Prepare Him Room Q&A
We are excited to announce that there is a new Christmas album from Sovereign Grace Music called Prepare Him Room. There are some other exciting resources accompanying the album (by the same name): a family devotional and a classroom curriculum.
Marty Machowski wrote the devotional and curriculum while Bob Kauflin partnered with him by overseeing the creation of the album. So, I took the opportunity to ask these men some questions to give you a more behind-the-scenes look:
How long does a project like this take?
Marty: For some writing projects, I get an idea, plan out a schedule, and start plugging away. Most of my writing projects have taken six months of intensive study and writing. Prepare Him Room didn’t follow that pattern, and each of its three components came together a bit differently, over a longer period of time.
The short Christmas story “Bartimaeus” that I’ve included in the devotional was first written for my children. Later, I passed it along to our homeschool ministry who turned the storyline into an original Christmas musical. After the musical performance, I decided to rewrite the story to see if I could polish it up enough to have it published. I probably rewrote that story three times over two years.
The devotional began as a project for our church family at Covenant Fellowship. Jared Mellinger asked me to write an Advent devotional for folks in our church to use. Most of that came together in one blessed day when I got the idea to connect the Christmas prophecies in the Old Testament with the New Testament fulfillments. It was that devotional which became the framework for the Advent devotions in the Prepare Him Room devotional.
I wrote the companion curriculum last of all to bring the same truths of Scripture into the Sunday school classroom. That took about a month to write working about an hour and a half each day, or about 50 hours.
Bob: From Marty’s first email, the project took about 15 months. We actually started writing songs in January of this year and finished in early April. The recording took about six weeks.
How did you end up partnering with each other on this project?
Marty: I’ve known Bob for 27 years—ever since he first spoke at a Covenant Fellowship singles retreat in the 90’s. Bob is such a gift to us and I love his heart for God and his gifting in writing music. So when the idea came up in conversation with New Growth Press to put together a Christmas album highlighting the themes from Prepare Him Room in song, it was a no-brainer to contact Bob.
With all Bob has going on, I thought it was a long shot—and a dream. Having Bob on the project would be getting the best. What a joy to have this work out. In the end, Bob was excited by the prospect of doing another Christmas album, and we were able to work together to create a grouping of songs that work amazingly well with what I’ve written.
When Bob sent me the first rough-cut video of “Who Would Have Dreamed,” it took my breath away. The lyrics were amazing, and his daughter, McKenzie, killed it!
Bob: Marty sent me an email in June of 2013 asking if I’d be interested in having Sovereign Grace Music produce an album to accompany his children’s Advent curriculum and devotional. I had been thinking about recording another Christmas album the past few years, since Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man came out back in 2006. This provided the perfect opportunity to pursue that impulse.
Why are you releasing the CD album, the devotional book, and the curriculum together?
Marty: Jesus was born to the chorus of angels singing to the shepherds in the fields. Christmas isn’t Christmas without songs celebrating the coming of our Savior. When I developed the Prepare Him Room curriculum and devotional, I wanted to include singing as a part of what the children would do.
This Christmas album stands alone, as does the curriculum, but when you put them together, you have a wonderful Advent program in study and song that we hope will be a blessing for families and churches partnering together to bring the gospel to the next generation.
Bob: Partly because of the way the project came about. The album really is a companion to the devotional and curriculum. I think we would have come up with a different album without Marty’s materials. The specific Scriptures caused us to focus on the particular themes of each lesson and gave us more diversity than we would have had otherwise.
What audience are these resources meant for?
Marty: The target audience for the family devotional and curriculum is preschool through elementary age children. I wanted to provide a gospel-rich set of activities families could use to build Christ-centered family traditions that will last. While Prepare Him Room is written for 4–10 year-olds, the rich biblical theology I’ve included is material for people of any age. I remember first discovering the truths of biblical theology well into my adult years and marveling at some of the very same prophecies we teach in Prepare Him Room.
Bob: While the curriculum and devotional are intended for 4–10 year-olds and their families, the album is for all ages. We aimed for a specifically “Christmas” sound that is timeless, rather than trying to produce a pop album with Christmas lyrics. We were really pleased with the result. One person described it this way: “The album as a whole has a depth and movement about it that is both sobering and hopeful.”
How can I order these resources, and what are the most strategic ways I can use them?
I am hoping churches 1) purchase the curriculum to use the four weeks prior to Christmas and 2) encourage their families to use the companion family devotional. The goal of these two resources is to bridge the gap between church and home and to serve as a tool for pastors and families to use together.
It brings me great joy when I think that families can also be singing Christmas hymns and songs at home along with the album Bob put together and then singing those same songs on Sunday. I’ve made it my mission to provide resources that help parents bring the life-transforming message of the gospel to their family.
I honestly can’t think of a more comprehensive Christmas program that teaches children the true meaning of Christmas through word, deed, and song. I hope churches and families in Sovereign Grace (and beyond) take advantage of this program and see the gospel proclaimed to a new generation who we trust will carry the torch of the gospel when our days are complete.
Bob: Marty explained how to get the curriculum and devotional. The best place to get the album is the Sovereign Grace Music website. From there, you can purchase it from a number of retailers or websites.
Every Christmas, we’re bombarded with voices from our culture trying to tell us what is most important about the Christmas season, whether it be gifts, parties, family, or traditions. This album, combined with the devotional and curriculum, will be a huge help to parents who want to take consistent time to focus not only on the birth of Christ, but also its purpose. Jesus was born to save us from our sins. That is the greatest miracle to celebrate at Christmas or any other time for that matter. And after sitting down to go through the devotional together, families can reinforce and deepen those truths anywhere and anytime as they listen to the songs on the album.
Marty serves as a pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church and has written numerous resources for children and families.
Bob is the Director of Music and Worship for Sovereign Grace and serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.
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