The Choir in Worship: Part 4
There is a health update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
HAITI RELIEF: Please consult your trusted friends to figure out where to send a generous contribution for Haiti's earthquake relief. If your church or denomination can't help you, I would be happy to make a suggestion. There are lots of good options. firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is still open for the 2010 CALVIN SYMPOSIUM ON WORSHIP,
January 28-30, 2010, in Grand Rapids. Presenters include Jeremy Begbie, Marva Dawn, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Lester Ruth, John Witvliet, and many others. http://www.calvin.edu/worship/sympos/2010
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4
Does your church's corporate worship service make use of the choral musicians the Lord has placed in your congregation, or is the trained choir viewed as a relic? In the vast and varied landscape of Christian worship practices today, many churches are searching for a strategic, God-focused, gospel-centered use of the choir ministry. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from Ron Man, director of Worship Resources International.
THE CHOIR AS WORSHIP LEADER
Make no mistake about it: the most important musical group in the church is the congregation. Worship is for all of God’s people; the New Testament doctrine of the priesthood of all believers calls for the saints to lift up their voices (whether musically gifted or not) in a unified chorus of praise and adoration to God.
However, that is not to say that gifted and trained musicians do not have an important contribution to make to the worship life of God’s people. Old Testament worship gave a crucial role to the Levitical musicians, who were set apart vocationally to provide this ministry to Israel. Moody had his Sankey, Graham had his Shea and Barrows: the point being that the proclamation of God’s truth takes place in musical form as well as in the spoken word, and the Word of God must be central in every portion of our services.
To be sure, the standard choral contribution of call to worship/anthem/response is a bit tired, and certainly unworthy of the potential of those most gifted and equipped to prompt and model worship. I dare say, in most churches where choirs are not motivated or where morale or attendance is a problem, the cause is not that this ministry places too many demands on them, but rather that they are not being truly challenged to minister with excellence and to step up to a new level of leadership in the worship of God’s people. The choir certainly fits the role of "prompter" designated by Kierkegaard for those up front (with God as the "audience" and the congregation as the "performers); choir members can use their special gifts in a powerful way in inviting and leading God’s people in worship.
SUPPORT FOR CONGREGATIONAL SINGING
A corollary to the fact that the congregation is the primary musical group in the church, is that the primary function of the choir is to help the congregation sing better. The choir is not to be a performing group where the musical elite of the church prepare and present aesthetic delights to the wonder of the rank and file. Rather they are to use their gifts to undergird, support, enhance, strengthen, and embellish the corporate ministry of song.
The most obvious contribution that a choir can make is that of sonic support for the people’s song: in terms of volume (especially in a room which is on the dead side acoustically), depth (strengthening the bass), fullness (adding harmony by singing in parts), and tempo (helping to set and maintain it). In addition, the presence of a choir singing in parts makes possible effective a cappella singing at climactic or reflective moments.
SPECIAL MUSIC CONTRIBUTIONS
In addition to sonically supporting congregational song, the choir can enhance the people’s worship in some important other ways as well.
[Ron Mann goes on to write about the anthem, the call to worship, new life for hymnody, worship flow, segments for choir alone, hymn descants, teaching new songs, and many more functions of the choir. See the entire article at www.worr.org/?page_id=23.]
— Ron Man, from the article "The Choir as Worship Leader: Revitalizing the Ministry from the Loft." Ron Man is the director of Worship Resources International (http://www.worr.org). He has lectured widely—worldwide—on biblical worship and practical considerations for God-focused worship in the local church. His entire article is highly recommended and is found (in English and French) on his site. www.worr.org/?page_id=23
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington): http://www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2010-01-05
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Dear Praying Friends,
Thanks again for praying for my cancer treatment.
Detailed journal entries and new photos about my cancer treatment are available at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
The PET scan last week showed that the chemotherapy is working. The CYTARABINE and BENDAMUSTINE are reducing the Lymphoma. So we started up again Monday with a long drip of RITUXAN, which was followed yesterday and today (Wednesday) with chemotherapy. They have added a new drug, ZOCOR, which has been found to help the effectiveness of the BENDAMUSTINE.
BE THE MATCH
As far as the stem cell match is concerned, detailed analysis of donors 4-6 are being done now. We pray that this will be successful. In conjunction with the national BE THE MATCH FOUNDATION, and with the help of some wonderful friends, we have launched the CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE, so please take a look at the site: (www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/carlstam). Distribute that link widely to anyone who might join us for the on-site drives as well as the virtual drive. The site has a three-minute video in which I explain what is involved.
Keep praying; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment.
In Christ's matchless love,
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