A Lively Discussion on the “Question”
I have really enjoyed the robust discussion generated by my blog last Monday – A Question for Pastors, Worship Leaders and Church Musicians. First of all, it did my heart good to know that my Mom was not the only person reading my blog. Many were appreciative of what I shared, while others took exception with parts of it. It was a great learning experience for me, and I was challenged by many of the comments.
I do want to follow up on one aspect of the responses – and that is what some felt like was my defense of the use of choirs in churches.
When I started out writing, I had no intention of making the blog about choirs at all. As a matter of fact, I really don’t feel like a defense of choirs is even needed by me or anyone else. Choirs were God’s idea – He told leaders in the Old Testament (I Chronicles 15 and Nehemiah) to have them, and Revelation tells us that we will all sing together someday. I’m pretty sure it won’t be a praise team of seven singing, “Worthy is the Lamb.” So, whatever anyone has to say about choirs and all of us singing together will have to take second place to what God has already said about it.
And, how do you define what a “choir” is anyway? I Chronicles describes a group of 288 singers – that would be a mighty big praise team – but who can say the five folks that sing in church aren’t a choir? What is the legal minimum to qualify as a choir anyway?
What I am concerned about is “engagement.” I’m talking about congregations where the corporate worship responses have become mere sitting and staring. A great deal has been written about why people don’t sing as much as they used to – the types of songs, the keys, the types of aesthetics in the room. Shoot, I even wrote about it myself in an article titled, “They Are Not Singing Anymore” a few years ago.
One contributing factor is that along the way we stopped teaching people how and why to sing in many of our children and student ministries. One thing you can say about choirs that would help the worship of the church is that in choir, more people are learning how to use their voice to worship God. That is a good thing.
And, when you have a choir, the congregation has more vocal sound to “hide” their voice in, which will help them participate more without feeling exposed. I could go on and on.
I recognize that each individual church has it’s own set of realities that they manage as they plan and lead worship. I respect that each leader deals with those realities the best way they can.
My admonition is just this – whatever you do, involve as many people in it as you can. I’m afraid passive worshipers tend to live as passive Christians – something we already have way too many of in our world.
Director, LifeWay Worship