By Mike Harland
And I say that with a great deal of confidence. I admit there are styles of music in the modern worship era more suited to choirs than others. I would add that the role of choirs in worship has also been a changing aspect of church practice through the years.
But, I’ll also add that most church leaders would rather influence 60 people than 6 if given the choice. Choirs make sense for a lot of reasons. That’s why our “tag line” for The Red Box (our choral preview club) proudly says that LifeWay Worship Resources is a “Proud Supporter of Choirs Everywhere!”
So, how do I know that choirs in worship will survive?
Simply stated, because choirs were God’s idea – not ours.
The history of choirs dates all the way back to worship in the Old Testament. In fact, there is little question that choirs were unique to Christian worship from the beginnings of music. The Mosque down the street won’t be having choir practice this Wednesday night. The use of choirs has entered into other forms of worship, but there is no doubt they began with God’s people.
Some say the only choir needed in worship is the one formed by the congregation. I used to say that the largest choir I led was the congregation. I still believe that’s true. But, what about the group of people that make up the church choir?
And, by the way, how many does it take to make a choir? Who knows? In I Chronicles 25:7 they numbered 288. That’s not exactly a vocal team. I’d say it’s more about who and what they do than how many.
A number of Psalms have the designation of “For the Choir Director.” I don’t think that was because the Director was the only one who would sing them. Clearly they were addressed to him because those Psalms were written to be sung by the choir – and apparently only the choir. If they were intended for everyone, they would not have been addressed to the choir director. (I certainly don’t think we are wrong for everyone to sing them now).
We don’t have to waste any of our energy convincing ourselves or anyone else that we should have choirs in worship. All we have to do is develop the people we have who feel called to be part of that service of worship and bring the power and impact of a choir to the worship of our God for His glory.
After all, God must like choirs. They were His idea.