Many churches don’t bother to ask this question. It would be like asking, “Why do we have a steeple or wear ties?” Of course we have a choir, it’s what you do in church. Other churches never ask this question because they have tossed out the choir concept along with a whole host of other Christian cultural institutions in order to be relevant. As far as these folks are concerned, the choir can go the way of the pew, stained glass, and Precious Moments figurines.
So, why do we, New City Fellowship, have a choir? I have three thoughts:
The restoration of worldview
We were created as “good” image bearers of God. He made us to exist in harmony with the rest of creation, with each other, and with God. The fall ruined all that, and now we have a fractured and distorted view of reality. A choir’s job is to stand up and declare the Truth to broken hearts. A good choir anthem (like any good worship song) is designed to realign our perception of reality back in line with God’s word. It’s like balancing the checkbook of your heart. Hmm, that sounds like a good country song.
The priesthood of all believers
The reason that we can perform (gasp!) choir anthems in worship is because God has used Jesus Christ to ordain the new covenant in which he has placed his Spirit in every adopted child of faith so that we can all become priests (and priestesses) in the kingdom. This means that every Christian has the role of mediating between God and the world in order to demonstrate his powerful and holy love. Hallelujah! A choir is a simple cross section of believers (sinners saved by grace) who have been given the priestly role of ministry. Check out the book of Chronicles and you’ll find descriptions of massive choirs and orchestras of Levites, the priests. The new covenant that Christ has mediated means that we are all given Levitical roles in the kingdom.
The incarnation of theology
Theology is a big deal. Everyone has a theology, whether they admit it or not. Jesus Christ was the incarnation of the Word. The Word made flesh. In worship, we have the job of taking words and giving them flesh. The choir takes theological concepts and sings about them. This gives the congregation a tangible experience of that word. Reading “death is ended” is pretty cool, but have you been to a funeral at New City Fellowship where a massive group of believers stands up and sings at the top of their voice “DEATH IS ENDED!”? That is a serious experience of incarnate theology.
So.. come sing with us in the choir.