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14 Reasons to Have a Worship Choir

 

 
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Author: Greg Brewton
 
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Posted March 20, 2016 by

Have you seen the articles over the last few years lamenting the demise of the church choir? For many years now there has been a trend towards using a worship band and a small group of vocalists rather than a choir. Some think that a choir does not work well in a modern worship setting, but there are ways to involve a choir even in a modern worship style. Perhaps the choir needs to be equipped to sing in some different musical styles and to see themselves as encouragers in worship rather than always singing a choir anthem.

Why should you have a worship choir at your church? These are some of the reasons I support the use of a worship choir:

1. When a choir is trained to be leaders in worship, they bring great energy and involvement in the worship service. They bring visual and vocal vitality.

2. A worship choir can teach your congregation new songs.

3. A worship choir can encourage the congregation with songs that function as prayers or exhortation in worship.

4. A worship choir is also a great encouragement to the worship leader in worship. Having a large group of singers behind you as you lead the congregation is inspiring.

5. A worship choir gives many more people in your church an opportunity to serve. You may not need many singers for the worship praise team, but you could utilize an unlimited number of singers in a choir.

6. A worship choir can assist in the weekly worship services plus provide seasonal musical worship services at Christmas and Easter.

7. A worship choir expands the worship leader’s influence in the worship ministry and gives the worship leader the opportunity to disciple more people. This works even if the choir is used only once a month in worship.

8. A worship choir can be an extension of the church’s small group ministry as the choir provides opportunity for discipleship and fellowship.

9. A worship choir can be a wonderful outreach tool for your church in the community and on mission away from home.

10. A worship choir can provide life-long opportunities for people to serve the Lord. One of the men in my worship choir has sung in the choir for fifty years.

11. A worship choir can promote and encourage intergenerational worship. When you look at your platform on Sunday mornings, how many generations are represented on the worship team?

12. A worship choir gives the worship leader the opportunity to not only disciple the singers but to teach musical skills that can raise the level of musical excellence in the worship services.

13. A worship choir can bring musical diversity into the worship service by utilizing different music styles. Often times these styles are only assessable by the choir.

14. A worship choir can be a support to the many ministries of the church as the choir members take on other leadership positions in the church body. Choir members are often the strong leaders at your church.

I think all of these reasons to have a choir are important but for me personally discipleship is one of the top reasons. I believe discipleship is one of my main roles as a worship pastor. I have a great responsibility in choosing music for my congregation that helps them to grow in their walk with the Lord. I have an equally important role to disciple my worship team. When I have a choir it expands my ability to disciple more people in my church. If your church does not have a worship choir, consider starting one. You can expand your worship team, expand your pastoral influence, and encourage your congregation!

Greg Brewton is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Biblical Worship at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He also leads the worship choir at his church, Ninth and O Baptist Church.


13 Comments


  1.  
    Bonnie A Emett

    Choirs are wonderful…but it is almost a lost ministry. Congregations have been conditioned to the concert style of worship service…i.e., the leader, the singers, and lots of guitars. Also, the contemporary style songs do not lend themselves to choir singing as do the hymns and more ‘formal’ worship. Commitment of singers is a must and to have that, the director, Pastor, church must be encouraging and see the choir as a valuable worship ministry. I appreciate every one of the points made in this article, and the comments as well. God bless you all!




  2.  
    Dee

    Do any choirs still perform cantatas at Christmas or Easter? My pastor (who is not into music, doesn’t understand or know where cantatas came from, much ,less why choirs do them) feels that cantatas performed on holiday services prevent visitors from witnessing an actual worship service. He is reading a lot about church growth and has researched this. While he does not agree with everything hes reading, unfortunately this is one he is leaning toward. I have been a choir director for almost 30 years. I have my choir sing a cantata on Christmas and Easter. Our Christmas cantata is sometimes done on a Sunday evening or Christmas Eve. However, this year he has broken our cantata into theee services including Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. While other cantatas we have done could fit this model, this cantata does not. God has given me visons for what would be an awesome drama during the cantata. I feel I am being disobedient not sharing what God has given me. And how far should a pastor go with his involvement with the music ministry….when do you rely on those that you have entrusted their positions?




    •  
      Nic

      I feel your concerns. As a pastor, I was the Worship leader for my Church for many years until I became the Senior Pastor.

      1. The Pastor is responsible for the spiritual growth of the Church and in this case feels this is the best way to achieve that.
      2. you are called to work with the Pastor’s vision for the Church and when GOD gives you a vision for the choir is will tie in with the vision of the Pastor. You will need to spend some overtime with the Pastor and share what GOD is saying to you and work out the best way forward.
      3. Don’t you ever quit on your calling, it is noble and precious.




  3.  
    Tony

    Bob makes an excellent point on commitment – certainly true in any ministry.

    Reasons 4, 5, 10 & 11 are valid points pertaining to a choir.

    1-3, 8-9,& 12 are far from unique to a choir.

    Reason #6:
    “A worship choir can assist in the weekly worship services…” In what way that a Praise Team cannot?
    “…plus provide seasonal musical worship services at Christmas and Easter.” A given

    “How do I disciple thee? Let me count the ways.” 7, 8, & 12

    13 depends upon the gifts – not how many are leading.

    14 echoes a similar point in an earlier article on choirs. Further, rewording same expresses my experience w/same:

    “How does a worship choir support other ministries of the church UNLESS the choir members take on other leadership positions in the church body?” Choir members are NOT leaders at MY church. When they’re not singing, they just show up like the rest of the “eighty percenters.”




  4.  
    Gibzon

    Bob nailed it! “Singers abandoned it first” I believe every one of the points listed in this article can be accomplished with half a dozen people leading worship with passion and energy on the platform. We have 6 praise singers and myself leading the worship and we have multiple generations represented and great energy, and leadership from our praise singers. they teach the congregation new songs and teach them how to worship! It is a great small group where discipleship happens, and leadership training and development. We also have other singers that we are training and rotating with, so that these incredible leaders can be used in other ministries where they bring strength and joy to other ministries!
    Choirs are awesome if you can raise up 20-30 worship leaders who bring that kind of energy and passion week after week with good attitudes and godly motives. If you are accomplishing that then I am super impressed with your incredible leadership ability and the favor of God on your ministry and your church! I pray God sends us those people and grants me wisdom to manage the people he sends.
    But in the mean time, be encouraged, these exciting points above can be accomplished with 6 passionate worship leaders!




  5.  
    Carolyn Vanover

    I, personally, love having a Choir in Church. It is a form of worship for me. I have been Blessed many times, by the Psalms sung by the Choir and Congregation, together. I believe it prepares us to be Blessed by the Pastors Sermon.




  6.  
    Gordon Miller

    Greg,
    Thanks for the article. I do think another great advantage to having a choir is the fact that when so many worshipers are agreeing together, it creates a contagious worship atmosphere! Our choir sings approximately once/month, and we do use vocal teams the other Sundays. I feel like this is the best of both worlds, and gives us flexibility to change our musical styles from Sunday to Sunday.

    Bob – I’ve been a long time choir director as well, and I feel your pain! It is hard to get people to commit, and it’s disappointing when people no longer want to serve in the choir. I just want to encourage you. I hear passion in your comments – passion for choir ministry, passion for music, passion for THE CHURCH – God’s people. I encourage you to hold the bar high. Don’t apologize for the level of commitment it takes, and see who comes alongside of you for the extreme honor of leading worship. I know it’s difficult, but focus on those who are present, who want to be part, rather than those that do not want to commit. As Greg was encouraging us, we need to pour into our volunteers – disciple them. When they catch our passion we become an incredible force for the Kingdom.
    Grace & Peace,
    Gordon




  7.  
    Carrie

    I LOVE discipling members of my team and dream of having a choir someday. (We currently are in a rental space and simply have no room for a choir.) Thank you for your encouraging article!




  8.  
    Sharon Brodin

    I agree with Bob that sometimes getting people to commit can be tough. Our church uses a small choir seasonally — usually Christmas and Good Friday/Easter — so it’s a shorter time commitment. That’s been working for us. Not so much for regular worship then, but more special occasion.

    We love the multi-generational aspect too, and chance to develop new relationships.

    Thanks for the article, Greg!




  9.  
    Kevin H.

    I recently became the choir director at a local church. They had been singing the songs from 1950’s era. i came from a church that had a praise team that sang contemporary along with the hymns – a blended service. As an arranger, I saw this as an opportunity to share the “newer” Christian music with those who had never heard of Chris Tomlin, etc. Since I started, we have done several contemporary songs in a SATB format with piano. The response has been great!! The message is still the same, even if it is delivered by a choir. Great article!




  10.  
    Bob

    All of these reasons are valid. But one of the misunderstandings about the demise of choirs is that, while churches sometimes make a directional decision to cease having a choir ministry, it’s more often the case that singers’ commitments to an ongoing choir ministry wane to the point that a choir is no longer viable. It’s been my experience, and the experience of many other choir leaders, that today’s Christians, in general, are far less likely to be willing to commit to any volunteer ministry on a long-term, regular weekly basis. They don’t want to feel like they have to attend a weeknight rehearsal during a busy week, or that they don’t have the freedom to be gone on a Sunday morning when the choir is singing. They are also more resistant today than at any time I can remember (and I’ve been directing church choirs for 35 years) to any form of accountability for their regular involvement. It takes a lot more effort today to fill a choir loft than it used to, and many church leaders decide the money and energy it takes to prop up the choir ministry would be better used elsewhere. In other words, many churches abandon choir because singers abandoned it first.





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