Music Ministry; Choir, Praise & Worship Teams

The crossroad between having Choirs and Praise and Worship Teams in Music Ministry has now come light for many ministries. For years, choirs have consistently been the driving force behind church music, but a shift in the early 1980’s began with the introduction of contemporary praise and worship teams. It’s taken from that time until now for ministries to grasp the concept of functioning with two key vocal groups or letting go of the choir altogether.

Jack Taylor, a recognized evangelical authority on praise suggests in his Hallelujah Factor, praise is “a spontaneous response to the most mighty and powerful Truth…” (Taylor, 1999) He establishes two foundational principals on the philosophy of praise. The first, of course, is God’s Word as the cornerstone. The Word of God tightly woven into the Ministry of Music makes delivery easy and speaks to the soul of the congregation. The second principal is recognizing the sovereignty of God. Understanding these two principals gives reason to the push toward a defined group of minstrels leading the way in praise and worship.
There is one glaring concern however once a ministry elects to retire the choir and solely use Praise and Worship Teams going forward. It is what happens to the voices the choir so lovingly welcomed in Music Ministry? A recent Facebook debate tackled just that concern.
One FB writer begins with an inquiry—What happened to the church choir? After a myriad of responses from those involved in Music Ministry across the U.S., the final answer was—The Praise Team.

Although some may elect to create an antagonistic environment between choir and praise team members, the two really can co-exists with similar missions. The execution of that mission is where the house has become divided.
Both groups are commissioned to glorify God through the ministry of music. In one, a choral director leads the way while in the other the team flows with minimal direction from a Praise and Worship Team Leader. The Praise and Worship Team is also charged with ushering in the presence of God as the front line of Praisers in Battle. This last term is crucial as everyone who attends a worship service should be actively involved in the corporate worship setting, however, as with the military, everyone doesn’t go into battle first. Only those who are both equipped and prepared for front line fighting should lead the way.

If no one else does, Praise and Worship Team members are expected to walk in a lifestyle of worship. This is a daily preparation for service. Most choir members aren’t really thinking along these lines. Jack Taylor’s definition of praise is “vocal, audible, and/or visible adoration of God.” Those that are timid need not apply to service on the Praise and Worship Team. There is no hiding behind surrounding singers, no lip-synching, no vocal breaks. No… Praise and Worship Teams are at best those that will push through anything to set the atmosphere for the glory of God to manifest. The faint of heart need not apply also, as attacks from the enemy will reach this frontline first.

As the body has many members, noted in Romans 12: 4-5, both Choirs and Praise and Worship Teams in Music Ministry can coexist for the edifying of the saints, and to prepare the way for the preaching of the gospel through Music Ministry.

Photo Credit flickr – coolmikeol

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