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.