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Thursday, January 12, 2006

CD Review: Awesome God

For the past couple of weeks, the CD being played repeatedly in our house is Sovereign Grace Ministries worship project Awesome God, which is their first worship CD especially targeted for kids (target age group: 7 and up). The CD was kindly provided for free by SGM as part of an offer from Bob Kauflin on his Worship Matters blog to bloggers willing to give it a listen and provide a review on their blogs. This CD has thus been our daily music intake for a couple of weeks on end so that we could get a real feel for it. Granted, our two boys are only 3 1/2 and 21 months old respectively, but they have enjoyed many of the worship songs/hymns that we've sung with/to them over the past several years. Our younger son can even hum the tune to Before The Throne of God Above recognizably although he doesn't even really talk yet! Well, enough preface, here goes...

Bob Kauflin describes the CD in his blog entry this way:
The 12 songs on this CD were written, selected, and arranged to help kids better comprehend the nature and attributes of God, including the fact that He is holy, eternal, the Creator, triune, and our Savior. We wanted the music to be contemporary, accessible, and singable, without it overshadowing the lyrics. We also tried to make most of the songs deep enough so that kids might get more out of the lyrics as they mature.
After spending two weeks listening to the CD, we have been much impressed by it, especially as children's "worship" music goes. There is a lot of variety of musical styles on the album, from several meditative slow songs to the very "bouncy" Forever God track (whose chorus repeats, "You go on and on and on and on..." etc.). From a production standpoint, it's excellently done, avoiding the mistake of the dime-a-dozen "children's praise" CDs so common on discount racks that are frankly unimpressive musically speaking. Most of the songs on the CD also feature the voices (in both solo & choir) of obviously gifted teenagers and younger children.

But what's really enjoyable is that content-wise the songs don't simply dwell in the realm of "Father Abraham Had Many Sons..." type children's church songs. Instead, consistent with many of Sovereign Grace Music's other worship projects, every song is filled with solid content about God and his attributes and the blessings of the gospel. Excepting the youthful voices featured in this album and some of the more "fun" presentations of a few of the songs, every song could just as easily found its way on SGM's other worship CDs. In fact, at least one song is on another SGM worship album: The Gospel Song, which I really enjoy for its simplicity in declaring the gospel in four lines and in my opinion would be a much welcome replacement to "Jesus Loves Me" in children's ministries.

As a matter of personal preference, I might've liked a greater percentage of slower "singable" songs. By "singable" I simply mean songs that I can sing with my kids without pulling out a guitar and drums and from which they can easily meditate on the truths within. My personal experience suggests that songs that kids hear and want to "dance" to, they'll dance to; and songs that they can sing a cappella, they'll learn the words and sing. Naturally, since I see these songs as a tool for learning and expressing truth about God's glories, I lean towards the latter as a preference.

Our kid's assessment? They want to listen to the album every morning when they wake up! I look forward to teaching these songs alongside all of our other "adult" worship songs to my children in future years. Many thanks to SGM for demonstrating a real love for children in putting together this project.