What 8 things should you consider when selecting and then serving worship vocalists?

Part 7 in our Transitioning to contemporary worship series.

As East City Church transitions its worship service to a unified style of worship (see links below to previous articles in this series), they will need to identify people to serve on the vocal team in worship. ECC already has vocalists that sing in their contemporary service, but in the effort to transition the traditional service to a unified style of worship, it would be best to add additional vocalists that the traditional service would recognize as “their own.” This is a continuation of the effort to prevent an “us” and “them” mentality in worship.

8 considerations for sourcing and serving vocalists:

  1. Can they sing? Do they have a pleasant tone and can sing in tune?
  2. Do they have good stage presence? You aren’t looking for a performer but some degree of confidence will really help.
  3. Will they help evoke worship, not stifle it through their body language or singing
  4. Can they sing in a contemporary style? Traditional, classically-trained singers will not help your transition to a more modern approach. Watch out for exessive use of vibrato. A more “clipped” style is more appropriate. Musicademy’s vocal training DVDs are a great help here.
  5. Keep the group small. just a lead and an alto or tenor is fine. I would use no more than three or four singers. Remember that vocalists can be used on a rotational basis and the more experience they get the better they will become.
  6. Provide vocal coaching on more contemporary styles of singing for those that need assistance.
  7. A natural place to start the search would be in the existing choir at ECC, but it is important to search the congregation for potential singers as well.
  8. Consider the potential singer’s walk with the Lord and the example they set; do not underestimate how important this factor is in selecting worship leadership.

What are some additional guidelines you would use in selecting vocalists?

Next time, I will look at the need for ECC to cast vision for the new role of the choir.

Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is a frequent worship conference leader with a strong focus on equipping leaders in North Carolina (USA) and Southeast Asia. His blog, Renewing Worship, features posts that explore ways to renew–impart new life and vigor to–the worship in the local church.

Previous posts in this series

Transitioning your church’s corporate worship – part 1

Technology improvement – part 2

Developing a worship leadership team – part 3

Song list creation – part 4

Helping the congregation learn new songs – part 5

Pulling together a worship team in a church moving from traditional to contemporary worship – part 6

See also Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts – Backing Vocalists