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Misconceptions by Angie Fuller

Some years ago, a new pastor took over a large congregation when his aging father, who’d led the congregation for decades, was ready to retire. This coincided with a significant building campaign to construct a new facility. So, before stepping down, the father went to great lengths to help his inexperienced son. He secured the new site, contacted building suppliers for high-quality materials and workers, and even organized long-range schedules for lay leaders to serve on committees in charge of finances, worship music, and other general tasks in the new building (hospitality, set-up/clean-up, etc.). To prevent misconceptions of favoritism or seniority, and to make sure young people could learn from those more experienced, he created the committees’ schedules by simply drawing names.

It’s a loose adaptation, but this is essentially what happened around 1000 BC, when Solomon (OK… a king, not a pastor) took on the building of the temple in Jerusalem as his father, David, neared the end of his life. Read 1 Chronicles 22-26 for the story. (You can skim the names in their “church directory.”) The numbers are mind-boggling … 38,000 assigned to different temple duties, with 4,000 on the “orchestra” roster alone! Granted, it was a nation, not a mega-church. But in an era when status influenced everything, David organized the people with impartiality: from priests to musicians to gatekeepers, he “had them cast lots for their duties — young and old alike, teacher as well as student” (24:5, 31; 25:8; 26:13).

David’s life, while far from perfect, had taught him that the health of this group depended on equality (treat everyone the same), stability (train future leaders), and transparency (operate openly). I’ve thought about this in relation to our church — and specifically to the Sanctuary Choir, perhaps one of the largest and most enduring community groups at 2BC. While far from perfect, of course, our choir functions with equality, stability, and transparency.

But just as the language of the first paragraph above created a misconception that David’s story was relatively modern, mistaken assumptions abound in all aspects of our society — including our own church. From the outside looking in, there’s no way to fully understand a situation, a set of beliefs, or a group’s dynamics. So those who don’t sing in 2BC’s choir may have some misconceptions:

“Almost everyone is either a professional or equal to it.” While our choir is blessed to have a number of well-trained musicians, over two-thirds of them are NOT musicians by trade. And those who have music degrees humbly share their expertise only when asked. This is a group for ANYONE … teacher as well as student.

“They expect a long-term weekly commitment.” As with anything, consistency benefits both the individual and the group. But some singers have come and gone as the seasons of their lives have changed. They are missed when they leave and warmly welcomed if they choose to return. ANYONE is welcome to try for a few weeks.*

“I’m too old/young.” Our choir spans three generations. There is room for ANYONE … young and old alike.

“I’m too out of practice.” God values our sincere praise — even if we have to work the “dust” out of long-unused vocal skills. ANYONE can try unfamiliar and even difficult things … and be surprised by the joy of learning and making music with others.*

“It’s just a music ensemble.” Oh, but it is so much more! We share humor and friendship, joys, and tears. We support each other in tangible ways and regular prayer. It is our community in every sense of the word, and truly … ANYONE can join!

Not everyone loves to sing, of course. We all have different gifts to use in God’s kingdom. But if singing in a choir is something you miss or would simply like to try, put aside your misconceptions and share your voice with us!

*It’s not too late to try singing just for the upcoming Christmas season! Join us each Wednesday at 7:10. We are working on John Rutter’s “Gloria,” an African-American spiritual, and more.

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