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No More Preaching to the Choir

When I was a kid at Woodland Park Baptist Church, the music minister sat on the platform in a wingback chair behind the pastor while he preached. He wore a suit. The members of the choir wore robes and they sat in the choir loft for the entirety of the Sunday sermon. They were a part of the congregation. There was no green room, which is where many Baptist music ministers and “praise team” members can be found today. The emergence of the church green room is indicative of a transformation of congregational singing from corporate worship to concert entertainment. No longer is the pastor preaching to the choir. The choir is nowhere to be found.

Wikipedia describes a green room as follows:

In show business, the green room is the space in a theatre or similar venue that functions as a waiting room and lounge for performers before, during, and after a performance or show when they are not engaged on stage

Wikipedia

Where is your music minister during the rest of the worship service? Is sitting in the room with the rest of the church participating in worship by listening to the sermon or is he in another room (perhaps between services) waiting for the next time he’s called to the stage? Have your church’s two services turned into your church’s two shows?

Let me be very clear about something. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that choirs have to have robes and music ministers have to wear suits and sit in a wingback chair. Frankly, there are no choirs and music ministers in the New Testament. That I saw it done a certain way when I was a kid doesn’t make it right, it just makes it old. So, let me disarm the people reading this and saying, “Show me in the Bible where we have to do it this way,” right now. I’m not requiring anyone to dress a certain way, sit a certain place, or sing a certain style of music. I’m just asking, “Does your church music look more like entertainment than a worship service?”

Is there is a green room? Are the music minister, singers, and musicians dressed like they are going to a concert? Are the songs being sung played regularly on the radio? Are the songs being sung played at concerts by the band who originally wrote them? Is there a fog machine? Are there programmed lights? Are the lights even turned on? Are the songs being sung accessible for everyone to sing or only those will more advanced musical training? Is most of the congregation singing or watching?

If the answer to to these questions is “yes,” then maybe it’s time to go find the guy in the suit and wingback chair.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant