From the time I was eight years old I have been in choir. Now that I think about it, that was also about the time I accepted Christ as Savior. The first choir was a very informal children’s choir led by my Mom who has a wonderful voice and a great love for music – but no formal music training.
While worship is not only music, my love for music and the impact of it on my Christian life has informed how I think about worship through music.
All Sizes of Choirs
My love for choir was boosted by the opportunity to go to the first-ever Children’s Music Week at Windermere Baptist Assembly in Roach, Missouri. What an amazing experience.
When we moved to Jefferson City when I was in the sixth grade, I was in an audition choir at school, and our church’s (FBC-Jefferson City) children’s choir was a formal program led by well-trained musicians. In seventh grade, I became part of the Youth Choir, which had at least 50 members. We prepared music for singing EVERY Sunday morning in the 8:15 am service. We prepared for excellence. That’s a pretty serious choir for the younger set.
Our choir director selected old, classical octavos as well as brand-new music by greats such as Ken Medema, Charles Brown, Buryl Red, and others. As mentioned in a previous post, I was able to sing in a presentation of selections from The Messiah during my junior/high school years. We also did youth musicals.
I was able to attend Youth Music Week at Windermere two summers in a row, learning new, old, worshipful, and fun songs and attending classes about music-reading and being led by big names in youth music at the time. I even learned conducting patterns that would come in handy many years later when I became the music director at FBC Seymour.
It’s Not Size – Or Even Quality
In college, I sang with the Bisonette Glee Club at Oklahoma Baptist University for one year. Even with this and some adult choir experience in large choirs that sang with piano and/or organ and/or orchestra (on occasion), most of my choir experience has been in small (8-25) choirs with piano only – or orchestral tracks.
I long to sing again in a large choir with an orchestra. I would have to say that is a bucket list item.
When I think about this from a purely musician point of view, it just seems so much more worthy of God than small choirs or ensembles with a small sound. You know, “bigger is better.”
And yet, when I come back to let the Holy Spirit lead my perspective, I realize it is the heart that God really hears. It’s not the grandeur of the orchestra. It’s not the many different voice and instrument qualities blending together into one indescribable sound. In fact, it’s not whether it is a familiar old hymn, a somewhat contemporary praise chorus, or one of the new hymns being written with a more modern style.
Our Worthy God Deserves Worship in Spirit and Truth
God is Holy. God is set apart because He alone is Worthy of any worship we offer.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 (NLT)
When I evaluate what this means, I think how much more God is pleased by worship from someone who stands before Him:
- Recognizing humbly that she is standing before the King of the universe
- Having prepared his heart with repentance
- Having asked God to receive her worship
- Having prayed that those who hear would be moved to worship
- Having asked God to change his heart as a result of their worship
- Ready to worship in Spirit and Truth
Is He worthy? He is! Let us worship Him with a right-heart attitude.
Teach me to worship you through music with a heart prepared, whether I am alone with you, in my small church choir, or singing a special music selection intended to lead in worship. Help me focus less on quality, quantity, or style and more on my spirit's position. May every form of my worship be done with a heart prepared.
Do you have a paradigm of worship that needs to be shifted to be pleasing to Him?