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Are Worship Choirs Still Relevant

Are Worship Choirs Still Relevant

Christine Loy
  • Choral singing is a significant part of American life with more than 54 million Americans singing today.
Modern Worship Choir

Reviving the Heart of Worship

We’ve all been hearing this question for a while now:

Are choirs a thing of the past?

Some say an emphatic, “yes” considering choirs old and outdated, yet some who know the secret say, “No, they are fabulous…and you should have one at your church!” Why start a Worship Choir at your church in 2024? Are they still relevant?

Let me back up a bit. In February of 2022, after COVID-19 had decimated our music programs and worship opportunities, many churches and most choirs and teams across the country were in ‘rebuild’ mode. As the Worship leader and Director of Music at New Hope Church in Powell, OH, I stood in front of my dwindling 17-member choir, which once had over 50 singers and team members, and with a sigh, I said to myself, I’m not sure I have the energy to ‘rebuild’ this program. It took so much time to get the numbers thriving in the first place, to build this choir back up seemed like a task that would overwhelm all my remaining energy. As dejected as I was, I remember thinking there were other churches all around my city with the same shrunken post-COVID numbers with the same problem.

Always the Encourager, the Holy Spirit prompted and helped me ponder a few more thoughts. What if we all got together in one place? We’d have our coveted 50 or 60 singers again or more.. and we’d have a beautiful Kingdom Worship opportunity. And, how can we promote Worship Choirs in our churches again? How can I train singers and give them more confidence? How can I support worship leaders, teams, and choir members to worship with their whole heart and voice and what might that look like?

When we think about building worship choirs in today’s churches, we consider three groups of people. How will it benefit

  1. Your Congregation
  2. Your Choir Members
  3. You as a Leader

GOOD FOR YOUR CONGREGATION

For your congregation, one of the most powerful benefits the choir provides is that it boosts energy in the room. Joy is contagious. When many people are enthusiastically singing praises, the whole room will fill with the Joy of the Lord! Your choir helps lead the way. They are a worship-leading choir.

The worship choir is also a permission-giving entity. They give your congregation permission to sing out and join in the praise of Jesus uniquely. They give testimony and model what engaging and participatory worship looks like.

Over the years, we’ve seen the pendulum swing to a more spectator, concert look and feel in our churches. This happened mostly when we put the three best (select) singers on the platform with the band and let them lead by themselves. As a voice coach, it is not uncommon for me to hear comments like..… “Those three singers up there have beautiful voices… and, wow! They are awesome, I could never sing like that or I don’t sing very well, so I’m NOT going to participate, I’m just going to listen.”

Your congregation is inspired to join in by seeing themselves in your worship choir.

GOOD FOR YOUR CHOIR MEMBERS

In 2019 a Chorus Impact Study was put out by Chorus America which reviewed the impact of choral singing in America. According to its findings,

“Choral singing is a significant part of American Life with more than 54 million Americans singing today. Adults who sing in chorus report many significant personal benefits, including feeling less lonely and more connected to others.”

If academic and community choirs are growing in America, why not in our churches?

For the choir members themselves, singing in the choir makes a lasting impact. The worship choir becomes a strong small group, a community, experiencing life together, laughing, and learning about the Lord together. It becomes an accountability group for discipleship and prayer. Allowing more people to minister through music gives them purpose. Giving them their purpose allows them to grow in their faith and confirmation that they matter! They matter to God and each other. This is a breeding ground for discipleship.

Some of our older population join in your choir because it gives them a place to belong and feel like they can still contribute. Don’t be discouraged if your choir is full of elderly singers. These dear souls are wise and are very committed to you as a leader. Pair them up with someone from the younger generations and watch the Kingdom work come to life.

Psalm 145:5 -7
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

GOOD FOR THE LEADERS

Now for you as a leader, how will you benefit from having a worship choir? Oh, you’re going to be in the Holy Spirit training camp! There is nothing better. Your sphere of direct influence and mentoring will instantly grow, providing more mentoring and discipleship opportunities. God may be training you for something bigger and better; loving people, working through difficulty, encouraging others, casting vision, learning to trust Him for every need, including more tenors.

One thing I’ll mention, as a leader, is your level of ENTHUSIASM makes a huge impact on your momentum! Your choir members will pick up on your energy, joy, and excitement about worshiping the Lord together as a group! If you are ‘old and stuffy’, you can bet your singers might be ‘old and stuffy’, too.

But if you are energized, excited, full of encouragement, and purpose, you will cast the vision that the Worship Choir is an exciting, joyful bunch of worshippers who love to sing Praise to Jesus! THIS is what we all want! A community of singers who love the Lord and want to praise Him with authenticity.

Yet, the blessings are vast. Leading worship in front of a worshiping choir makes your job as a Worship Leader even easier. It is simple. You start the song and they back you up. It’s like having a good wingman. The worship choir is an extension of your praise team or band. One of the greatest joys in ministry is to see the spiritual growth in others and to see the Lord be lifted and glorified by everyone in the room. This is what the choir brings to the worship leader.

If the Holy Spirit is prompting you as a leader to start a choir, don’t forget He is going to equip you with everything you need to grow it. God is for you and He is working on your behalf. Being persistent in faith and prayer, believing the Lord has given you this mission. He will provide what you need, whether it’s more singers, knowledge, understanding, choral conducting skills, the right music, or more space on your platform.

PROMPTING of the HOLY SPIRIT

On that post-pandemic night in February, the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart to start a program to encourage and train singers, equip and build up teams, and promote worshiping choirs in our churches. It took me one year to act on that prompting (my own faith journey) and in May 2023, WorshipSingers.com was launched. Our mission is to equip train and support singers, leaders, teams, and choir members to worship the Lord with freedom, confidence, and joy.

The simplest reason you would start a Worship Choir at your church in 2024 is if you are even thinking about it or exploring how it might work, it is likely the Lord who is prompting you in some way. If it’s on God’s mind and your heart is being prompted, then Worship Choirs ARE relevant for churches today!

So get to it!

— — — — — —

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