Pace Yourself

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In an ideal world, you're meeting and planning with your pastor and other team members to design and implement worship for your congregation. But maybe you don't live in an ideal world, and maybe you're on your own when it comes to all this. Two words: “pace yourself.” This is vital when it comes to worship service planning for your choir's contribution to worship.

Pace yourself thematically. If we're to sing, speak and preach “the whole counsel of God,” then we have to take into consideration the themes and topics we address in what the choir offers. Ideally, your worship service is focused and connected with a central theme, but even if it's not, be sure the choir contributes pieces that cover a broad spectrum of topics. (Remember that sometimes we speak to the people on behalf of God, and sometimes we speak to God on behalf of the people.)

Pace yourself texturally. If everything is “up,” fast and loud, then we lose the impact of up, fast and loud. If everything is a soft, slow, gushy ballad, we negate the effect of a soft, slow and gushy ballad. All a capella ignores the potential of choir and orchestra, or choir and band, or choir and keyboards. No a capella means we never capitalize on the beauty and possibilities found in the unadorned human voice.

Pace yourself stylistically. In fact, make style a non-issue. What's the very best way to convey this particular theme or topic? Something classical? A vibrant arrangement of a standard hymn? A setting of a modern worship song? A heart-felt, ministry-based ballad? And how would whatever you select fit in to the rest of the service? It's all about context.

Pace yourself in scheduling. This is important. Allow enough time for your choir to learn, prepare and absorb the music they sing no matter how easy it is to pick up. Even if you select a piece that your choir could learn and present after only one rehearsal, don't! One rehearsal before singing a song in worship usually means that by lunchtime they've forgotten it already. Allowing plenty of time for the message (not to mention the musical aspects) of a piece means that your choir won't sing mere words from a printed piece of paper, but they'll sing their innermost expressions from a heart of worship and gratitude.

And isn't that what we're all after?

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Posted in: Working With The Pastor, Service Planning, Optimizing Your Choir, Spiritual Development, Team Building

Marty Parks

Marty Parks

Marty Parks is a composer, arranger, orchestrator and producer with over 900 songs and arrangements in print. His work is represented by major choral print publishers around the country. He is a frequent conference leader and workshop speaker whose first devotional book, Quiet Moments for Worship Leaders, came out of his own experience in reflecting on the word of God, and out of his passion to see the same developed in others. His work, as well as current projects, activities and appearances, can be found at

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