Seeds Family Worship Vol. 2: Faith CDSeeds Family Worship Vol. 2: Faith CD
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It's a Scripture-memory tool -- It's a CD full of fabulous music. It's both! Seeds combines songs that use Scripture for lyrics with strongly produced music that is varied in style to create a sound the whole family will love. Just take a listen to the sound clips and you'll see how unique this project is! Each song helps a child (and any adults in the vicinity) memorize one or more Bible verses from the NIV. 

The 21st century offers all kinds of alternatives to a Christianworldview. Many of those alternatives are held in higher regard than the Christian faith by those in authority, in the media, and others who have the attention of our culture, only by holding tightly to God's Work and the foundations of our faith can we withstand the onslaught ofthe world that targets our beliefs. Seeds of Faith brings songs based on verses from the Bible that proclaim the basics of our unshakeable faith. Recommended for ages 4 to 14.

WARNING:This package contains songs that may result in the listener unintentionally MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE. Furthermore, those who learn these words may find themselves inexplicable recalling and/or applying them to real-life situations, as the Holy Spirit leads. USE WITH CAUTION. 


     

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Seeds is a new audio project that combines songs that use Scripture for lyrics with strong musical production and a variety of styles. Using both kids and adult voices, this Scripture memory tool is perfect for churches, Sunday school classes and families. Jason Houser, an acclaimed producer, was one of the "dads" who created this series of CDs, and I had the opportunity to talk with him about it.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get where you are today?
I'm married and I have three kids, a five and a half-year-old named Benjamin, a two and a half-year-old named Brandon, and a new baby girl named Abigail. She's just about 2 months old. I say we've got two monsters and an angel at our house! I've got to wear my referee uniform with the boys, but with Abigail, she's just the sweetest baby she sleeps great and is quiet. That's been the exciting thing, as of late.

I'm a singer, songwriter, producer and music publisher; that's my background. I recently worked on the Matthew West project I co-produced it, and co-wrote the song "More" with the other producer, Kenny Greenberg and Matthew. I'm also working with Kenny Greenberg on Joy Williams new project. That's some of my musical background. I also work with children at our church, Harpeth Community Church, in Franklin, Tennessee. The children's minister asked me to write melodies to some Bible verses two days before Vacation Bible School three years ago. I wrote some songs, a few of which are on the Seeds project. We did a verse a day and then one for the week, so we had six verses / songs for the week. On the Friday of that week, we sang all the songs together.  When I saw all the kids singing every word to every song, it had such a profound impact on me. I just felt like God had something in store for this. And then God started opening doors through relationships, where people literally came to me and said, "Hey, do you have any ideas about something with children's music?" I would say, "It's funny that you ask!" I really felt that God opened the doors, and brought it about before we even had the name Seeds, or anything with the concept evolved.
 

How did the creation of the Seeds project come about? Did you collaborate with other people?
Like I said, it originated out of the church at Vacation Bible School. Our publishing company is called Extreme Writer's Group, and we have five different songwriters that write for us. We brought this concept to them and we also talked with the marketing team that we work with called Cedar Partners. Both of the guys there used to be very instrumental at Big Idea (VeggieTales). One guy was the CFO, and Ben Howard was in marketing, and they became part of our team. We brainstormed ideas, and came up with the name Seeds, then with the foundations of what we want to say in the series. We started with Seeds of Faith and Seeds of Courage. Seeds of Faith focuses on verses that illustrate the foundational aspects of the faith. Seeds of Courage focuses on encouragement and empowerment for kids about God's love and how He is present with us. We took the concepts to the songwriting team and said, "Here's what we want to say, but instead of us telling you exactly what verses to write, let's have each person pray and see what they are inspired to do." We decided to just bring them all together, and see how they fit. We wanted to let the whole thing just come from the ground up.

So you didn't choose the verses, it was the songwriters themselves that came up with them?
Yes, but my co-writer and myself were heavily involved in it. There were several verses that we felt we needed to have on the CDs, some of which he and I wrote ourselves. For instance, on Seeds of Faith, we wanted to be sure we used: "It is by grace you have been saved through faith," as well as Hebrews 11:1, and of course, John 3:16! These are some of the foundational faith verses. There were some other verses, like 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation," which one of the writers made into a song, that I wouldn't have thought of. That was an awesome song, and it's the song that closes the Seeds of Faith record. It was cool how God brought the right verses together we didn't map them out, but all the songs fit. I was humbled and amazed by how it came together.

Why do you think Scripture memorization is important for kids, and why use music?
I think Scripture memorization is important for everyone, but especially for kids. In this day and age, every parent struggles with all the influences that surround our kids. They have TV, the computer, and friends at school. How do we teach our kids to be godly men and women when they're barraged with all these things? A positive thing that we can do as parents is, just like with nutrition, feed our kids good things. We can't control everything, but we try our best to shelter them, and we can do something when we have their attention and their time. There's nothing better that we can teach our kids than the Word of God. One mother told me this past week, "I was worried about something, and my young daughter said to me 'Mom, the lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.'" Kids are literally quoting Scriptures back to their parents! Our mission is to plant the seeds of God's Word in young hearts. I believe those seeds, though you don't necessarily see them, are in their hearts, and as kids face things as teenagers, or even if they wander from the faith, they will remember the Scriptures and God will speak to them.

Music is, statistically, one of the greatest influences in children's lives young children, preteens, teenagers. A survey was done and parents, friends and music were, I think, the top three greatest influences. Kids pick up on melodies like sponges! When we do Vacation Bible School, I'll sing a song through one time, then the kids will be singing it with me right away. Music makes it easy to memorize. If you had to and say over and over, "Ok, love the Lord your God with all your " you forget and wonder, is it heart, is it soul, is it mind? But if it's in a song, it has a flow. I think it's partially how were made. Music inspires us on that level. Our pastor is doing a study of Colossians, and there's a verse that says we should sing to one another with spiritual hymns, songs, and praise. Before the Bible was written, that's how they would communicate spiritual truths. I think much of Christian music is carries on that tradition. It was cool to think about it in that perspective; that really connected with me. Some kids, like a five-year-old, are not quite reading yet, but they can memorize these songs.

Do you think parents and the church today do enough to encourage kids to memorize the Bible?
I think there are some really good programs for Scripture memorization, and the church does a good job trying to integrate them. But I think there is a place for parents to step in. The CDs also come with Scripture Memory cards. The guy that did the graphic design is very gifted! Part of the vision for the cards was so that Sunday school teachers as well as parents could use them. If you do devotions with your kids, or if a child is homeschooled, it's an opportunity for a parent to work with their child. Each card is set up with the title of the song and the verse on one side, and the Scripture on the back. You could ask your child, "How does the verse for 'They Will Seek God' go?" It's a Scripture memory tool, versus a music CD. Our hope is that parents and Sunday school teachers will use it like that.

I found myself listening to these CDs and thinking that I could easily memorize the Scripture verses!
The other part of our mission of planting the seeds of God's Word in young hearts is that we tried musically to make the CDs for families. They're high energy for kids, but there are adult voices singing it's not all kids' voices, and it's not all adult voices either. There are two or three songs that have fathers and daughters singing together.  The whole project is built around the family. Almost everyone involved in the project has a family with young kids, and many of them sing on the CDs. I've had so many moms tell me that after they drop their kids off at school they listen to the CDs all day long and they get ministered to. It means so much that they are able to connect on that level.

I enjoyed how the music is modern with out too much of one style it's a good mix.
I've told people I work on a children's record, and when they hear it, they say, "This isn't a children's record, what are you talking about?!" If you pick it apart, there are a few songs that are more rockin', that we tailored more toward junior high and high school students like "Dont let anyone look down on you because you are young." And then there are other songs that are younger, more singsong, that are meant for five- to nine-year-olds. So we tried to combine them so that everyone can connect with something. Or different age groups can pull out a few songs to do in their Sunday school class or youth group.

As you created this, what ages did you have in mind?
We talked about four to fourteen. We figured that once kids get into the teenage years, there's a lot of great music for them, like Christian Contemporary or worship music. And VeggieTales is geared toward younger kids, but we wondered what is there for kids to listen to in between. There didn't seem to be anything, and this fit right in. My two and a half-year-old sings these songs, which blows me away! The engineer on the project has a fourteen-year-old daughter, and she and her friends have really responded to the CDs. But I'm thinking after that age, they may think that it's lame. There are teenagers involved in this project, though. There are several voices of girls that are fourteen and fifteen singing lead. They have mature voices for their age, but you can still tell that they are young. I think that especially teen girls really connect with the songs that their peers are singing. I would say officially four to fourteen is our range, hoping that it's bigger than that.

Many Scripture memorization CDs have kids singing the songs. Why did you choose to go with adult singers, and who are the artists on these CDs?
A lot of the artists are the songwriters that wrote the songs. Many of the people that we work with have incredible voices, and I sang a few of the songs. There have been many answers to prayers throughout this project. With a few of the songs, I didn't know who was going to sing them, and I prayed that God would bring the right people. At one point I felt like I should call a friend of mine and I told him I was looking for a young singer, a female vocalist. He told me that he knew of several people that would be great, so he sent me a CD, and the first girl on this CD just blew me away. I didn't know anything about her, so I called my friend back and I said that I loved the first voice. He told me that she was fourteen years old. She sounded very mature for her age. I was able to contact her, she lived in Dallas, and get her involved. She ended up singing songs on every CD. Her name is Laura Licata, and she has an awesome heart for God. There was no way I could have found her randomly, since she was in Texas! But I feel like God opened the doors through relationships. We found all the other vocalists that weren't the writers through relationships. Someone would hear about the project and say, "Hey I think so-and-so might be a good person." I try to do things organically. I've forced many things in my life, and over the last few years, God has been teaching me how to follow! Sometimes when I don't know where I'm going, I just stop, and pray instead of plowing through. God has really been faithful with this project.

It must be amazing to see it all come together.
It's a miracle I look at it and say, "How did this all happen?!" There are so many pieces and so many people, from the musicians, to the engineers, to the vocalists, to the background singers, to the kids. There's a tremendous amount of people involved in each one of these projects. I look back when there're done and I'm amazed that it all came together and thank God for the blessings.

What inspired you to do this project differently using adult voices and a different sound?
I think part of it was in taking a little more of a contemporary approach. Kids respond to kids singing but there's also a power with an adult voice from a leadership standpoint. Having both adult and kids voices together evolved as we worked on the project. We also wanted it to be a family project where we could touch the parents and the kids at the same time. It's difficult to attempt, what we're trying to do. Many kids' projects are for very specific ages, and we're trying to appeal to a wider age group. That was part of the inspiration of using the adult voices.

Each CD is based on a theme. How did you choose that theme?
We've got a list of about 20 different ideas. I have a creative journal that I use to jot down ideas and random thoughts, so if somebody would say, "You should do a Seeds of Salvation, or you should do a Seeds of Power," I just kept jotting them down! Our creative team talked about where we should start this project. Our vision is for it to be a series, and these are the first two, but I'm finishing, literally today, the third and fourth records. The next two are Seeds of Purpose and Seeds of Praise. Seeds of Purpose was brought to me as an idea, and initially, I didn't want to do it. Everything seems to be all about "purpose" right now, and I didn't want to follow the crowd. That's just me; I like to creatively rebel! I prayed about it, and read The Purpose Driven Life, which had an effect on me personally. The other guys that involved in the project felt strongly about it, I began to feel like God is doing something in the church through showing people He has a purpose for everyone's life. What better place to communicate through Scripture to kids, "Hey God has a purpose for you." Some young kids might wonder, "What does purpose mean?" You have to define it. So that's where that one came from. And Seeds of Praise, there are so many Scriptures about praise. That CD's real upbeat, fun, and has kids yelling on it! It goes from high energy to ending with "Be Still and Know that I Am God" coming down to a real worshipful moment. We're looking to release them in the fall [2004]; I look for them to come out before Christmas. Exactly how that's going to happen, I'm not sure. Were talking about several different options, but I hope they'll be out in the fall.

Are you going to be continuing the series after those next two?
I think so. Initially what we talked about was a series of four. We want to see how people respond, how the doors open and just go from there. But we definitely have more songs written, and more ideas.

We're also trying to figure out the best approach to take in terms of sales of these CDs. Because it's such a different project, it's hard to figure out exactly where they fit. The people that have heard the CD, and the music really respond and get excited about them. But we're not on any of the listening stations, and this is the hurdle we're trying to get over. How do we get people to actually hear what this is? You're not going to see this in a store and think, "Oh, I know what this is!" It is a little bit of a different spin on what's been done. It really is more than what people perceive as a Children's CD, its a family CD. Hopefully different songs will connect with different people in your house.

Are you planning on creating any other Seeds resources?
Yes, we're working on a number of things. I never know if I'm speaking out of turn on some of this! They're working on a curriculum, and I'm creating song tracks. Several churches that have the projects have requested tracks, since the kids have been singing them in front of the church. We also hope to produce songbooks. The long-term vision is to create something that can be integrated into Sunday school classes, and, obviously, children's music.

I'd love to see the little seed guys on the Scripture memory cards come to life. We have characters for the seeds, complete with a whole background of a wacky storylines of the seeds being a rock band. The lead singer is Righteous Seed, and there's a rival band called The Weeds of the World. There are several different songs that have a lot of voices popping in and out of them that are tailored for that if it ever goes to video. If God opens the door, then it would be great to go there, but you can't tackle that all at once. If that were meant to happen it would be fun.

The other thing that we are seriously trying to develop is what we're calling "Life Lessons," which are like devotionals. It would be something you'd listen to in the car, and there'd be a little vignette before each song that would put the verses and the songs into context. For instance, one of the songs on the new CDs is called "The Mouth," and it's the verse about how out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The characters would do a little skit that would show the power of your words to say good things versus bad things, and then the song would come on. The working title is "Growing While Going: Life Lessons for Families on the Go." That feels like something that everyone's excited about, and I'd love to see happen. There are a lot of ideas floating around. I think the tracks and the songbook will happen, but other than that, it's just crazy creative people with big ideas!

Would this project also be good for homeschool kids?
I definitely think it could be integrated into a homeschool program. I know that a few of the families with children who sang on the project had said they'd been using it as part of their homeschool curriculum. I definitely think it could be a great tool for that.