I grew up singing in choirs. To be honest, there’s only been a handful of the years of my life where I have not either led a choir or been in one. It began when I was a cute little kid who sang in the children’s choir at church. I could barely match pitch and definitely couldn’t stand still for very long. I’m thankful for the long-suffering ladies who led our band of little ragamuffins. Through elementary, Jr. High, High School and College, my years were all filled with school choirs, community choirs and church choirs. Choirs have helped me tour much of the world, and worship with many congregations. In other words, I love choirs.
But why do I think you need this “out-dated,” sometimes “geeky,” and “irrelevant” form of music in your church? I have 5 reasons.
A choir is made up of people. It requires people to be together and spend quality time with each other. In this day and age of online personalities, it’s nice to set aside the technology and see people face to face. (I should also add that singing in a choir will make you happier and is good for your health.) Singing in a choir builds community… even in a virtual choir.
2. Great Music, and education
Not only can a choir be fun, it can actually teach you something. We live in a world where people no longer know how to read music. One reason is because they are no longer exposed to music notation. It’s becoming a lost language but music is not that difficult. If the note goes up, the pitch goes up, and visa versa. It’s really that simple. But beyond learning to read music, you can learn about other cultures, church history, theology and even personal discipline.
3. The Body of Christ on Display
1 Corinthians 12:14-20
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
Choral singing brings together different voices, different pitches, and different rhythms, yet all working for a common goal. While they sing in unison they demonstrate unity. When they sing in harmony, the differences create a stunning beauty of voices working for one purpose, but each using a unique voicing to accomplish that goal. In addition, many people get the opportunity to serve the church on a regular, consistent basis.
4. No Room for Pride
Even though shows that highlight choral singing like “Glee” and “Pitch Perfect” would have you believe that a choir is a competition for the spotlight and solos, a real choir has no room for egos. If one voice sticks out above the rest, its a bad choir. The best choirs blend with each other. A chorister needs to set aside pride for the good of the whole choir.
5. The Glory of God Proclaimed
Many of the Psalms are written often for choirs (Psalm 4; 5; 6; 8; 9; 11; 12; 13; 14; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 31; 36; 39; 40; 41; 42; 44; 45; 46; 47; 49; 51; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57;58; 59; 60; 61; 62; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 70; 75; 76; 77; 80; 81; 84; 85; 88; 109; 139; 140). Psalm 19 even gives the sense that creation sings in a joined chorus to declare the glory of God. What a great opportunity for believers to worship the Almighty God. If choral singing is given such a prominent position in the worship of God’s people in Scripture, we should probably take it as a cue for our own worship.
To give thanks, Nehemiah assembled two great choirs to dedicate the Wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:31-43). It’s a great tradition of the church, and one that should not be lost because of a negligent generation. Now listen to this incredible choral song which reminds us to behold the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”