The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/05/2010):

The Choir in Worship
There is a health update at the end of this message.
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.

Does your church's corporate worship service make use of the choral musicians the Lord has placed in your congregation, or is the choir viewed as a thing of the past? 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 Clayton Schmit's new book, SENT AND GATHERED: A WORSHIP MANUAL FOR THE MISSIONAL CHURCH. Here he includes some choral insights from Ed Willmington, director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts.

One of the musical questions being asked by churches today is what the role of the choir in the worship music program is. The following insights are offered by Ed Wilmington, a choral director and composer with a lifetime of wisdom relative to the choral art.

"One dilemma, it seems, in the traditionally based church is how to avoid stagnation of worship style and language while not throwing everything out and starting over. Some have started over, either by initiating a service in a different style, planting a separate church, or eliminating the traditional service entirely. These choices, of course, break the body into parts in one manner or another. This dilemma often involves the role of the choir in the corporate worship experience. Choirs provide many wonderful benefits to a congregation but are in danger of extinction unless their function in the worship service is reshaped.

Here are three suggestions allowing for a fresh look at the role of the choir in corporate worship.

1. Take time to educate the choir members regarding their role as spiritual, corporate worship leaders. Use biblical and devotional materials to help them understand their high calling to serve God and the church community in this holy privilege. Pray together often.

2. To further assist with this shift in thinking, utilize choral materials that allow the choir to function with the congregation, therefore breaking down any "us vs. them" mentality that may exist between the platform and the people. The congregation will love being a part of the choir!

3. Use the choir in creative ways in the service beyond singing the anthem. These may include musical things such as descants, processionals, and sung prayers. It may also include nonmusical roles that serve the community such as greeting, ushering, Scripture reading, and praying with people during the service."

— Edwin Willmington, director of the Fred Bock Music Institute at the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, Pasadena, CA. Included in Clayton J. Schmit's SENT AND GATHERED: A WORSHIP MANUAL FOR THE MISSIONAL CHURCH. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009, p. 145.

Blessings to all!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky


Dear Praying Friends,

Thanks so much for your love and prayer support during my cancer journey.

More detailed journal entries and new photos about my cancer treatment are available at (click on "journal" or "photos").

No chemotherapy treatments this week. I had lab tests on Monday morning, and the levels were such that my body did not require any growth factor drugs. The chemo drugs they gave me last week have a somewhat delayed response. We were disappointed to find out that none of my three siblings is a match to be my donor. The people at the clinic are now looking to the national registry to find a stem cell match. There are four donors (out of five million on the list) who are very close matches, and they will study those files more closely to see which one is best to use. Pray for that process.

Please continue to pray for us, and remember to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment.

In His loving care,

Chip Stam

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