goodness
of a loving and personal God.

 

WHAT IS RENEWAL?
The best definition I can offer is this: Renewal is experiencing
God’s love. It sounds simplistic, yet within that statement there’s
so much more. You can read “God is love” in 1 John 4:8, believe it,
and know in your heart that it’s true. Yet you still haven’t
plumbed the heights and depths and breadth and width of that love.
All of us can go further to experience God’s love for us — and
never reach its ending point.

Personally I’m not content to settle for believing a sentence when
I know God is waiting to shower volumes of his love on me. Yet I
also understand why many people shy away from something that
appears to be emotional human excess. And for those I offer this
advice: You don’t have to use a specific method to receive what God
wants to pour into you. Just as God has uniquely created you, he’s
able to draw you in and shower his love on you in a unique way.
After God is through drenching you with his love, he wants to do
the same for the children in your ministry.

REVIVAL DEFINED

Mighty Sound Kids

Mighty Sound Kids

Revival is a sovereign move of God. It’s God’s love, grace, and
mercy poured out on mankind with people responding in multitudes —
and individually. Revival is multitudes of people coming to Christ.
Yet your greatest personal revival is you coming to Christ. Revival
is also Christians “being revived” to more abundant lives. Whenever
and wherever these things are taking place, revival is taking
place.

 

Revival can be massive. In the early part of this century, a
limited number of revivals took place that were so large they
required extra police to handle the traffic. In one account, I read
that the U.S. Marines had to facilitate the crowds attracted to
outdoor meetings.

As grand as that may sound, revival is also taking place whenever
children share Christ in their school lunchrooms. Revival takes
place when high school youth gather around the flag to pray-drawing
others to Christ. These kids are being who God created them to be
and doing what God has asked them to do. That’s revival with a
touch of reality!

NEXT STOP: REALITY
Personally I’ve experienced renewal and revival — times when the
spirit of God was so present that I thought I’d never want to
leave. But the truth is: I’d rather dwell in reality-that place
where we become the people God has asked us to be and do what he
has asked us to do. That’s reality!

God brings different seasons — such as renewal and revival — to
awaken us and draw us back to him for his greater purposes. In
other words, I sincerely believe that God sends us times of renewal
and revival to move us into HIS reality. If the experience of a renewal
or revival doesn’t move people toward reality, it’s nothing more
than an experience.

In his new book The River of God, Dutch Sheets writes, “As humans,
we thrive on and crave experiences. We want to see and feel. In
this pursuit, we are driven to endless activities and surface
relationships. Our pursuit of God can deteriorate into the pursuit
of one spiritual high after another. God is often lost in our
search for God! ”

We have to dwell in the land of reality.

THREE R’S FOR CHILDREN
Can children experience renewal, revival, and reality?
Absolutely!

In a children’s renewal service, children are transformed. Some
kids who are tagging along on their parents’ salvation suddenly
realize their deep personal need for Christ. Some who’ve once
prayed a prescribed prayer have never truly committed their entire
life to Christ. Yet in renewal the spirit of God draws them in.
They feel a deep compelling love inviting them — a peace and need
to surrender comes over them, and they want to follow Jesus.

During one children’s renewal service, 8-year-old Leah came
forward to talk to me. I was playing the keyboard and speaking
simple words of encouragement to the kids. Leah knew this was her
time to invite Jesus into her life. It was real. Leah then moved
from praying for personal salvation to praying for other
kids.

When kids step out in renewal and pray for others, they’re amazed.
They’re touched and convinced of being at the center of what God
wants to do. Jason is now a teenager, but two years ago as a sixth
grader, he moved into something he felt was beyond him as he
allowed God to minister to others through him. I’ll never forget
Jason yelling over and over, “God used me!” Jason experienced
renewal and moved to revival. He couldn’t get over the fact that
God really used him. It created a new hunger in Jason.

Tyler, now a teenager, came to Christ as a child. He was highly
intelligent, yet deeply withdrawn. He would dress only in dark
clothes. He dangled on the edge of evil, but God drew him in and
then his family followed. And his family still marvels at Tyler’s
leadership in following Christ. They were overwhelmed with Tyler’s
transformation.

As a junior camp counselor, Tyler broke out of his dark wardrobe.
His leadership with kids is awesome; he’s one of the best young
leaders I know. Kids listen to him. They’re drawn to him and open
to having him pray for them. He has traveled with children’s
ministry leaders to minister to kids in churches, parks, and on the
streets. Does this sound like revival? It is.

Far too often we limit God’s work in children. We want to
predetermine “how much of God” they’re ready for. As children’s
ministry leaders and workers, we like to think we’re
pro-kids-in-ministry. “Our kids can do anything” speeches are
filled with talk about allowing children their proper place within
the church.

Yet most of us still want to be in control when it comes to kids
drawing closer to God. We don’t want anything weird or unruly
happening with kids.

We may think we’re the experts on children’s spiritual
development-but there’s only one expert in the field and he’s the
Good Shepherd. Is it possible that we stand in the way of the very
things we want for our kids? I have. And I’ve seen others stand in
the way also. “Being in the way” is born of good intentions. Yet
these good intentions can keep children from traveling through
renewal and revival to arrive at reality.

A Milestone of Thanksgiving to God

MSK/Jerry Lenz/June 9 2016
Mighty Sound Kids - June 9 2016

Mighty Sound Kids – June 9 2016

The Old Testament practice of using stones of remembrance can be found in Joshua 4. Today we tend to use the term milestone as a progress marker on a journey. The bottom line is that is good to remember and retell to our children about the good things that the Lord has done in our lives. Today is a milestone day for Mighty Sound Kids that we want to share with you. Let it encourage you to remember and retell what God has done for you.

 

I was awaiting the latest YouTube video stats today (6/9/16) because I was confident that we would hit the 1,000 views milestone for Might Sound Kids. It wasn’t a stretch of faith because yesterday we were at 992. Well, imagine how it felt to see today’s total: 1,304

 

Late in 2014 I sensed a stirring to relaunch my children’s music digitally. I owned my masters from releasing a CD in 1998-99. Sold quite a few CDs and then left it alone. It was never about “making money.” When you sense God working through you to write children’s music it is far more about the mission rather than making a living.

 

Anyway I secured an independent digital distribution agreement and the Mighty Sound Kids started popping up in all sorts of places like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and several other sources all over the globe. iHeartRadio even picked it up and created a Mighty Sound Kids station.

 

Last fall I realized that it would be a good idea to create videos so churches and parents would have a resource to use in teaching the songs. I finished the first one around Thanksgiving 2015 and finished all ten by March of 2016. It started slow, but I could see that people were sharing the videos. In late April, Might Sound Kids had 500 views and the thing is snowballing now.

 

We like “likes,” and we like counting our numbers. However, at the end of the day it is about a mission to bring children’s music to a multitude for free. Our hope is that the songs would not only plant seeds, but change lives by pointing families to God. May His Peace and His presence take this mission forward for His Glory.

Honoring Pat and Len Royer

finding gold in california
Pat and Len Royer

Pat and Len Royer

My first encounter with Pat and Len Royer came in 1986. I was a member of Church On The Way in Van Nuys California and they put out a call for volunteers to help in Sunday School and I felt drawn to serve. By the way, in doing this it was a huge healing for me as I experienced a divorce and my children were living on the other side of the country (thankfully we live in the same state today–insert smiley face).

I elected to help in the preschool area, mainly out of my lack of knowledge of the Bible and figured that I could learn with them. I did. And, it was the perfect setting for me as I worked with Kindergarten children—what an amazing age, because they can do everything. After excellent training by Pat Royer and her staff, I was assigned on a teaching team with two other adults. By the way, Pat and Len Royer became my mentors and lifelong friends. The lead teacher on my team handed me a cassette of music as I had explained that I could help with that. I took the cassette home and played it…ugh! “This won’t do with today’s kids,” I said out loud (my exact language may have been more colorful).

I had a tiny, portable Casio keyboard (still have it) and I sat down and started writing songs. One or two to begin with…and the songs just kept coming. The small group in my class loved the songs and my ministry grew. I cannot begin to describe how excited I was working on songs for my “kids.” Pat Royer took interest in my music and decided to bring all the classes into a multipurpose room to have praise and worship for all the kids at one time. That grew and brought more songwriters into the mix and it continued to grow. By 1989 I was on staff at The Church On The Way serving as a ministry assistant in Children’s Ministry. It involved music at all levels, nursery, preschool and elementary.

Pat and Len Royer held monthly leadership gatherings for the department leaders to pray with and bless them team. The fellowship and true mentoring was beyond anything I could hope for. We saw and experienced miracles and healings. Additionally, for me, Len was my sounding board. I could go to him with anything. His wisdom of God’s ways, coupled with life experiences and love was healing for my heart. Young men working in children’s ministry were drawn to him and his gentle hand and mentoring heart would touch many lives for Christ.

I could share many testimonies of how the Lord used Pat and Len to be the hands and heart of Jesus for me. Pat and Len love the Lord, they love each other deeply and their ministry continues to travel the globe for Christ.

Parent-Teacher Resource for the song I Will Sing My Praise to The Lord

We’ve completed the parent and teacher resource for the song I Will Sing My Praise to The Lord! You can download a free printable Parent-Teacher Resource Guide copy on our website, MightySoundKidsDotCom

Key Point: When we grow in daily praise and worship to God, It changes us. And, as we grow in His Love we become who He created us to be.

 This is a fun song to sing with its island feel and kids enjoy the rhythmic Hal Le Lu Jah. Take the opportunity to explain the song and help the children to make life applications.