Why do we have a choir in worship?
In his book, God’s Singers, author Dave Williamson asks the question, “Is the choir in worship man’s idea or God’s idea?” It’s a good question, especially when many new churches in America today are forgoing the use of a choir in worship. Even some more established churches are disbanding choirs and transitioning to a more contemporary style of worship.
It seems only right that we would ask ourselves the question and search the scriptures ourselves for what God has to say about it.
On Friday night, January 27, our choir gathered for a choir retreat for just that purpose. At the conclusion of our evening session, I asked everyone to search the Bible to find any references to a choir in scripture. I asked them to return on Saturday morning and report back their findings. On Saturday morning, we had a discussion about the biblical basis for choirs in worship.
This is what we found:
• In 2 Chronicles 5:12-14, we see the choir and the instrumentalists not just as worshippers, but as God’s lead worshippers. Pay attention to what happened in verses 13-14, “At that moment a cloud filled the Temple of the LORD. The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God.”
• How exciting and humbling to be a member of the choir that experienced God’s presence on that day! I pray that we will experience God’s presence in that same way at PSBC. It is clear that when people began to praise, God’s presence filled the temple.
• In 2 Chronicles 20:20-30, King Jehoshaphat placed the choir in front of the army to lead into battle (yikes!). When they began to sing, the armies they were fighting turned on themselves and all of them were killed. The battle was won by praising God!
• In Nehemiah 12: 31-43, choirs were used to give thanks to God at the dedication of Jerusalem’s wall - a time of true celebration and worship.
There are more references to choirs and singers in scripture, but I think you get the idea. A choir used in worship is God’s idea. So I asked our choir, “What is the application for us today?” This is what we concluded:
1. We must be prepared and rehearse.
2. We must be unified.
3. Our purpose is to call out to God.
4. We are to lead in worship.
5. We are to go in advance of the congregation.
6. We are to proclaim the truth.
Pray for our choir and instrumentalists as we prepare each week to do what God has asked us to do and lead the way in worship.