Where Have All the Singers Gone?

When I first came to my current church eleven years ago, the worship teams consisted of the typical bands with three vocal teams of nine singers each.  They were all lined up across the front of the stage sharing 4 monitors with the band hidden behind them. The congregation felt overwhelmed, especially if they were sitting near the front. It wasn’t working, but it took me several years to find the courage to make the painful, but necessary changes.  I now have eight total singers who rotate every 3-4 weeks, having one to three people on stage on any given weekend.

Most modern worship services have a worship leader and 1-2 “backup singers”.  That is the current “cool” look.  But, that brings up the burning question,

“Where have all the singers gone?”

If a church of 1000 people has only a handful of  “A” singers, what about all the “B” singers?  They may go down the road to the church of 150 where they are embraced and allowed to sing every week.

Where are the minor leagues?  Where do we develop these good, but not great singers who have something special to offer their churches?  Where can a B+ singer go to become an A-?

I believe every church needs to find ways to expand the opportunities for their singers.  I’m interested in hearing your suggestions.  Here are a few of mine:

  1. Start a choir – monthly or at least seasonally. Sadly, it’s becoming harder to find worship leaders who have the ability to lead a choir.
  2. Mix adults with kids on your children’s worship teams.
  3. Form worship teams for your women’s & men’s ministry events.
  4. Have occasional artist nights, where singers and other artists can share their songs and art with others in a non-threatening environment.
  5. Do more A Cappella music.  With the popularity of Glee and Sing-off, we have seen a resurgence in unaccompanied music.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  It could be as simple as closing out a song by singing the last chorus without the band.
You may wonder what I did when I went from 27 singers down to eight.  See #1.

What other ideas have worked for you?

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