Three Things That Mark a Successful Choir in Modern Worship - The Spiritual
Featuring Vern Sanders Posted on April 2, 2010
A church choir’s primary task is to singchoral music in the context of a worship service. It can be easy to get the musical cart before the spiritual horse and forget that mission.
When a church choir gathers in rehearsal,if some time is not spent upon spiritual matters, it can seem as if that choir perceives itself as a secular organization with a Sunday morning concert schedule. The director’s responsibility to provide for, in Kemp’s terms, the “whole person,” includes time spent on spiritual matters. Devotionals and prayer time may seem to be at odds with the musical demands of the choir’s schedule, but they are necessary nonetheless.
One of the best spiritual choir “practices” I have ever seen was the choir that devoted the last 5 minutes of each rehearsal to having one of the members share about his or her life, and how God was working therein.
I heard singers with testimonies that would break your heart, and others who needed the entire time to explain their great need for prayer to support themselves or their families. The experience from week to week was a living lesson on the makeup of the body of Christ, and the joys and struggles of individuals who were faithfully walking in the way.
Perhaps the biggest benefi t from adding intentionally spiritual time to a rehearsal is that the shared experience develops stronger relationships between choir members, and with Christ. When people care about each other, they have a tendency to “go the extra mile” in so many ways. It is not a surprise, then, that a spiritually healthy choir is often considered the “biggest small group” in a church.
When it is clear to the congregation that a choir is also concerned with spiritual matters, it is less likely for a congregation member to perceive of the choir as an “elite” group. It is also easier for a “less than
professional” musician to join a choir that is not solely concerned with perfecting the double dotted rhythm in the stile gallant (or pick your favorite elitist reference here).
I have had many singers join a choir who were less than sterling in their musical capabilities, but who served as spiritual beacons to the choir while they were singing in it. The added bonus here is that a choir
who spends time in spiritual development generally communicates the spiritual message of an anthem to a much greater degree. No longer are the words and music just “notes on a page.” Instead the message becomes one that is delivered with authenticity and passion.
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