Are You Ready to See Your Fixer Upper? – Part 1

Effective Church Choir Leadership for a “Repurposed” Generation

Like so many others, my wife and I have become fixated with the HGTV hit show, “Fixer Upper.” Yes, Chip and Joanna Gaines have inspired many of us to discover renewed value and purpose for what, at first glance, appears to be broken down, abandoned and of no value. We’re always blown away how this talented, celebrity couple can “fix” a dilapidated property turning it into a modern new home for their clients. Each property not only gets fresh curb appeal but it gains increased value as well.

I believe that the church choir of yesterday is itself a fixer upper of sorts.

On their show, the Waco couple helps clients see renewed value in a property even when it’s impossible to imagine. Seeing value is really what’s most important. I’m convinced that church worship choirs are incredibly valuable in today’s contemporary culture, but honestly, many church choir programs need a “demo day” experience to make new space for refreshed methods and renewed ministry purpose. The demo phase is really tough work. This process flexes our spiritual, creative and leadership muscles, for sure. Many times, load-bearing walls need to be brought down and reframed with the truth of “why we worship” and a “how we worship.” Many choirs, quite honesty, might even need to return to a right relationship and understanding of “WHO we worship.”

In real estate it’s always about location, location, location, right? Having pastored and led both student and adult church choirs over the past 30 years, there are three important fixer upper strategies that I’ve learned (sometimes even the hard way) for sustaining relevancy and inspiring value for choirs in a contemporary culture. As leaders, we must communicate, communicate, communicate!

Communicate a clear PURPOSE.
The overriding purpose for sustaining a church choir should never be “it’s always worked before.” Although houses of the past represent wonderful memories, they should never have the same blueprint as where we live today. Dusty trophy cases and black and white memories are wonderful to reflect upon but should not be what motivates or fuels our tomorrow.

Communicating a clear purpose completely transforms a church choir program. We need to give our choir answers to the “why” question on a regular basis. Why does our church have a choir? What is our role in weekly worship services? Why is it important that our choir members are committed to weekly rehearsals and worship service leadership?

Don’t assume that your choir members know the answer to these very important questions. Some may have forgotten and some simply may not have any idea. It’s our responsibility as leaders and shepherds to clearly communicate “the why.” Truthfully, I attempt to inspire our choir’s purpose every time we gather. All choir members are worship leaders with need for physical and sincere passionate expressions of their walk with Jesus. I often say to our choir, “sing your life’s sermon … offer your worship offering to the Lord from the deepest part of your heart and your life’s journey.” We should never perform our worship but offer sincere, honest and authentic expressions of our love for Jesus as choir members. Our physical expression in worship is our “sign language” of love to our GREAT GOD.

We hope you enjoyed part one of this blog series! Stay tuned for part two where we dive even deeper into this topic.

RickBriscoeABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick has served the local church for 32 years as worship pastor & church choir specialist. Since joining the Prestonwood Baptist Church ministry team in 1992, he’s led numerous student choirs on national and international music mission trips, served as platform soloist/worship leader as well as a campus worship pastor. Currently, Rick is associate worship pastor and gives pastoral and musical leadership to the renown, Prestonwood Adult Worship Choir. Rick and his wife, Barbi, live in Carrollton, TX and have two married children along with two beautiful grandchildren.

12 thoughts on “Are You Ready to See Your Fixer Upper? – Part 1

  1. Awesome blog. You do a great job with your leadership of the choir and I truly appreciate you and your cheerful attitude. Thank you so much Rich. Will be staying tuned for more to come with your writings. It’s JR of Dallas right here at desk #7110 at Texas Woman’s University telling student’s in the Nursing Master’s Program where to go and what to do to get their Master’s in Nursing. Of course I LOVE telling people what to do. !!!!

  2. I loved it! It’s exactly the way we should be praising our father with passion and expression of how we truly feel inside and how we want the church to know how we feel! It comes from deep inside and is expressed by our love and faithfulness! I love to sing, but when I first came to this Church I didn’t know the power of Gospel music now it is a passion of mine every day! Love you Rick, for having the same passion in what you do with us and for us! New member since last September! Susan Mohammadi

  3. This is a wonderful analogy. Mr. Briscoe also hit the mark when he talked about communication. When the communication is clear, incredible things can happen! As choir members it’s up to each and everyone of us to also be open to the Holy Spirit (and each other!) as we are only vessels for God to use so that we may clearly extend ourselves to communicate His loving message to others.

  4. Rick can me back to Prestonwood as worship pastor and leader more than a year ago now. Our choir was experiencing some real challenges having experienced several changes that caused many of us to question whether or not God was calling us to serve in other ways.
    However, Gods timing is always perfect and in walked Rick. He immediately reminded us of why we were there, who we were really serving and getting our hearts right is how we do it!
    So, now he and Michael Neale and the music staff have kept us focused, written some amazing music and we are growing and loving every practice, every Sunday and all God has planned for us in the future. Our choir, as our congregation , is made up of varied ages , cultures and backgrounds but we are brothers and sisters in the Lord! We are family!!

  5. Well said, RICK! Prestonwood loves their choir, and it is our great privilege to serve, first our Lord Jesus, and second, our church. RICK, you are a great communicator and your love for Jesus and people is so evident. Every Wednesday you lead us in worship and praise before we get to the nitty gritty. You also, make choir fun, new, and fresh.
    Thank you for your inspiring words.

  6. As a realtor, your message grabbed my attention! It is a great analogy, relevant, and up-to-date. It is well organized and correct length. Congrats!!

  7. Most people are willing to change if they know why and purpose and see the commitment to this change by leadership. Just like the home improvement shows many owners cannot visualize the change but they listen to the designer and in the end trust. May we always listen and trust our Lord in our paths that He is leading us. Thanks Rick for encouraging message that it is not about us but about Him

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