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The Changing Role of the Choir in Worship

In 1968, sacred music changed forever.  The “Jesus Movement” in Southern California gave birth to what would eventually become known as Contemporary Christian Music or CCM.  Until that time, most churches, regardless of denomination, had about the same musical offering:  an organ, maybe a piano, but definitely a choir.  After the emergence of CCM, things would never be that simple again.

Since that time in the 1960s, the role of the choir in worship has changed, and many churches have even done away with their choirs for good — opting instead for a smaller group of singers called a Praise Team.  Many have discovered, though, that the impact of a choral group leading worship is both dramatic and powerful.  They have missed this mainstay of years gone by and are reinstating this wonderful element into their Sunday morning services.

One of the great opportunities for church members to feel useful is to be able to minister through lifting their voice with others in a choir!  Psalm 100:1, 2 says, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!  Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!”  For so many, this is their opportunity to do just that, and a typical Praise Team only affords a limited number of folks that chance.  With a choir, especially a volunteer church choir, you don’t need to have special training or be a paid singer to be a part of the ministry.  There is unity and family among the choir members knowing you are a part of something while you are ministering to the congregation.

The biggest and most important change, though, is that the type of worship has changed.  The congregation is now encouraged to participate in what is known as “corporate” worship.  Rather than being a bystander, someone who simply watches what is going on, they are encouraged to participate in the worship.  Allow the worship music to move them, clap along to it, and raise their hands in praise. Psalm 134:2 says,  “Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, And bless ye Jehovah.”

I know that this type of worship is not for everyone, but many blended churches are reintroducing the choir into worship — and it is a wonderful and positive thing.  Whatever your thoughts are about worship music, J.W. Pepper has the music selections for you!  Please visit us at jwpepper.com or call us and allow one of our knowledgeable representatives to assist you today!

Doug McComas
Music advocate, church choir director, pianist, vocalist, private music teacher, sacred choral editor at J.W. Pepper, supporter of Pepper's southeastern US customers from our store in Georgia

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