Yancy Shares How Her New Worship Album
Connects Kids to God
And her latest album gives us 15 easy-to-sing (and fun to listen to!) songs that do just that.
The new album, “Little Praise Party: Taste and See” (which you can buy on iTunes here), is the fourth release in her popular worship music series for young children, available online and in Christian bookstores everywhere.
Yancy has been involved inworship and kids ministry for years — besides her success as an award-winning recording artist and songwriter (writing for artists like Third Day, Jaci Velasquez, and others). You can learn more about her story by watching the fun video at the top of this post — probably one of the coolest ways to do a bio that I’ve seen — and you can read more about her ministry and life at her official site here.
I was able to talk with her recently over the phone about her latest project. It was a joy to hear her heart for worship as she described the vision for “Taste and See”:
What was your inspiration for this album?
The inspiration is definitely a combination. I have a little boy who is turning 4 next week so definitely some of the songs I wrote just based on messages that he needs to hear and lessons he needs to learn. Then the other side of it is definitely just thinking of the church. I have a lot of churches that use my songs and my videos on Sundays in the different kids’ classes to do worship time. Also I always try to write songs about things that I know they’re going to teach and talk to the kids about just so that they have those resources with music just to reinforce those lessons that they’re teaching those kids, so it’s a combination of those two things.
How is this album different from the previous “Little Praise Party” albums?
The very first one I did had more Sunday School classics on it like “Father Abraham” and “This Little Light of Mine” and it kind of a mixture of those kinds of songs and then original songs. Then the second one “Happy Day, Every Day” it had a lot more seasonal songs on it so I tried to make sure those biggest holidays of the year there was a song that kind of tied in to those. So there’s a song about loving one another that ties into Valentine’s, several Easter and springtime songs, a birthday song, songs about thankfulness and Christmas to kind of carry kids throughout the year.
This one I did put a couple more Easter songs on it and one more Christmas song on it just as kind of a bonus on the end but I think this is just a celebration just of songs that just celebrate God’s greatness and how in a lot of way he’s the ultimate superhero any of us could ask for to be present in our lives. That He is the greatest. It’s also really pointing kids to see God’s goodness and to taste and see that the Lord is good. That’s the theme of the album title and the record. It’s a lot of songs that are different themes than have been on the previous ones. Lots of action songs and opportunities for kids to jump and wiggle and move and shout and whisper and all sorts of activities, since it is for younger kids. There are definitely some lessons for them to learn through the lyrics.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
It’s always hard to narrow it down to one song! Can I have three favorites? [laughs] I love “Super Wonderful.” I love, and I’m already getting great feedback from a song, called “Stop and Go” that’s just super fun. I really like the song “Obey” and also “Taste and See.” Those are some of my favorites.
Your father sings on this album. Did you get to spend time in the recording studio with him?
Yes, I was there the day that he came in and sang. My dad actually made kid’s music back in the ’80s. He’s sung on each one of the “Little Praise Party” albums. Both songs that he sings on this one are songs that he wrote and recorded a long time ago. I thought they would fit and work today just an updated version of it. It’s just a fun thing for me because I have so much history and experience with those songs since he wrote them a long time ago. It’s personally a fun thing to get to capture to keep for a long, long time. There are DVDs that I make where little animated cartoons music videos for the songs and he has his own little cartoon character that sings on the songs. I think from record-to-record that Dad’s songs are some of people’s favorites on the record usually. It’s special that way.
The title track “Taste & See” chorus comes from Psalm 34. What role does the book of Psalms play finding inspiration for lyrics?
Psalms is obviously a place that is very easy to go to look to when you’re thinking about praise and worship. I think David is our number one example that we have in the Bible of just how to worship God and how that looks in our life. I think for anything that is involving praise and worship, Psalms is a great place to begin and start and just be inspired and look for direction and wisdom as a worship leader in how to lead others. Definitely, it’s a big role.
“Joyful Noise” is one of my favorite – just a song with a lot of life in it. Was it a fun song to write and record?
Yeah, I wanted to do something with a younger age group that was repetitive; it’s so important. I wanted to do a song on this record that works kind of like “Father Abraham” from the standpoint of it’s the same thing over and over but each time there’s something different. That’s what “Joyful Noise” really is; it’s just the same chorus over and over and over but each time through you do a different action. I think it’s fun! My little boy perked up one of the first times he heard the whisper portion of the song. I think there’s just a lot of fun that kids will be able to have through the different dynamics and the different things they can do to make a joyful noise throughout it.
What’s a good way to explain worship to kids?
I think ultimately it’s just us talking to God and responding to God. One of the things I always ask kids is “How many of you like to hear the word ‘I love you’? Do you like it when mom and dad come up to you and give you a kiss and tell you that they love you?” Everyone pretty much raises their hands they like to hear those word. They like to hear their friends say that they want to spend time with them and they like hanging out with them and they think they are cool. Worship is really just us complimenting God on the things that He’s done and who He is. We are made in the image of God — just like we like to hear nice things said about us and the things that we do, God loves it when we respond to Him and just sing songs from our hearts to show Him our thanks and to honor Him for the things that He’s done in our lives.
I think for the most part kids pretty naturally get what it means to worship God. Sometimes they just need to be shown or pointed in the direction a bit, but they normally jump in pretty wholeheartedly. I think even the youngest kids understand the concept of love, so I think that’s a great place to start to just say, “Hey, we can sing these songs to show God that we love Him.”
I think all kids love music, and they feel a unique freedom to dance and express themselves, yet somewhere along the way we start to lose that childlike worship expression. As adults, how can we keep that childlike wonder?
I think the biggest factor is just to do it and when it comes to Sunday mornings or whenever you go to church choose to be involved, choose to take a step each week and for some people that’s to actually just sing along with the songs for other people that’s to lift up their hands and show that surrender to the Lord. There’s so much can learn from watching a child worship because it’s sincere, it comes from their heart. Hearing a group of kids sing a song to the Lord is just so amazing.
I think the biggest thing holding people back is just that they choose not to do it. Start in your car on your way to work, running errands throughout the week. Sing songs out loud and realize that the Bible does say to make a joyful noise to the Lord, not to make a pitch-perfect noise to the Lord. Jump in there and do it! Realize that giving praise to God is a celebration and it should be fun and it’s something that should fill us up with joy and also with His peace by spending time in His Presence.
How can parents teach their kids to worship?
I think again, it goes back to the car. Play songs in your car that are actually worship and have the Bible in them. It’s not saying you can’t even listen to pop music but if that’s the only thing you listen to…I remember as a kid my mom listening to a lot of old Integrity and Hosanna worship cassettes. I have memories in Mom’s minivan as a kid with those certain songs playing and many of those songs were written based on Scriptures. Still today in my life, whether it’s in a sermon or a message or meeting at my church or whatnot, if someone says a certain Scripture or makes a certain point, I hear a song playing in my mind from decades ago that I learned as a kid. That’s what excites me about what I do; it’s because I know the songs get planted in the hearts and spirits of each of of these kids and that lasts for a long, long time.
It’s not just about today, it’s not just about tomorrow, but years and decades from now those songs can replay in the minds of your kids as they’re making decisions about what job to take or what school to go to or relationship that they can be reminded of God’s truth. So I think that’s a gift you can give your children by playing songs at home, in the car and on the go wherever you are that are planting God’s truth and God’s promises in their heart to guide them.
I think, back to your exact question, that just giving kids the opportunity — playing songs and singing along with it in the car or choosing to have a little dance party at home in the living room, playing some songs that you can clap and jump and just have fun and in the process give praise to God, I think speaks volumes to your kids.
And there’s the promise that His Word won’t return void. So all these seeds will grow.
Exactly — and flourish!