I’ve been asked why we haven’t hired a choir director. The main reason is because our pianist Eun-Mi Kim leads the choir well and I don’t see a real need. Many visitors compliment our choir. They seem to be moved by the short and sincere testimony given by a choir member before they perform, their happy smiles, and their heart-felt singing.
Many churches disband their choir after converting from traditional churches to house churches. House churches take the Great Commission seriously and make “reaching non-believers and making them Jesus’ disciples” their primary goal in ministry. In order to do that, church members must invite and worship with their non-believing friends and introduce them to other church members after worship. If you serve in the choir, you can’t do that because there are usually choir practices right before and after worship services. Since it conflicts with their mission, they see no choice but to disband the choir.
But it is possible keep the choir even after converting to house churches, as our church shows.
After I implemented the house church, I started a weekly Shepherds’ meeting and Bible study preparation class for house church teachers right after Sunday worship services, when choir practices had previously been held. I asked our then choir director, the late Soong-Ho Baik, to move choir practices to Wednesday nights after prayer meetings. Other choir directors would have had fits, because Sunday afternoon is when most choir members can attend practice. But he readily consented because he was a Shepherd himself and he totally agreed with the priorities of house church ministry.
We changed the name of the choir to “worship team”, expecting that many members would quit. We also decided to sing the same song for two consecutive weeks, alternating services, to reduce practice time.
As we expected, half of the choir members dropped out. They were not willing to spend an evening during the week for choir practice. But the congregation still enjoyed the choir’s singing. I think this was because those who remained were willing to sacrifice their time, and service offered with sacrifice produces results. Since then, many new people who were also willing to make such sacrifices joined the choir until their number reached the current level.
God loves beautiful singing, but He loves even more when a sinner is saved. Music programs should not hamper evangelism. If we hire a professional choir director he may try to develop music programs that have little to do with saving souls. This is why I am hesitant to hire one. Besides that, I am not sure that hiring a new director will help our choir members sing better – spiritually.
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