Saturday, May 06, 2006

Praise Choirs in the Praise Band Church

It's not about the music ...

Ask the "man on the street" what the difference is between contemporary and traditional churches. You're likely to hear words like "organ", "hymns", and "choir" describing traditional churches, and "drums", "guitar", "rock", and "praise bands" describing contemporary churches. We know there are more differences than that, but to the untrained eye, those are right on target. As contemporary worship evolves, however, we're seeing more churches using at least some of the traditional elements of worship in fresh, contemporary ways. The traditional elements that are finding their way back are coming back because they are very effecive in helping the church accomplish its purposes - worshipping, serving, connecting, growing, and reaching.

A important example of this re-emergence is the church choir - refashioned into the praise choir. Praise choirs don't perform anthems. They lead worship. in fact, in churches where praise choirs are growing, the choirs are not about the music. They are about worshipping, serving, connecting, growing, and reaching. And that's why it's so important that we nurture the re-birth of choirs in our contemporary churches. They provide an effective place for us to accomplish our purpose.

In your church there is a surprising number of people who love music passionately, but don't have the talent to sing in your praise team. They wouldn't have the courage to stand in front of your congregation and sing a solo - and they probably shouldn't. But they feel the same things and music that you do. They have tunes running in thier heads all day long, like you. They are moved deeply by a thoughtful lyric. And their heart races when they hear a cool groove, or a great chord progression. But they don't have talent. So they don't have the oppotunity to participate in your music program.

The praise choir gives them that opportunity. With some coaching, some practice, some good music, and maybe some good part-writing on your part, along with the synergy of a large choral group, these people can pool thier passion for God and music into an amazing sound and force in your worship service. They can be amazing worship leaders!

But the best part is that, in the praise choir, they have a new place to connect, to serve, to grow, to reach, and to worship. It's worth the effort on your part; because it's not about the music. It's about fulfilling purpose. You'll have an opportunity to teach more people how to worship. And your rehearsals will be times of worship. Your praise choir members will connect with others in the group, and build relationships of faith that they'd never have if they didn't have the choir. You'll have provided a new, very fulfilling way for them to serve God and your church family. In the context of this new community and the music you are preparing, they'll grow spiritually. And though the praise choir, they'll have new opportunites to reach out and share their faith.

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