Discarding Choir and Orchestra in Favor of Rock Band: Are we Helping or Hurting Church Attendance?
In the current era, many churches around the country are eliminating choirs and orchestras, and moving to worship services led by a traditional rock band (guitars, bass, drums and keyboards) and maybe a few singers. This is done in most cases to make worship more culturally relevant, and hopefully, to increase attendance. Personally, I think we all should try to be relevant in the culture God has placed us, but in an age when church attendance is declining across the country, regardless of worship style, is abandoning the choir and orchestra the best move for churches to consider? As a church orchestra director, I realize I have a vested interest in this debate, but consider this:
1. Church attendance is declining uniformly across the country.
2. The average dedicated church attender attends less than two Sundays a month.
3. We live in an increasingly post-Christian culture, and this trend seems to be non-reversible.
On the other hand, we realize that the best way to keep people plugged in to church and to attend on a regular basis is for them to find a dedicated place of service. If they are depended on to serve in a vital role in the church, they are more likely to attend on a regular basis. This includes Bible teachers, ushers and greeters, nursery workers, media volunteers, parking lot workers, and CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA MEMBERS.
By eliminating the choir and orchestra, which can involve dozens, if not hundreds of individuals, and moving to worship led by singers and a band of only 4-8 individuals, we are greatly reducing the numbers of enlisted volunteers in worship. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot with this move, and actually contributing to the problem of decreasing church attendance? Should we not rather try to figure out how to involve more people in worship, but still move towards a more contemporary, relevant style in our worship services? Can we not have it both ways, in seeking to build up the kingdom of God? I contend that we can and we should!