Monthly Archives: July 2017

How to foster interaction among generations in your church choir

While not every leader makes intentional steps to foster interaction among the different generations in their choir, many leaders take some practical steps in achieving this goal. I’m sure several others could be mentioned, but here are a few that I found prevalent when researching this area of study. The first two were by far the most prevalent with almost half of those I interviewed indicating they used this method at some point to foster interaction. Numbers 3-5 were used in less than one quarter of the leaders’ church choirs.

  1. Choir fellowships- Many leaders have found that simply allowing the generations within their choir to interact in an informal, yet fun, setting allows genuine interaction to occur. People get to know one another and friendships are formed. These fellowship times can be in the way of social events, but it can also be less structured and built into the context of the rehearsal itself. Some creativity is needed, especially if your choir has over 35 in attendance. I’ve found that people tend to gravity towards people they know (generally those around them in their vocal section), so find (or invent) ways/games to allow people to mix up and get to know others they don’t normally know. More on this topic later…
  2. Seating configurations- As a follow-up to the first one, making intentional steps in thinking about who sits next to each other can not only be vocally important, it can also be a catalyst for forging new friendships. I’m 100 percent for balancing the vocal blend in the choir, but often I can achieve this just as well by sitting a Boomer next to a Millennial, which has a dual purpose. It takes some time and finesse (if people are reluctant to move after 100 years in the same spot), but it’s worth it.I suggest regularly moving people around so new friendships can be formed. It’s amazing how easily this works. I’ve watched practically new friendships form right in front of me.
  3. Corporate time of prayer- This could be beneficial by having small groups huddle together for a short time of prayer before a corporate prayer. Quick prayer requests can offer much insight into the lives and struggles/joys each is facing. In this way the older gave give counsel to the younger and the younger can give support to the older in this mutual exercise of praying and accountability.
  4. Create a family atmosphere– While this may seem evident, intentionality is the key. How do you create a family atmosphere? At my church, we have created family care groups in the choir. Each leader is responsible for caring for each group member. I have 6 care group leaders who have about 12 choir members in their groups. It’s kind of like a small group in a larger group. They are like a small family in the context of a larger family.

    We also value pairing younger and older folks together in leadership positions. For instance, in our orchestra we pair seasoned (usually older generations) with budding players for support, encouragement, and accountability. I always say to people, someone(s) invested in me and poured into me, treating me like family, and I became who I am because of their influence. In short, we do life together, each in mutual submission to one another.

    1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV- For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    It is important to take steps to foster interaction among the different generations in your choir. Too often we age segregate our groups ( think children’s choirs, youth choirs, etc.). These segregations are fine for musical purposes, but finding ways to bring these groups together in worship leadership is the key. Perhaps having joint musical selections for the groups to combine with for worship services or special events can bring interaction among the various ages in your music ministry. Perhaps have choir members “adopt” younger children in your children’s choir ministry so there is a familial feeling among the generations in your church.  The list goes on.

What else would you add?

Profile of the Worship Leader that values Intergenerational Worship because it’s biblical

Last week I mentioned that just under 20 percent of the intergenerational music/choir leaders/ministers indicated that they value intergenerational worship because it’s biblical. A few of my readers asked me to explain a little more about these leaders since they found it hard to believe the percentage was so low. I found some interesting similarities among those who affirm biblical teaching as an important reason to value intergenerational worship.

Here are a few of the findings I found:

  1. 75% of these leaders held seminary degrees. This suggests that education in biblical studies provides a correlation between biblical truth and practical application—especially in the field of worship studies.
  2. 75% of the leaders were Millennials or from Generation X. This is significant, because both these generational cohorts combined was still less than half of my overall sample.  My overall sample included 55% Boomer leaders; only three of the Boomer leaders indicated biblical reasons for valuing intergenerational worship.

Why is this the case? I think it is because Boomer leaders received their formal education during a time when there wasn’t the need to have the conversation of intergenerational worship. In fact, intergenerational worship was organic to virtually every congregation. Younger leaders have received their formal education more recently and even though intergenerational worship as an academic field of study is in its infancy, there has been more training in recent years. I believe this trend will continue to increase. As leaders (of any age) encounter studies/articles/education in this field, they will hopefully adhere to the biblical precedent of scripture that include worshiping in mutual submission to one another.

3. Every one of these leaders ALSO affirmed that they have intentionally sought to learn more about intergenerational ministry. Training is important as is leaning on the biblical precedents for intergenerational worship.

4. Everyone of these leaders believed their choir members understood the value of being in an intergenerational church and worship/music ministry.  Those that firmly believe that intergenerational is biblical are the biggest “evangelists” for intergenerational worship. What makes this data so interesting is, of the leaders who indicated that they believe their choir members don’t understand the value of intergenerational ministry/worship, not a single leader indicated that intergenerational worship is to be valued because it is biblical!

5. 75% of these leaders (as compared to about 42% of all interviewed) affirmed that they regularly teach their choir members about the value of intergenerational ministry/worship. This data suggests that there is positive correlation between understanding that the Bible guides intergenerational philosophy and promotion of intergenerational behavior through teaching.

It might seem hard to believe that only 20 percent of the leaders I interviewed indicated that they believed they should value intergenerational worship because it was biblical, but interestingly, each leader was not asked to indicate only one response. No, they were allowed to offer as many responses as they wished. 20 percent of the leaders indicating another response if they were only asked to give their number one reason is one thing, but not mentioning it at all is even more surprising. Further, most of ALL the leaders I interviewed indicated they had received at least some training/interaction with intergenerational worship studies, but somehow the biblical precedent did not come up among more of the leaders’ responses.

I believe it is essential to understand the “why” behind intergenerational worship in order to accurately be an “evangelist” for it. Regularly search the scriptures for the truth (Philippians especially) of being of one heart and mind and celebrate and teach of the benefits of worshiping together with all generations in Spirit and Truth.