Choirs are biblical.

It’s easy to miss, but the Book of Psalms is filled with detailed notes to the music director explaining the style, the melody, and the occasion of a particular song. Old Testament worship was led by great numbers of trained singers and musicians. And the Psalms were the hymnal of the New Testament church.

This is not to say that choirs are the only valid scriptural model for worship, but to dismiss choirs altogether as archaic and irrelevant means we risk forsaking a rich biblical tradition.

Choirs encourage excellence in worship.

A choir rarely performs “off the cuff.” Rather, the director spends time and resources finding the perfect arrangement of the perfect song. Then, the director spends time rehearsing singers and musicians to perform the song with beauty and precision. Choir members learn the parts and hopefully transcend the notes on the page—allowing the song to speak to and through them to the congregation. Ideally, a “performance” piece inspires people to praise. Likewise, using the choir for congregational songs is a powerful prompt to worship: people clearly hear the melody and join their voices as one. A practiced choir encourages a sense of awe and reverence through their excellence and preparation.

Choirs celebrate the human voice.

There is something extraordinary about hearing a group of practiced singers use their God-given instruments to worship their Creator. I remember the first time I ever heard a gospel mass choir. The summer before I went to college, I attended a community talent show at Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. There were folk singers and rock bands and soloists. Then the choir took the stage. About ten seconds after they started singing, every hair on my head stood up. I had goose bumps on my goose bumps. The sheer intensity and emotion of those voices eclipsed any of the prior performances. We were on our feet, singing along—transformed from spectators into participants. Their rich, passionate voices touched something deep within us. And in doing so, they connected our hearts to our Father’s.

Choirs can inspire and lead worship.

One of the arguments against using choirs in contemporary worship services is that it relegates congregants to the role of bystanders. As if we’re saying, “Let the professionals do the worshiping—you just sit here and enjoy it.” Instead—the argument continues—we ought to make congregational singing as simple and inviting as possible. So we do away with hymnals that have written harmony parts and simply project lyrics on the screen to be sung in unison. But this great “dumbing down” doesn’t necessarily encourage more participation. You don’t have to look far to find modern worship settings where people are “spectating” just as much as they might have done with a choir.

The issue isn’t as much if a choir should be used; rather, it’s how a choir can be used to facilitate meaningful worship. Yes, it’s possible to make your choir (or worship band, for that matter) the center of attention. But that’s “worship malpractice” insomuch as it misdirects your congregation away from the true object of worship, the Lord. But properly used, a choir (or worship band) can lead your congregation to worship in Spirit and in truth.

Choirs can be redemptive communities.

We live in the age of the superstar worship leader and celebrity pastor. Choirs can be an antidote to this spiritual epidemic. A healthy choir affirms all it’s members—not just the high-profile ones. A choir can be a redemptive community where all the imperfect parts of the Body of Christ are cherished—especially when someone is going through a tough time. A choir is a place where you belong, where you are missed when you’re not there, and where you can contribute your modest talent so that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Effective directors treat their choirs as “a ministry within a ministry.” They take time to share devotional thoughts, prayer requests, and pot-luck dinners. Like the fabled bar in the TV show Cheers, their choir is a place “where everyone knows your name.” This is especially important in larger churches, where it’s easy to remain anonymous, or worse, overlooked.

Choirs make us work together.

Similarly, the American archetype is that of uncompromised individualism. We resist being woven into the fabric of a community—especially one where we must constantly subjugate ourselves to a leader and submit our talents to one another.

Choirs can help cure the disease of self-centeredness. To succeed, we must yield ourselves to one another. We must listen to each other. We must follow the leader’s direction. Looking away for even a moment can be embarrassing. Straying from the notes can be disastrous. Choirs teach us mutuality and submission within the context of an endeavor greater than ourselves.

Choirs can encourage musical diversity.

Most “choir folks” are more musically diverse than you’d think. They appreciate lots of different styles of music because—somewhere along the way—they had a choir director who made them sing a hymn in German or an early American folksong or an a cappella arrangement of a pop song from the radio. Yes, choir nerds can be a little snooty, but I’ll bet they’re fans of music from several centuries and not just a certain decade.

In contrast, most of the top modern worship songs on CCLI’s chart were written in the past 20 years.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that folks who sing in choirs are often more musically eclectic than those who lead worship bands. If we’re going to move beyond the “worship wars” of the past few decades and embrace the “Both/And of Worship,” we’re going to have to stop pandering to the mind-numbing sameness of music made by and for people just like us. The Church is bigger than one style, and making a choir part of your worship experience can help your congregation resist the temptation of homogeneity. 

And in closing...

And so, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I close by appealing to the witness of Scripture, to the majestic power of disciplined voices in song, to the spiritual benefit of being part of a redemptive community, and to the richness that comes from diversity in worship.

I ask that you render a verdict in favor of the importance of church choir program in your local church.

Support your choir director—or recruit one if you don’t have one. Set aside funds to build a library of great music. Celebrate your choir every time they sing.

I rest my case.

诗歌班是合乎圣经的。

 《诗篇》中充满着音乐的详细笔记,解释其风格,旋律和特定歌曲的场合。 旧约的崇拜是由大量训练有素的歌手和音乐家领导的。 诗篇是新约教会的赞美诗。

 这并不是说诗歌班是唯一有效的礼拜典范,要不是因为它既陈旧又无关紧要,意味着我们可以放弃这丰富的圣经传统。

 诗歌班鼓励卓越的祭拜。

诗歌班很少临时随意的表演。相反的,导演将会花费时间和资源来寻找最完美歌曲跟编排。 然后排练歌手和音乐,以优美而精准的方式演唱这首歌。 诗歌班成员学习部分内容,希望超越页面上的音符-以歌曲与会众交谈,通过它与会众交流。 激发人们的称赞颂扬。 用诗歌班的歌曲敬拜及有力提示使人们清楚地听到旋律,以声音加入其中。 富有实践精神的诗歌班通过出色的准备来激发敬畏之情。

 诗歌班庆祝人类的声音。

 听到一群训练有素的歌手使用天赐的乐器敬拜造物主是一件很特别的事情。 我记得我第一次听到福音群众诗歌班是在上大学前的那个夏天,我参加了弗吉尼亚州朴次茅斯伍德罗·威尔逊高中的一场社区才艺表演。 有民间歌手,摇滚乐队和独奏家。 然后诗歌班登台。 他们开始唱歌大约十秒钟后,我头上的每一根头发都站了起来。 这些声音的纯粹强度和情感掩盖了先前的表演。 我们也站起来联合唱歌,从旁观者变成参与者。 他们丰富而热情的声音打动了我们内心深处的某些事物。 通过这样,他们将我们的心与父神的心相连。

 合唱团可以激发并引导敬拜。

 反对在当代敬拜活动中使用诗歌班的论点之一是,它将诗歌班委派给旁观者。 好像是在说:“让专业人士敬拜-您就坐在这里享受它。”也继续争论说-我们应该使会众歌尽简单和吸引人的歌。 因此取消了带有和声部分的赞美诗,而只将歌词投影到屏幕上即可使会众统一来唱。 这种做法并不一定会鼓励更多的参与者

也说通过诗歌班来促进有意义的崇拜。 有可能使您的诗歌班(或朝拜乐队)成为关注的焦点。 会使会众偏离了敬拜的真正对象,主。 但是诗歌班(或敬拜乐队)如果使用得当,可以带领您的会众在圣灵和真理中敬拜。

 诗歌班可以成为救赎社区。

我们生活在超级巨星崇拜领袖和名人牧师的时代。 诗歌班可以解决这种精神流行病。 健康的诗歌班肯定了所有成员,而不仅仅是知名度很高的成员。 诗歌班可以是一个救赎性的社区,在那里珍惜基督身体所有不完美的部分,尤其是当有人度过艰难时期时。 诗歌班是一个属于您的地方,不在的地方会想念您的地方,并且可以贡献自己的才华,使整体可以大于各个部分的总和。

有效的导演将其诗歌班视为“一个部委内的一个部门”。他们要分享奉献思想。 就像电视节目中欢呼声中的寓言栏一样,诗歌班是一个``每个人都知道你名字的地方''。在大型教堂中,这一点尤其重要,因为教堂很容易保持匿名,甚至更容易被忽视。

 合唱团使我们共同努力。

 诗歌班可以帮助治愈以自我为中心的疾病。 为了取得成功,我们必须彼此屈服。 我们必须互相倾听。 我们必须遵循领导者的指示。 诗歌班教会了我们相互的团结和顺服。

 合唱团可以鼓励音乐的多样性。

大多数“诗歌班成员”在音乐上比您想象的要多样化。 他们欣赏许多不同风格的音乐。

大多数顶级现代敬拜歌曲都是在过去20年中创作的。 诗歌班里唱歌的人通常比在教堂里带领乐队的人更具音乐风格。

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Christmas Intrada 2019: 

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