Mighty Sound Kids was established in 1998 however, the story of how this came to be is much longer. Do you like stories? Okay, then here is the story of Jerry Lenz and how he started writing Christian Praise and Worship songs for children.
My journey into children’s music evolved more than it was a plan from the beginning. The first glimpse came when I was the Director of Special Markets at K-tel International in 1983. One of my duties was heading up Arrival Records to release compilations of Contemporary Christian Music in the mainstream music business. We distributed the releases to our major music distributors and retailers. Sparrow Records, Billy Ray Hearn and his son, Bill Hearn handled the distribution in the CCM marketplace. We had a wonderful relationship with them and we were honored to help do our part in their vision. Shortly after we were selling, From The Heart, the first compilation, Bill Hearn sent me a large box of children’s music samples from Sparrow Records. The material from Agapeland was outstanding for children and I enjoyed listening to the recordings. However, K-tel was not interested in distributing them in the mainstream market because K-tel did not have a track record with any children’s music.
Fast forward to 1986. I was a member of Church On The Way in Van Nuys California. 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. (as I recall my language was a bit 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.
Through this work I met the Marketing Manager for CharismaLife, a division of Strang Communications (now, Charisma Media). That relationship would turn into some of my music being published and used in curriculum as well as becoming the Editor for K.I.D.S. Church curriculum in 1993. I continued my work with Strang up until 2000. We had done a terrific job of publishing curriculum that really, really worked (to borrow a K-tel line) and I found myself speaking at training conferences all over the United States and Canada. I even spent a year as the Children’s Pastor at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship to help them build infrastructure and training for workers in children’s ministry as the growth of that church was overwhelming. I was “on loan” from Strang for one year and continued to edit curriculum while fulfilling my duties at TACF. We loved our time in Canada—although, I still think they need to get their own Queen.
Part of my ongoing desire is to develop more Christian children’s music by helping artists in that ministry.
The Mighty Sound Kids project is a selection of the music developed for KIDS Church. It is available online through Amazon, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Play, Rhapsody, and several international online digital distributors as well as videos for church and home use on YouTube.