Are Choirs Still Relevant in 21st Century Worship?

Hat tip to LifeWay Worship’s twitter feed: Are Choirs Still Relevant in 21st Century Worship?  This is an article in response to a man giving his thesis about choirs…it is an interesting read.

Here is an excerpt from the article: “THE CHOIR IS BIBLICAL!?! I hear that argument a lot (you didn’t say it, I know). Only inasmuch as the trumpet is Biblical, The trumpet is mentioned over 130 times in scripture. I play trumpet in worship – but I know that the trumpet in not a necessary instrument in a corporate worship service. The choir, yes, is mentioned, but not as a crucial element. Therefore, this is a weak argument.”

Check out the article here.

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5 thoughts on “Are Choirs Still Relevant in 21st Century Worship?

  1. Pingback: January Recap of ChurchMusicToday.Net « ChurchMusicToday.Net

  2. here ya go! sorry for the link confusion and thanks for reading the site…

    “Selah
    A musical interlude from Brother John

    Greetings!

    This week’s newsletter is a little different. A few months ago, I was queried by a doctoral student on the relevancy of choirs in the 21st century. I will now share with you my responses. I would love to hear yours. My responses are in red.

    Happy New Year!

    Hello; I am writing my thesis on Choirs: Are They Relevant in the 21st Century American Church. Part of that thesis is gathering data information across the country and across denominational lines. If you have about five minutes, I would like to include your response in the thesis work. Please answer the questions below:

    Briefly give your philosophy of the purpose and usage of choirs in worship?

    Well, I’m a choir guy. No doubt about it. The problem with being a choir guy is when you make it the primary worship ensemble. The primary ensemble MUST be the congregation. When the choir helps to support and “prompt” this ensemble, it is vital, important and relevant.

    THE CHOIR IS BIBLICAL!?! I hear that argument a lot (you didn’t say it, I know). Only inasmuch as the trumpet is Biblical, The trumpet is mentioned over 130 times in scripture. I play trumpet in worship – but I know that the trumpet in not a necessary instrument in a corporate worship service. The choir, yes, is mentioned, but not as a crucial element. Therefore, this is a weak argument.

    PRAISE is Biblical.

    My main philosophy of using a choir is, I hope, larger than the style issue. I’m an advocate for an inclusive worship ministry – the choir is the pinnacle of this philosophy.

    Also the choir demonstrates extravagance in worship.

    However, the heart-attitude in a choir must be right. To any degree that choir detracts from the worship is the line of extinction (or the fact it doesn’t add to the service). This must also be determined by the culture of the church. The director/worship leader’s job is to keep the cross of Christ first, and foremost in their view.

    In your opinion are choirs relevant in today’s culture? Yes/No. Please explain and include the different styles of worship such as traditional, blended, and contemporary.

    The question may be too broad. All choirs are not the same. No one, in their right mind, can go up to Carol Cymbala and say of her Brooklyn Tab Choir, “Sorry your group is no longer relevant”, nor can someone go up to a cyan-clad clan standing in front of many of our churches, who never make eye contact, sing an anthem, and be nominal believers and say, “Hey, you guys are making a comeback!”

    I email you two nights after the American Music Awards. Who got the attention? Justin Bieber – who was with Bieber? A mid-sized, interactive choir. This group was no larger than the mid-sized town county-seat church choir. However, they had dynamism and joy – they were relevant to that moment.

    As long as people are singing together, choirs will have relevancy. However, each choir has a unique personality – it must match that of the heart-cry and mission of the church, traditional, contemporary, cowboy or hip-hop. If it doesn’t, to whatever degree they are off, it is irrelevant. (It should also match the harmonicity of music of the culture – open S.A.T.B. chords substituted for contemporary head-chart harmonies).

    In your opinion, what do you think the choir will look like during the next ten to twenty years? (Include the look or presentation), style of music, and involvement.

    The ones who sound, look, smell, feel like their church body will be alive, relevant and accepted, If they don’t they won’t.

    I think the whole argument sounds on the surface that it is a style conundrum. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many choirs have died off, many times not because of relevancy – but because it takes a lot of work and dedication to lead a group of warriors this size into spiritual battle (2 Chron. 20:20-22). It is easier for worship leaders to work with 4 gifted people, call it a praise team, call it relevant, and call it a day, in the name of style and reflecting the culture.

    If that is their true motivation, I’m really cool with that. There are many, many churches where a choir is not necessarily a good fit. However, if the reason – deep in his heart is to avoid the bother, and the work; then it is a sin situation. I fear that sometimes this is the case.

    I will also say that I think that the current “rock star” attitude of many praise teams, will go the way of the anthem-singing choirs of the 1950’s. Both are a reflection of the music of their day, and will probably go by the wayside. The teams that contact the Spirit and the people, will continue to live.

    Thank you for your time. The purpose of the paper is to come to a definitiveconclusion that church choirs are either relevant or they are non- relevant in today’s American church.

    I’m afraid this is part of a bigger question than choirs, this is a question of is the worship ministries in touch with the worship cry of the people.

    To say “definitive conclusion” on the continued existence of church choirs, is the same as saying the worthiness of the existence of the piano or guitar in worship. They are tools, which can be used for edifying God, or edifying the muse. The former can and will survive, the latter will end and not soon enough for my tastes.

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