Music isn’t for everyone. You might even say that singing isn’t for most people. So, what do you do about that student choir that takes time away from discipleship and wastes valuable resources? Maybe you should kill it. Here are some arguments that might help:
Kill your student choir if:
- You want to create a “caste” system in your student ministry.
After you kill the choir, you will have to do something with the few students who have a “gift” for music. Since you want worship through music in your gatherings, you’ll need a student worship band. The rest can just enjoy the music they perform. And those students can enjoy their “celebrity” of being in the student worship band. Soon, you’ll have a fully developed hierarchy of spiritual people. And the surfs can just sit and watch how awesome the band is each week.
The added bonus here is that 10 years later, you’ll have a whole group of young adults that will watch a few singers lead – and it will only grow from generation to generation! Kill children’s choir too if you want to make it last for a long, long time.
- You want an atmosphere of non-participation.
Soon after you kill the choir and start your band, your core group will start watching worship. Turning all the lights off will speed this up. Soon, your passive worshippers will become passive listeners and passive participants in discussion groups. It won’t be long before the leader’s voice will be the only one ever heard. Talk about crowd control!
Besides, if all your students learned to use their voice in worship through a choir experience, they might become too active in corporate worship experiences and threaten the non-participant atmosphere of the church-wide worship services. That would be hard to handle for some.
- You want your students to focus on themselves.
Singing is a way for students to get their minds off of themselves and onto something (or someone) greater. It’s the reason some students resist going to choir because they don’t feel in control of the experience. By killing choir and training students to watch worship, you can help them maintain the constant focus on themselves and what they want to do. Now that they don’t have to sing, they can spend more time during the worship times thinking about what to text and which pictures to post.
- You want your students to maintain a weak prayer vocabulary.
It has been observed that people tend to pray with the words and thoughts they sing in worship. But, you like the repetitive tone of the spoken prayers of the students. Kill choir now if you don’t want them learning new and deeper things to say when they pray.
- You want the future leaders of your church to avoid any experiences that might broaden their development as a disciple.
After all, you know most of your students won’t be great singers. Why bother them with an experience outside of their strengths? They can find their place in the church without a choir. And when they are adults, they can sit and listen to the musicians play and sing during worship – just like they learned how to do when they were in the student ministry.
The ultimate results of this decision can vary from church to church depending on the music programs of the schools where you live. After all, churches can and should depend on local schools to develop our students in spiritual disciplines.
We don’t need a choir in our student ministry to do that.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.