Are Choirs Still Relevant in Modern Worship?

 In Blog, Church Health, Frontpage, Music and Worship
Mark Powers

Mark C. Powers is the Director of the Worship and Music office of the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC). Powers earned degrees from Furman University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kay, live in Columbia, South Carolina. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Yes, I admit that many of our worship leaders and pastors hold divided opinions on the issue of choirs in modern worship. Yet in our culture we have seen a real resurgence of TV shows like “The Voice”, “Glee,” “The Sing Off,” and others that feature singers and choirs. Choirs are popping up in secular concerts, award shows, variety acts, and more. Some of the most cutting edge schools of modern worship continue to weave the choir into the fabric of their worship training.

I want to challenge you to rethink how a modern worship choir can be a viable way to revitalize your worship and involve more potential disciples in the worship life of your church! Here’s why:

The Bible tells me so

You may not be aware of it, but 54 of the Psalms are addressed to the choir director. Also, when the temple in Jerusalem was first dedicated and then again dedicated when Nehemiah rebuilt the temple, choirs were prominent in the dedication service. In fact, 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells us that it was the choir and orchestra that delivered the worship so powerfully that the glory of God fell on all those assembled in the temple.

Choirs still fit the cultural context of some communities

While statistics show choirs are in decline, this does not mean that they should be omitted from our worship ministries altogether. The National Congregations Study from Duke University reports that, despite the decline, forty percent of conservative evangelical churches report choirs are still viable in their services.

Choirs are a wonderful training ground for worship leadership.

Choirs help you identify the talent God has brought you. Choirs help us find gifted singers, players, and songwriters that would have never come except for the choir. Instead of limiting the choir to only the three or four best singers, accept God’s gift of all those who have a voice and a heart for God!

The choir creates a dynamic for congregational participation and unity.

Authentic worship demands corporate participation on many levels. The choir’s visual and acoustic energy serves as a powerful encouragement for congregational participation. A unified choir of all ages and all varieties of people also paints a beautiful picture of unity for congregations and the world.

The choir creates a dynamic for discipleship and missions to your community.

There are many resources available today whereby choir members can be discipled toward spiritual maturity. Then they may use their musical giftedness to touch your community by leading musical groups or classes in multi-housing, urban, and suburban settings. Contact us for a free TRIO Discipleship Group guidebook and other worship ministry discipleship resources.

But Where Can We Find a Choir Director?

Many feel they are not qualified to lead a choir. But truthfully, anyone who can teach harmonies from a demo CD to singers can lead a choir. There is also a wealth of resources our office can provide to help sharpen the tools of choir leading. You can ask for our Basic Conducting DVDs and other online links.

Remember that God will provide leadership for the things He leads us to do. You probably have church members who are music teachers in local public schools and other settings who would like to exercise their giftedness to start and lead a choir.

A modern worship choir is a valuable tool for the Gospel in the hand of our awesome God.

Please contact me at 803-227-6166 or markpowers@scbaptist.org if you would like our SCBC Worship & Music Office to help you explore this further or provide modern worship choir resources. We are here to serve you!

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