Alan Root Robertson is basically harmless, although he's taller than he looks in his pictures. He writes songs and plays piano, guitars and drums well enough to fool a lot of people. He likes basketball, watercolor, hiking, popcorn, old books, old movies, anything caramel, strong coffee and Bugs Bunny cartoons. He and his wife Emily have two daughters who found some great guys who agreed to be their husbands, and 5 grandkids have been asked to join the family since then. Alan and Emily live just south of Nashville, north of a herd of cows. For the last two and a half decades, Alan has been traveling the Northern Hemisphere telling kids about the love of Jesus with rock and roll, Biblical teaching, and laughter. His music grabs upper elementary age kids and their parents.
He was called to kids ministry by a seemingly harmless comment to him by Michael W. Smith. He’s been signed as an artist for Word and Starsong Records. He wrote and performed the music behind Sandi Patti’s reading of the International Children’s Bible. He is the recipient of 3 national Telly awards. He has written, arranged, produced and performed music for McDonald’s, Wrigley’s, General Mills, Oscar Meyer, Kelloggs, Dr. Seuss, and Sesame Place. He co-wrote 3 musicals for Sony/Tree: Shortstops, Arkeology, and Hymnknowlogy. He’s done a pilot TV show with Pro Kids Productions. He’s performed with Psalty, The Kids’ Touring Company, Barry McGuire, Gerbert, and the Billy Graham Children’s Crusade. He’s been a featured performer and workshop leader as well as multiple themesong writer at the International Network of Children’s Ministries, Children’s Ministry Idea Explosion, and One Way Street’s Children’s Ministry University.
His music CDs, Backwards in the Back, There's a World in my Brain, Popcorn & Pjs, Beyond the Farthest Star, At the Rescue of Me, We're Not in Kansas Anymore (Toto has left the building), Lift Him Up, Fortunate Recipient of Another New Day and his latest intergenerational worship CD, The Maker and the Master, are unique. His DVD, Saturday Morning All Week Long, is made up of 12 music videos that will rock elementary school kids like few DVDs around. Alan’s music is unmistakably “kid,” with musical honesty, Biblical substance, and that essential back-beat groove that carries the message of Jesus past the unbeliever’s defense system.
He has authored seven workbooks for tweens. Disciplification (how to follow Jesus), Bibliotectonics (a study of the world’s most earth-shaking book), Designamentals (creation and the meaning of Life), Orthodoctrines (what all Christians believe), Alienpilgrimometry (what happens to our Christianity when it slams into our daily existence), Cryptoleganomics (why Jesus is the only way), and Salvificology (how God does ministry). They've been enthusiastically received by all ages.
Alan has recently been working on a brand new book for all ages titled Ask My Pastor, He Knows That Stuff, as well as a novel for adults called Interstellar Bag Man.
He’s fresh and different. But he’s not weird. You’ll like him.
Some say our world is messed up. They're right. It's messed up because we've become disconnected from God. We became disconnected when we stopped making him and what he wants our first priority. To reconnect, we need Jesus.
My name is Alan Root Robertson. I've been a musicianary for about 25 years. That means I've traveled around the U.S. making friends, sharing songs and laughs, watching for a chance to introduce my friends to Jesus.
I hope you know Jesus loves you. If not, stop everything and tell Jesus you're ready to stop wanting the world to revolve around you and let him be the boss of your life. Tell him you're sorry for the things you did that you knew he didn't want you to. Ask Jesus to give you a new start: ask to be born again. Then read the Gospel of John in the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you Jesus as you read.
And if I may say so, those are some REALLY nice shoes you've got there.
Q. You call yourself a "Musicianary." Since Websters has not yet decided to include that word in the dictionary, tell us what that means.
"Musicianary" is a term that was used by a now extinct group of Tartars on the plains of Tibet who would send out rock and roll guitarists to spread the good news that Jesus has come to earth and made everything right between us and God if we will repent, trust him and be born again. It is thought to be a combination of the root words (pun intended) musical missionary. However, our documentation is sparse because those particular Tartars kept no written records except of the collections during Sunday School. Their IRS was worse than ours.
Q. So, how did you end up being a "Musicianary?"
I didn't want to sing for kids. Everyone knows kids are both small and age-challenged and cannot purchase product without assistance. But God got my attention through a series of nudges, the last one coming from Michael W Smith. Not THAT Michael W Smith, though. No. Wait! It WAS that one.
But once I had reconciled myself to the horrors of singing for kids, I heard Maurice Sendak tell someone that he didn't write books for kids, he just wrote books he liked himself and everybody told him they were for kids and he was OK with that. I thought God was no longer telling me my music was no good, he was saying that he could use music I like with kids! That helped set the tone of my ministry. I often wonder if I played electric cello if God could still use me. Well, not often, but I have wondered. Once. Now twice.
Q. We've noticed that your songs often have people jumping around. Is it possible to become more physically fit while watching you?
Working with kids is like being a cat wrangler. They're all over the place. And kids are gonna have fun with or without you. So the jumping around was kind of a defense mechanism to keep from completely losing control of the room, the event, and any chance of telling them about Jesus in some semblance of a quiet moment. It was that or tasers and cattle prods. Not wanting the lawsuits, I went with jumping around.
As far as the health benefits you allude to, you only have so many ticks of the clock, and if you want to waste them on exercise, it's totally your call.
Q. You focus a lot of your ministry on Tweens. What is it about this age group that appeals to you?
Once again, what is known in French theological terms as a "joyeux fumblette:" a happy accident. I just found myself being able to reach these guys. I think it's less me or what I do and more God's favor. But I did discover that as I focused on these 4th through 6th graders with my ministry, I did NOT lose the younger ones, whereas I could lose the older ones in a twinkling of an eye if I ministered on the younger level. Again, self-preservation took me to this tween ministry thing.
But all that aside, I think tweens absolutely rock. Hard. They have more going for them, in my opinion, than any age before or after. They still have a playful, imaginative outlook on life, but they can follow theological concepts better than most adults. I would rather teach a group of tweens than any other age for this very reason. They are the best focus of our resources if you go strictly by return on investment. Ministry to these guys has great yield!
Q. Tell us a bit about the books you've written for Tweens.
I wanted to be several places at once. Not like the transporter in Star Trek, but more like a vibrating electron that seemingly has two locations simultaneously. Never mind that. As a matter of fact, forget I even said the sentence starting with "Not like the transporter" and just go with wanting to be more effective. I had a lot of experience trying to reach the tween mind, and so naturally, I thought of multiplying this experience by writing workbooks that were not little children books with great graphics, or dumbed-down teen books. It was a lot of fun for me, and I learned a lot that I have of course forgotten so don't ask me. No, I remember most of it, go ahead and quiz me on it if you want.
The books are excursions into the basics of our faith: scriptural authority, Divine creation, following Jesus, sound doctrine, the Cross, Salvation, and what happens to our Christianity when it slams into our daily lives. Or as I call them, Designamentals, Cryptoleganomics, Alienplilgrimometry, Bibliotectonics, Salvificology, Orthodoctrines and Disciplification. OK, spell those and use them in a sentence.