When I researched intergenerational choirs in Georgia Baptist Churches several years ago, I found that leaders of churches that are intergenerational usually have a philosophical reason to value them. Even those leaders that are historically intergenerational (but not always intentional about celebrating the diversity of ages in the church) still value that the generations are worshiping together in their church.
When asked why these leaders, who already serve intergenerational churches, value not only having an intergenerational church, but having a choir that is intergenerational, they responded with the following answers in rank order:
The church choir, and certainly instrumental groups, have the opportunity to pave the way for promoting intergenerational behavior throughout the rest of the church. The choir must work together to overcome music style differences, traditions, and preferences in order to lead in worship. In Romans 15:5-6, Paul writes, ” May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The church choir is definitely about making music, but more importantly, it’s a visual model to the rest of the congregation about setting aside our personal preferences, being of ONE mind and ONE voice, to proclaim the message of the gospel.
I’m teaching Introduction to Congregational Song this semester at TMU. This week we focused on New Testament Congregational Song. I’m reminded again that as we come to the Father through Jesus the Son, we no longer have to depend on a high priest to offer animal sacrifices so we can find redemption for our sins. No longer must we follow arduous sets of rules and worship practices. We have instant access through the power of the resurrection. Worship transforms us as we meet together to encourage, edify, and express our collective thanks to God in the name of the Lord.
In the New Testament there were no new or updated worship liturgies beyond what was established in the Old Testament. Must believe that Old Testament worship practices were adhered to for the most part until Jesus came. A few elements such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper became regular parts of corporate worship then. What we DO get from the New Testament is instructions to believers about their “posture” as worshipers. While there is much more to be said, but consider these three well-known scriptures that stood out to me from our reading that I think have some powerful reminders for corporate worship.
Ephesians 5:18-20- …be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:15-17- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Romans 12:1-2- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What do you see when you read these scriptures together? What stands out to you? Here’s what I see:
Friends, let the truths of these passages remind you our purpose in worship. While our liturgies might vary to some degree, the object of our worship must be Christ who desires to continue to transform us to be more like Him. Soli Deo Gloria
In the past two days I’ve been reminded of why it’s good to have multiple generations in music ministry. I’m convinced more and more that any church that values ALL her members and finds why to incorporate each person of varying abilities will be a healthy church.
First, last night in our choir rehearsal one of our choir members brought her younger daughter (school aged) to choir with her because she wanted to share in music ministry with her daughter. We’ve long valued our young people in our orchestra who have musical gifts and it’s a joy to welcome young singers who want to learn alongside other generations in musical expressions of worship. I’m sure it was somewhat overwhelming to the young daughter sitting through her first rehearsal with us, but to watch her mother beaming with joy as she, and the other ladies around her, made her feel welcomed made my heart soar. I’m sure neither the daughter nor the ladies around her realize the impact the multi-generational community of faith will have.
Second, today I met with a newer tenor in the choir who is a Boomer and recently retired. He wanted to meet with me to share his heart for music ministry and to let me hear him sing some so I could get idea of the types of things he’s capable of doing if, and when, I get the opportunity to use him. I was very encouraged by our time together. He and his wife just moved from California just before the pandemic started and found their way here to our church. To hear him affirm my commitment to the truth of the lyrical content of the songs we sing over the style I choose was such an encouragement to me. He and his wife longed to find a place where they could use their musical gifts in worship and they found their home here. I’m grateful.
So today, I’m praising God for two people: the young daughter and the Boomer tenor. These two are separated by 3 generations, but have found a place of service in our music ministry in the same room, in the same ensemble. Each brings their own uniqueness and giftedness that can be used in congruency for the building of the Kingdom.
“Intergenerational Worship” is worship in which people of every age are understood to be equally important.