We recently sat down with Jeremy Riddle and his wife Katie, to hear about their hope for Bethel Music’s newly released kid’s album “Come Alive”, and what it was like seeing this project through their children’s eyes. Here’s what they had to say.
This is Bethel Music’s first kid’s album, and your daughter got to be a part of the project, so what was the whole process like, of having it happen?
Katie: It was really exciting actually, we were excited that Becca got to be a part of the project. This is new for Bethel Music, and it’s been amazing to see the next generation rise up and realize that they love to worship, no matter where they are, or what part of life they’re in. It was so natural for them to express themselves in worship whether or not the camera was on and it was just beautiful.
Jeremy: It was a unique experience, particularly for Becca, who has a passion for arts and drama, and being with a group of friends doing this was very exciting for her. She is very much an extrovert, and the whole process kept her very busy, so at the end of the project, she was like, “How am I gonna go back to normal life? I don’t know how!” Being a part of making this first Bethel Music Kids project was an epic memory for her and we are stoked that she got to have that kind of experience.
Katie: It was really sweet to see the friendships that were forged and the memories they got to share. At the very beginning, most of the kids kinda knew each other but by the end, it was like they were a tight-knit group that loved to be around each other. The happiness that you see in the videos, it’s real and that is beautiful.
Jeremy: And Fred – he’s the dance instructor – and his way of teaching and integrating the core of who we are, and our hunger and our passion for His presence and how that comes into alignment with dance and movement; it was just beautiful and it was a privilege that these kids got to hear and learn from him.
What gets you excited when you as parents and as worshipers when you think about the next generation of worshipers?
Jeremy: I started in a super conservative church, so guitars in worship, drums, electric guitars, synthesizers, this was unheard of — it was choirs and robes, and that was worship. So when I think about maybe 30 plus years from now, I can only imagine where worship will go. Over the past years, so many obstacles have come down in worship, and that freedom really excites me.
This generation is embracing the freedom of expression — freedom in terms of movement and the freedom of knowing expressing themselves in worship is beautiful if done unto the Lord. Also, the intimacy factor and a growing understanding that worship is what you’re doing to the Lord, it’s not just a “sing song” time, it’s where we engage the heart of God. That kind of perspective, mixed with creativity and freedom, it just gets me really excited.
Katie: I feel like our church culture has really nurtured a value and a priority for the presence of God, and so these kids grow under that. They end up having the freedom to express themselves and how much they love the Lord in dance, in song, and in their relationships with themselves, their family and each other.
If there are any families out there who are first time parents, or have bigger families like you do, or are the first ones ever that are raising a Christian family reading this, how would you guys say that you’ve cultivated the reality of God and His presence day to day?
Katie: It’s amazing watching our children grow in their personal relationship with the Lord. We have a nature girl, who just feels the presence of God when she’s with the animals and the trees, and God speaks to her there; and we’ve got our extrovert, who loves her friends and watching God move in her and with her and through her and her friends. It’s just beautiful to see that He knows each of us so well, and He loves to express Himself in a language that we understand. As parents, I think there’s nothing more beautiful or rewarding than to see your kids feel the presence of the Lord, and learn more about Him.
Jeremy: I think honestly for us, even just being here in this church, we realize that so much of them growing in this understanding, is them growing in this environment and getting in the atmosphere. They are being raised in a culture of worship, and a culture where signs and wonders and praying for the sick is all normal, everyday stuff. I remember our daughter, Claire, was a year and a half, and she was just beginning to walk around, but she just looked around at church one day and started laying her hands on people. It was like something happened to her where she was coming alive. It’s just been a beautiful journey with every one of our children. Cultivating His presence in our everyday lives is just something that’s literally that simple, where we’re just trying to maintain an awareness, and it’s an ongoing thing throughout the day.
How have your kids surprised you with the way they hear the Lord or moments they’ve had where they’ve surprised you or reminded you about the nature of God?
Katie: There’s these beautiful moments where they hear the voice of the Lord, and they come out of their room, and they say something profound and that’s always wonderful. But practically, sometimes, I won’t be the most beautiful mom in the world, and then my 3 year-old might walk up to me and be like, “Mom, why are you mad?” And then I’m like, “Thank you God, I needed that. Ok yeah, Jesus come, I can do this, I can finish this day well, but I need your help.” It’s a beautiful thing to just watch it be so natural in their lives, and to watch them grow in their understanding of the Lord, and their interactions with each other. It’s a reminder of how beautiful being a child is, and how dear that is to the heart of God.
Jeremy: My kids remind me that there’s such a purity and an innocence in how they relate to God. There’s a lack of negativity– a purity and a light when you get around them. Children teach you how to be present and in the moment because that’s all that they know. They’re not filled with thoughts of the future, they’re not obsessing about the next day, they’re just in the moment.
Why does it feel important to even try something like this project as far as what you hope for kids anywhere, why does it feel important to atleast get something like this out there?
Katie: I think that every community has its own culture and there’s so many different ways to worship. Everybody has their own voice, and it’s beautiful to see this type of expression, and seeing what our kids carry.
Jeremy: In an environment of worship, people discover their identity, they discover how this who they’re meant to be. So looking back through this whole process, and watching Becca discover herself, and discover what she carries and how to begin to move in some of that, that’s pretty beautiful.