Martin is a fourth grader who would rather be playing sports or video games than do memorization work for school. Every Sunday evening, though, he is challenged by the children’s choir directors at his church to do another kind of memorization.
He and scores of other children, ages 3 through fifth grade, are working to memorize Christian hymns; to learn them by heart, as the saying goes.
Angela Lee, children’s choir program director at Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, introduced the focus upon hymns just a few years back. The program has grown and developed since being established, with hundreds of children having gone through the program over the last seven years.
Each week, the children learn classic hymns like “Amazing Grace.” If they sing them by memory to their choir instructor, they receive a package of M&M candy—or “Hymn & M’s” as they are called.
On Sunday, May 5, their hard word was put on display after months of training and learning hymns with a musical drama called “Fruit of the Spirit,” wherein the children sang songs about “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” At the conclusion of the program, each of the children receive a recognition if they had memorized at least one hymn.
“For some of our fifth grade students, who have been part of this for several years, they have memorized 35 different hymns,” said Lee. “It’s truly amazing what the Lord enables these children to do, as they worship Him.”
The fifth graders who graduate from the program received a hard-bound Baptist hymnal as a gift. “We hope these hymns will stay with these children well into the future,” Lee added.
James Bradford, music minister at Quail Springs, applauded the work. “At Quail Springs, we offer various musical styles of worship, from modern praise band to choirs. It is a special joy to see this new generation of children learning the time-honored classic hymns,” he said.
Lee and Bradford attribute the success of the program to the dedicated group of choir leaders and teachers, and they give all glory to God.
With God’s help, more young people like Martin will carry with them the powerful messages of hymns for many years to come.
For more information about the Quail Springs children’s choir program, visit www.qsbc.org or find the QSBC’s Children’s Choirs Facebook page.