Just this past year I began conducting a choir again, and these wonderful people have reminded me that choir members are longing to be valued in an age of growing emphasis on bands.
I don’t know if this will surprise you or not, but choirs want to be appreciated in the same way that bands are appreciated.
Here are a few ideas on how to value your choir:
- Treat them like a top-shelf ministry partner. If you want your choir to excel, speak about and treat them like they are a first choice in programming rather than dead weight. Give them an important role in the service.
- Tell them the truth. If they are weak and not in a place to lead, tell them so graciously . . . and then get them a leader who can grow and lead them. If you are not going to give a choir a competent leader, do them a favor and kill the choir rather than leading them on like a bad date you are afraid to hurt.
- Begin the choir year with new music. Nothing sets the tone for a choir than beginning the season with new music. If you begin with the same ol’ same ol’, you’ll get the same ol’ attitude. If you cannot afford new music (you can’t afford just one new piece? Do we need to revisit “Treat them like a top-shelf partner?”), then get a local college composition student to write a piece for you.
- Brag about them. “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” The Bible never gets it wrong. If you love your choir you will brag about them. Loudly. All the time. NEVER speak ill of them.
- Lead them spiritually. Church choirs should not be performance groups; performance groups exist primarily for the joy of music and the camaraderie of music making. These are not bad things, and they should be in every group, but in church we are about ministry and leading worship. As a leader, you are responsible for leading them into a deeper relationship with Christ so that they can model worship. Take 10-15 minutes of a rehearsal to share and pray with them and see what it does for the life of your choir.
- Prepare. A well-prepared leader communicates love to a choir. None of us is perfectly prepared all of the time, but a consistently poorly prepared leader is really saying, “You aren’t important enough for me to prepare well to lead you.”
I am certain there are more things, but these come to mind first.
What are you communicating to your choir? Are there other ways choirs like to be appreciated?