Worship is one of our 7 Elements of a Living Faith. "Engaged by God" is part of our mission statement.
I write this article just as the church music groups are all starting up again for the season, and they’re doing a great job. We in the music department know that our primary job is to lead the congregation in song. We prepare week after week to effectively do this. We know that music is a treasured gift that we use to worship God as a community, whether we are a seasoned professional or an eager volunteer.
We also realize that our job as music leaders is becoming increasingly more difficult as we observe that many are not engaged to be led. Have you noticed that some people come to be observers only? Not opening the hymnbook or bulletin? We know that contemporary communication and entertainment has made it easy for us take in much information and to be critical observers, but not always participants. So where do we all fit in?
It is an age-old belief that worship is a "community effort," meaning that the whole community is included in the act of worship. In fact, worship is one big dialogue. Leaders speak (sing) and the community (congregation) responds. What a great plan for group participation.
Leader: In peace let us pray to the Lord
ALL: Lord have mercy.
Leader: Hear us O God
ALL: Your mercy is great.
Leader: The Lord be with you
ALL: And also with you.
Leader: Go in peace, engaged by God
ALL: Thanks be to God.
What about music? Hymns and songs are chosen because of the function they play or the themes that they present. Congregational song provides a way for the community to join together in a powerful collective to proclaim what we believe and what we value as a Christian community.
But what if you cannot sing? Because so much of our music comes from scripture or Christian poetry, we maintain that the words themselves are a great witness to our beliefs. So if you cannot sing, you might wish to just follow along (or sing softly) to be involved with the whole community.
Where to start? Consider raising the importance of Children and Youth Choirs for your family. We Adult musicians have been doing this since we were in children’s choirs and we were groomed to be active in the life of our church in all aspects (teaching, mission, stewardship, outreach) through our experiences.
Our Children’s Choir does a great job, but should have many more members. Would you like your child to be on a path of life-long church participation? Perhaps Children’s Choir is perfect for your family and for our whole faith community’s future.