Musical Mention: Only Jesus – Austin Stone Worship

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Fresh from Austin Stone Worship comes their first(?) album for kids.


1. Jesus Forever
2. King of Everything
3. Only Jesus
4. You Made Everything
5. Rescue for My Soul
6. Center My Life
7. I Found a Treasure
8. Tell the World
9. Trust
10. We Are One


Firstly… nailed it on the resources available for each of the songs! Each of the songs has myriad different downloads and info available online. From this page you can click on each song and see just what delights await you! This seems to be standard operating practice for all their music. Love it!

There doesn’t seem to be a lot written about the album itself, but if you dig into the Family Worship Guide you can find a few words written about the project.

From a blog post by Kids Pastor John Murchison its very clear that the goal is to not only create catchy songs but ones that teach theology. These are songs to be discussed and explained as you sing them with kids!

Because one of the main goals of our worship times is to teach our children truth about God, we take great care to make sure that the songs are age-appropriate and theologically accurate, all the way down to the songs we sing for the little ones.

So musically it sits in the middle of guitar rock and dance music. Real sounding drums, guitars, with pulsing synths. A very familiar sound to those who listen to modern worship music. Top notch tracks and mix with pro lead vocals.

There’s a little choir in the mix in certain songs, like King of Everything and Only Jesus, which I know I keep going on about, but it’s important for an album like this with no kids leading the worship songs.

This feels like a serious album for kids, made by adults for kids, which is a strange thing to say but relevant because I think these songs could be sung by adults in ‘big Church’.


I Found A Treasure – This is one of the songs that uses lyrics that I think kids would use and is that sweet spot between a ‘worship’ and a ‘praise’ song with moments for jumping and reflection and some Ooohs 🙂

We Are One – Another worshipful praise song that I think would really help your group of kids identify with the Church and the kids/leaders around them.

Outcome… get yourself over to their resources page and get these songs going in your kids ministry. Oh, an tell them when you use them (twitter/facebook etc. because I know they love to hear where these songs go!


7 things to stop doing now

7 things to stop doing now in your ministry

Some of these things you might be doing because that’s the way it’s always been done at your Church, or you never stepped back and asked “why do we do this?” Blind spots are very real and this list might open your eyes to a few of them or you may disagree completely and continue doing them with renewed vigour and that’s great because at least you will be doing them purposefully.

7. Stop guessing.
Whatever gets measured gets done. If you want an area to grow or develop you have to quantify it.
Years ago we did some digging into our attendance at Church and discovered a few vital statistics.
– 75% of our families come during a three week period.
This caused us to reimagine just what our curriculum looks like. In short we now cover a topic for three weeks at a time which give maximum exposure to as many kids as possible. You can see me talk about this in this video Season 2 Curriculum Promo
So stop guessing and measure it and if it’s something tricky to quantify like discipleship for example, talk with your senior leadership and get wisdom into just how they would measure it.

6. Stop being jealous.
No matter what size or style Church you are everyone gets envious. As a user of multi-purpose rooms I get incredibly jealous of friends in ministry with their own full-time, only kids can use them, just plain showing off, Disney-style, quite frankly unnecessary, I mean who needs a screen that big, now you’re being ostentatious, purpose built, testament to mans arrogance in the face of an all powerful God, but yet still beautiful facilities!
So yeah… Run your own race or whatever.

5. Stop doing it all yourself.
I spoke to a new ministry leader once who had come from a teaching background. We were chatting and she was asking for advice about what to focus on. She mentioned that she was writing the curriculum each week for the Sunday service. I told her that was a terrible idea. If she continues doing that then at the end of a year she will have 52 lessons and no team. But if she realised that if her 52 weeks were filled with team building and volunteer training, then after a year she will have an group of people who can then take on the awesome task of writing their own curriculum.

4. Stop putting your trust in curriculum.
Now don’t get me wrong, you should all be using Hillsong Kids BiG curriculum available at hillsongstore.com, but it’s a tool in your hand not the whole toolbox. Your toolbox is Christ and it’s full of the fruit of the spirit and spiritual gifts of not only you but the team around you. Seriously, curriculum never saved anyone, but it certainly can be used by God to steer someone in the right direction.
Just like graduating university doesn’t guarantee anyone a career, a child completing your take home sheet every week does not a follower of Jesus make.

3. Stop being so serious.
It’s said a lot around our parts… Church is meant to be enjoyed not endured. It’s a paradox but the more intense, stressed and tense you are the worse you communicate. And your job as a kids pastor is basically communication. You’re joining with what God is doing in the lives of kids and families and reinforcing and encouraging them in their relationship with Him.
If kids are having fun they learn better, they relate better, they live better.

2. Stop sending home bits of paper.
Now I will admit that we still do this most weekends. But it’s a lot less than we have in the past and it’s always a supplement, not the main form of communication. You have social media now, you have the amazing tool of group texting for very low cost, you have YouTube and you have volunteers to get the word out. Stop it.

1. Stop taking a break over summer.
What? Your kids ministry stops over the summer and then launches again when school begins? You are not an educational institution. It may be part of what you do, but you are the Church! A family of people doing life together. If you behave like an institution then don’t be surprised when your families treat you like one. This may be normal and accepted in your denomination or network of churches but it shouldn’t be. Take a long look at why you do this and stop being a school and start being the church.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, it means a lot. Would love to hear from you, disagree, tell me I’m awesome, or what ever in the comments below!

I Say Quite a Lot in This Video

So back last year I filmed an interview with the esteemable Luke Harris all about Curriculum and Kids Ministry. Just watched is back recently. I said some good things, you should check it out!

Creative Curriculum Writing (With David Wakerley)

P.S. There is actually a bunch of great resources on this channel that you should watch from some great people in ministry, like Frank Bealer from Elevation Church, Craig Johnson from Lakewood Church and a bunch of Aussies like Andy Kirk, Tammy Tolman and Sean W Smith.

INC Pastoral Resources


Unlikely Heroes – Plus Two More!

Right, so we take a long time to release resources at Hillsong Kids… it usually takes almost a year to finish a 9 week curriculum project. So I am surprised as anyone to see us release THREE at the same time. It’s new release Wednesday!

It’s unheard of, and you should check them all out, especially if you speak Spanish or know someone who does! Because we made a Spanish version of our Crazy Noise Album… that’s right a Spanish album, our first ever!


Let’s count this down, firstly a new BiG Curriculum UNLIKELY HEROES

UH Thumb

Then we have another Curriculum called Listen Up! (It’s a conference edition digital only product)


And maybe most exciting, because it’s a first, Ruido Alegre!

Por primera vez, Hillsong Kids presenta un álbum en español especialmente para niños de edad preescolar y de edad escolar temprana. ¡Ruido Alegre! es un álbum lleno de canciones nuevas geniales para que los más pequeños puedan cantar y adorar a Dios.
El pastor de niños de la Iglesia Hillsong David Wakerley, dice: “Hace mucho tiempo hemos querido crear un álbum para niños de esta edad y estamos muy emocionados con esta producción. ¡Ruido Alegre! está lleno de canciones con las que los más pequeños disfrutarán cantando, bailando y alabando a Dios”.


Much more to share, but wanted to announce before doing anything else!

Comment below, especially if you speak Spanish, would love to hear from you…


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Musical Mention: The Great Adventure – Dan Warlow

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

It’s way overdue, but I need to highlight my friend Dan Warlow’s first album recording.

Dan Warlow is an Australian singer-songwriter who is passionate about building strong faith-foundations in young people. With his energetic and engaging style, Dan conveys scriptural truths and the life-giving message of Jesus through songs that the whole family can enjoy, not just the kids.

I keep bumping into Dan around the tracks here in Australia and love that he is just going for it, and following his dreams!


1. The Celebration song
2. Great adventure.
3. Creator God
4. With all my heart.
5. God’s Amazing Book
6. I want to hear your voice
7. Under your wings.
8. You are faithful
9. God’s big love (light of the world)
10. There is nothing our God cannot do


This is a acoustic driven album in the vein of Colin Buchanan and Sean W Smith. It’s a little but country and a little bit rock ‘n roll. There is nothing too fancy going on with the production, but it’s also just what is needed – it’s just right. Lead vocals are perfectly clear… important for kids comprehension.

Lyrically it covers well worn material – a ‘God created everything song’, some ‘jump around songs’, and a Bible song. But it all sounds fresh and not at all tired.

Full marks for a kids choir on a few tracks like the title track ‘Great Adventure’ if you follow my blog posts you’ll know I love a bit of kids singing on the album.

We need lyrics on your website Dan 🙂 and if possible some lyric videos for use in Churches!


Okay, God’s Big Love is my standout on this album. It’s a tried and true version of John 3:16 but for me the track shines on the album. Great guitars/synths that match the style really well. A great bridge with some woah’s just tops the track off!

Keep it up Dan, the best is yet to come!


Musical Mention: Strong In Me – TFH Worship

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Another kids worship release out of nowhere.

Heather commented in my last post and alerted me to this fantastic new EP.

TFH Worship is the worship ministry of The Father’s House church, based out of Vacaville, CA but with additional locations in Napa and East Bay. TFH Kids is proud to partner with TFH Worship to release “Strong In Me,” a kids worship album for the whole family. These songs are fun, and powerful and we’ve produced them so that you’ll want more regardless of age!

The Church is also a part of the Hillsong Network, so I am a big fan already!



1. Don’t Have To Wait
2. The Way
3. Stronger
4. God Is With Me
5. You’re Everything

5 Tracks. I’ll take it, I want more, but you gotta start somewhere 🙂


This album continues the trend of albums produced for kids ministries by the worship ministry of the Church. (Planetshakers recent release, eKids etc.) They bring their expertise and strength to the table and pull off great with the kids in mind. It’s great to see a couple of slower songs, Stronger and God is with Me in the mix. It’s a bigger challenge to write worship songs for kids that keep them engaged.

Production values are fantastic, great mixes and excellent arrangements. The music does exactly what it needs to do and doesn’t get in the way of the message!

Get some kids voices on there and I am a happy man. Again, it’s tough to find really strong kid vocalists but worth the effort. And as with all releases, it’s great to see lyric videos we can use in live worship… looking forward to the next one!


Okay, so I’m gonna pick just one because of the brevity of the album 🙂

The Way – Great EDM sounding track and lyrics, especially the acapella intro,  it’s uncommon and catchy. I really like how each section of the song flows into the next – verse to chorus to bridge – it keeps the song moving. “I know who I am, I know how to dance, And praise Your name” – simple lyrics declaring truth, as long as your definition of dancing includes my kind of awkward gyrating.


Musical Mention: Undefeated – eKidz

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Oh Wow, out of nowhere.

Another great Kids Praise and Worship Release.

From my friends at Elevation Church.

eKidz (the family ministry of Elevation Church) has joined with Elevation Worship to release a new album for your entire family. From the title track, “Undefeated”, which proclaims that Jesus is victorious, to the powerful truth found in “I am Yours”, it is our hope that these songs will give voice to your family’s faith.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need more worship for kids in the world. 2,000 worship albums last year produced and maybe 50 for kids? Let’s do this!



1. For Your Glory
2. I Am Yours
3. Undefeated
4. Your Love Is
5. Get to Give
6. Already Won
7. Standing

Okay, 7 tracks… Frank Bealer, I expected more overachieving from you, if your wife was involved it would have been 14 pullups, I mean tracks (you had to be there).


This is a pro album, mixed with a top notch production team from Elevation. Seven uptempo praise songs means they have accomplished what they set out to do – “give voice to your family’s faith”.

One of the hardest things is to get right is kids ‘choir’, it doesn’t seem like the team has attempted to capture any, but I would have loved to hear some kids voices on this album.


Every track sounds ‘right’, what I mean is that it matches the theme and emotion the song is seeking to convey. A victorious song like ‘For Your Glory’, or a more declarative song like ‘I am Yours’ has just the right ‘weight’ in musical style.

Standing – “Oh Yes we are standing, ‘Cause the enemy’s defeated, We’ll always be standing, on the promises of Jesus.” Great chorus and a song that simply declares truth and the groove of the song drives home the point!

Get To Give – This track’s production is one of my favourites and the theme – I get the privilege of serving God – is a valuable one in this era of looking out for number one.

Oh, and great music video!


I feel like getting elevated!

It was a couple of years ago that I was invited to speak at Elevate Conference in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

It’s one of those events that I feel like we are all on the same page. I think Canada and Australia are very similar in the needs and challenges that the Church faces so it was such a privilege to speak there!

I am back again, this time with my wife Beci and it’s gonna be great!

So even if you are in the US, or somewhere close, get yourself there and we can hang out.

MEETUP: If you are reading this and coming to the event, comment below with your name and I will buy you a coffee at a meetup sometime during the conference! Do it!

Elevate Conference 2015 | Wakerley Greeting from next gen on Vimeo.


Musical Mention: Turn It Up – Kidspring

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

It was a normal day just scrollin’ through the twitter feed when I am confronted with this:

So I jumped right on it to iTunes and check it out.

Turn It Up

“Turn It Up” is the newest album from KidSpring, the children’s ministry at NewSpring Church. It’s a two-disc set, featuring songs like Wise Up, My Faith is in You, and When I Look. Whether your kids are preschool or elementary age, they will love learning about Jesus as they sing along! “Turn It Up” will be available on iTunes and at any NewSpring campus on March 1!

First of all, 21 tracks… calm down… that’s just showing off.


1. When I Look
2. Pirate Party
3. Do Not Give Up
4. Wiggle Worm
5. We Are Royalty
6. We’re Not Scared
7. You Are The Treasure
8. 1. Timothy 4:12
9. Jesus Love Me (The Bible Tells Me So Remix)
10. Love Will Never End
11. Detective Shuffle
12. Praise The Lord
13. Wise Up
14. Another Level
15. Set An Example
16. Away We Go
17. My Faith Is In You
18. Royalty
19. Clean Up Rap
20. Eyes On You
21. Love Will Never Fail


Having a listen through I recognised a few tunes like ‘We’re Not Scared’ which we used at Hillsong Kids as a memory verse song a few months ago. It looks like this is a perfect example of what I think more Churches should do, put together a bunch of songs that the kids have been singing at Church, there is a fantastic mix of early childhood songs, primary/elementary songs, praise and worship, and even program songs like a clean up rap.

NOTE: At Hillsong Kids we have the tidy up song which you can get right here, and use every week at Church, and I love this Clean up song they use at Kidspring!


It’s a real mix that everyone should check out and grab to use with their Church ministry, or even at home… you know you need a clean up song right?

Clean Up Rap – Get it for Church, get it for home.

Eyes On You – This is a bit of music producer talk, but I love a half time chorus and this song will rock for your preteen kids at Church.

My Faith Is In You – Rock and roll praise done well declaring great things about God!


Another reason to visit Worshiphousekids

I have been working behind the scenes for a while to partner with WorshipHouseKids and get some Hillsong Kids Content up there. Over the last couple of years this resource has become a real goto site to grab videos, songs, and inspiration from quickly. They really understand the digital realm and give you video files that just work!

Our first bundle has been uploaded and you may find it very helpful:

  • Birthday Song – It’s the Happy Happy Birthday song for preschoolers and toddlers. Birthdays are significant for your children. Celebrate with them by singing along with this video and making them feel special!
  • Countdown – A 3 minute high energy, dynamic countdown that will get your kids ready to start Church! Your kids will love learning the dance moves on screen.
  • Game Loop – The answer to creating atmosphere while your kids are playing games or having free time. At over 7 minutes it’s long enough to energise your latest and greatest new game.
  • Ministry Song – The answer to creating atmosphere in your service for praying and ministering to children. Run this beautiful guitar led worship song in the background while you pray or even sit quietly in response to our awesome God.
  • Tidy Up Song – Are you frustrated at having a messy room while you try to teach the kids at your Church about Jesus? Play this song when it’s time to transition your kids and see the difference music can make.

Check them out!

whk screenshot