Back in the day when I started out in choir, our dress-code was often ‘burned orange, mustard yellow and hot pink’. We wore dressy black flared pantsuits with wrap-around scarfs (for the ladies) and the ‘side step’ was especially popular.
Although choir looks a lot different now- its purpose and its power has always remained the same. I have chatted to some of our key choir leaders on this topic and am honoured to share some of our collective thoughts:
There is something so beautiful about the diversity of choir. We are young and old. We carry within us our own unique testimony and come from different cultural backgrounds. We each have a different way of expressing our love for God, yet we are united in cause; worshipping our wonderful God and leading others into His life-altering presence.
This is ultimately a creative reflection of the congregation that we serve. In our multiplicity we communicate that Jesus is for everyone and no-one is excluded. As a choir, we are a colourful invitation extended to every single person to join in. We pray that when people glance at the platform, they recognise themselves in someone’s eyes and realise that they too belong.
TOGETHER WE ARE BETTER
When you bring a large body of people together that are passionate about Jesus and the people they serve, something explodes. It’s like each of us individually are a single fire rocket, but combined we are a spectacular fireworks display! Together we can literally change the atmosphere in a service as our individual faith unifies and collectively erupts, igniting the congregation in the process. Individually we are powerful, but together we are an unstoppable force.
From a leadership point of view, choir is a great platform to build into the lives of so many different creatives. It is a safe place for people to learn the culture of the team and to grow as worshippers and leaders. One of my favourite things about being a choir leader is the opportunity to empower people and get them to ‘own’ a part of choir where they can shine and grow, be it choir managing, conducting, teaching, administration, pastoral care etc. People’s potentials are incredible and choir creates so many different avenues to nurture and foster that in people.
Finally, one of the most reoccurring feedback that I receive is that choir creates an amazing sense of community and family for people. This is a testimony from Cheryl, one of our long-standing choir leaders – it reflects so well what a difference community within a creative team can make:
” A few years back I lost my job. I was so devastated and really lost. I could have easily run away from God at that moment but I chose to run towards Him. I went to choir on Saturday and the love and support that was given to me was so amazing… I was prayed for and really looked after during that season. Not just by my close friends but the whole team! They really carried me and encouraged me to keep moving forward. I will never forget that.”
As creative pastors and leaders, we are given an amazing opportunity to empower our choir. When we understand that their role is unique and equally as important as any other role on the platform, we avoid an unhealthy hierarchical culture full of potential striving and hidden agendas. Instead we create a healthy culture of equal value and love where everyone understands why they are part of the team. Then we can go about pointing people to Jesus as a unified and undistracted team.
As choir members, we need to understand that what we individually bring to the team matters. Really matters. We are not less important than the worship leader. Our faith, our preparation, our love, our passion, our gift all makes the team stronger and helps change lives. Thank you for what you bring!
Deb & Friends.
(Hillsong Creative Team)