Interview with Kendra Fleming of North Point (& Free Kids Song)
I recently had the opportunity to interview Kendra Fleming, Director of Children’s Ministry at North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Wisdom: Could you share with us the story behind how you became the Children's Director at North Point?
Kendra: I grew up a preacher's kid and have always loved the local church. I had been serving in children's ministry at a church in Virginia when a close friend of mine moved to Atlanta and started attending North Point Community Church. This was during the early years of North Point, when they were growing like crazy and struggling to put the leadership in place to keep up with the growth. My friend saw that there was a need and gave my name to the Family Ministry Director. I was invited to check things out and knew immediately that God was doing something big at this church. God opened every door for us to join the North Point team. I've been here for 13 years and I can honestly say it's the best place I've ever served.
Wisdom: How many staff members and volunteers are involved in the children's ministry at North Point.
Kendra: We have about 70 staff members and more than 4500 volunteers who serve in children’s ministry at all of our five Atlanta-area churches.
Wisdom: Wow! That's amazing! You guys recently released a kids worship album - North Point Kids: Shine! How did the idea for this project develop?
Kendra: Music is an important part of the environment we create for kids. We know the scope and sequence of what we’re teaching kids each year and we needed songs to connect the kids to those big ideas. We had several favorite worship songs but could never find enough music that really worked and communicated a clear message.
With children’s ministry songs, a curriculum writer can write great lyrics, but they don’t have a “lab” to see if their song lands with kids. And musicians can write creative songs, but they are prioritizing the music, not the messaging. We needed a project that would get the curriculum writers and the musicians on the same team, creating music that was both creative and on-message.
After watching thousands of kids worship in our environments every Sunday, we felt that we really knew what worked—simple, repeatable lyrics in rhythms that are easy for kids to sing along to.
Wisdom: I have 3 young kids and they all love the album! They love to crank it up in the car and sing along. Their favorite song is "Books of the Bible,” which is an upbeat hip-hop song that takes kids through the entire Bible, book by book. I assume writing a good song that goes through the entire Bible is challenging. What was the songwriting process like for this song?
Kendra: For all of the songs on this album, including “Books of the Bible,” we started with a sound or “flavor” we wanted the song to have. So we knew we wanted “Books of the Bible” to be a catchy, hip-hop song. But even when a song is as fast-paced as this, it’s hard to fit all of the books of the Bible without the song being ten minutes long. So we had to cut lots of the pop culture references that were included in early drafts. Eventually we landed with a draft that included just enough fun references while still keeping the song easy to learn and sing along with.
Wisdom: As you're probably well aware of, the majority of churches in America are small churches of 100 or less members. Are the 10 songs on this album doable in a small church that may only have a few kids in their children's ministry?
Kendra: Yes! Of course! We think what makes these songs work for all kids is what makes them work for each kid - easy, repeatable lyrics with catchy rhythms. And whether your ministry has two kids or two hundred kids, every kid needs to learn the messages in these songs - that they can trust God no matter what and that they should make the wise choice.
Wisdom: What is one resource you've found most helpful as a Children's Director, whether it's a website, an app, a conference, or something else?
Kendra: I think the best conference out there for children’s ministry leaders is the Orange Conference. We’ve attended and participated for years and think they consistently get it right.
Wisdom: As one of the largest churches in America, that has over 4,000 kids in the children's ministry, what things are you doing to resource and help other children's ministries in the U.S. and around the globe?
Kendra: This album is one way we’re trying to resource other children’s ministries since we believe music is such an important part of creating engaging environments for kids. When we create a curriculum that really works for our kids, our Resources Ministry packages it up for export so other churches can use it too. And beyond just children’s ministry, our organization hosts the Drive Conference so we can get church leaders together in one place to share and learn from each other.
Wisdom: There may be someone reading this interview right now who is involved in children's ministry, either as a staff or volunteer, and feeling discouraged in ministry and ready to give up. Could you share an encouragement with them?
Kendra: You are doing such important work. In children’s ministry, we get to see kids growing up in really tangible ways. But sometimes - especially when you’re not in the trenches of a classroom on Sunday morning - you miss the spiritual growth these kids are experiencing. Because that growth isn’t always huge. We may not see a kid fully grasp the concept of salvation in one year’s time. But each small step that each kid takes is worth celebrating. And the unglamorous work you’re doing behind the scenes during the week is so vital to setting up those moments of growth, big or small.
Wisdom: Thank you so much, Kendra for taking the time to share with our readers!
To find out more about the children's ministry at North Point, visit upstreetkids.org. You can also follow them on Twitter. Be sure to check out North Point Kids: Shine! and other music from North Point Music by visiting northpointmusic.org.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter