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Why Should My Modern Church Add a Choir? by Dave Williamson (ThinkJump Journal #50 with Kim Gentes)

In the last 2 years I have met a number of wonderful artists, worship leaders, musicians and various music professionals, living in the Nashville and surrounding area.  One of the most delightful new friends I have made here is a man named Dave Williamson.  Many of you who are familiar with choral music in churches in the last 20 years will recognize Dave's name from his extensive work with a number of companies and projects. I knew of Dave for over 10 years, since the company I co-founded ( sold dozens of different resources in which the liner notes read "Arrangements by Dave Williamson".

This last year, a friend gave me a copy of the newly released book "God's Singers" by Dave Williamson and he encouraged me to read it.  I picked it up and quickly found myself enjoying not only the book, but entering into the world of the writer.  Dave wasn't just a dry writer, expounding to choir experts and enthusiasts.  His warm stories, keen attention to the scriptures and clear passion for worship in the midst of the Body of Christ fills the book.  But his topic is clearly the element of choirs.  As I read, I realized that I wanted to meet Dave and learn more about his journey.  This last week, Dave graciously consented to my request and offered to be videod for a series of questions, the results of which are here below.

If you are an old hand at choirs and the vitality they can stir up in the worship life of a church, this conversation may seem mute to you.  But I would encourage you to consider listening and watching as Dave explores some of the underpinings of both his belief that the choir is God's idea and how he encourages churches without choirs to reconsider their choices.

Especially if you are like me, playing and leading in a "modern" or non-traditional church, you might not have had a church culture that included a choir.  Dave speaks to all of us, but even more profoundly to the young churches who have left choirs behind.

The interview is in three parts, allowing you to watch short segments as you have time.


Part 1 - Why Should My Church Add a Choir?


Part 2 - How Do I Start a Choir in My Church?


Part 3 - An Inspirational Story & How to Contact Dave..


I would highly encourage you to consider Dave's great new book, God's Singers.  It is a brilliant and warm invitation to the whole church to embrace the worshiping community group of the choir.

Dave has his book for sale online at the CBD link below:

God's Singers


In God's choir with you,

Kim Gentes

NOTE: I have written a full and complete review of the book God's Singers in the book reviews section. You can see the review here.


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Reader Comments (7)

This is amazing. What a 'coincidence'! It is really heartwarming to be doing something and then see someone come and give you a sound biblical basis for it. I am worship leader at a church in the Netherlands We once put together a choir to join in leading the worship for one of the feasts, I believe easter and it was so powerful and our congregation that was used to having anything from 2 to 5 praise team members saw a group of some 24 people and were so blessed. All these people did was just sing the melody. We had regular singers doing the parts in front. Our pastor loved it and the people who participated felt even more involved in worship and guess what, we now have this 'worship' choir once a month to the glory of God since the beginning of this year. IT's such a blessing. They come for a one night rehearsal and have the song in advance and the rest is easy. Thanks for sharing this. We are on the right track...

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Adu

I found this article insightful. I am a worship leader at our church and my struggle is to move the choir to more modern renditions of older hymns and move toward more modern praise music.

I grew up in an "old school" baptist church and the choir meant nothing more to me than a bunch of old folks trying to bore me to death. As I grew older I did learn to appreciate choral music but the stigma in many ways still exists in me as I am sure it does in many others.

No doubt much of the problems the choir faces today are a result of poor choices in workship leadership over the years. We need to "sing a new song" to the Lord and show him we are serious about worshiping Him. Signing old songs in new ways and creating new songs to keep our spirits high and move us closer to the Lord.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Hi! I need to watch the video with subtitles in Portuguese. Someone is able to do? Thanks!

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRafael

Thanks for sharing and posting these insightful videos. As the worship leader at a large contemporary church, we've recently been utilizing a 30-person choir for about a half-dozen services a year - and the effect has been wonderful. The congregation seems to participate more enthusiastically as they see others singing their hearts (with joy on their faces); those who sing in the choir feel affirmed in their gifts and are given an opportunity to help lead; and the sound is just sweet. Of course, we just picked up some high quality choir mics (from Earthworks) so that's helped a lot too.

We've done a lot of contemporary worship songs ("Your Name," "A New Hallelujah") but we've also done the traditional Lord's Prayer and will be doing the song "Shout Praise" from CompassionArt next Sunday. So I agree with Mr. Williamson - the choir can sing in a variety of genres and add (and say) something powerful in contemporary services.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Smith

We've had a choir for 28 years beginning with 16 and growing to 90 as the church grew. As the Worship Pastor I've always seen the Biblical need for a choir and the benefits in our worship services and to the people involved. We've always cast the vision that the choir is part of the worship team. We started with traditional and transitioned as the church transitioned into blended worship and eventually into very contemporary worship. We sing many genres of music which is suited to our multi-cultural church. The choir has introduced many of our new worship songs before the congregation ever sang them. Our church grew from 60 to over 1600 now and I know the choir has been part of the reason for that growth.

Choir is an entrance point for connecting and making relationships, as well as a place of service, discipleship and growth. Our choir is a smaller group within the larger church that helps make it feel smaller and more inclusive. They are family.
My 30 year old son-in-law recently moved to Colorado Springs and is going to a large contemporary church that doesn't have a choir. That is the one thing he misses the most and he is a young adult. The choir adds energy, excitement and power to our worship and its not just for old folks. Using the choir allows more people to find a place of ministry to use their gifts and talents. It also draws others from the community who want to belong and use their talent.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangelac

Too often churches push aside the choir as being non-relevant for today's churches, especially one that has a contemporary bent. I have found in 30 years of ministry and directing choirs that a worship choir can be an amazing encouragement for the congregation, modeling worship.

Choirs however should not exist just because they always have, they must be continually be evaluated and must change using music that does encourage the congregation to worship, not just sit and watch a performance.

I talked more about this issue on my blog this week:

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael H Smith

Videos in portuguese, please! haha

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRafael

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