Music Ministry Benchmarks: The Choir Director

by vernsanders on March 18, 2011

This is number six in a sequence about benchmarks that started here, and continued here. We’ve specifically talked about benchmarks for a church’s chief accompanist for congregational singing here, and for a worship team member here. Last time, we talked about benchmarks for a choir member here.

Remember that what follows is my opinion, and not the result of a scientific study. It is, however, based upon years of practical experience.

Some people believe church choir directors are an endangered species. Yet singing, as an avocation, seems to be everywhere in the media (Glee, for instance). What’s up with that? Well…don’t get me started

The good news is that choirs are no longer considered a bad thing in contemporary worship, and, as a result, many churches who got rid of choirs are now resurrecting them, and, therefore, needing choir directors.

A choir’s director is often the leader of the largest “small group” in the church, which means that there are spiritual and relational requirements in the choir director job description as well as musical. Let’s look at  some basic benchmarks for a choir director. One caveat here…this list assumes that the director has a reasonable accompanist, or can accompany the choir personally. While I know that some choirs “sing along with trax,” such a choir program does not really need a director, but rather someone who can press play on the playback machine. Here’s my list:


  • Keeps the choir program alive
  • Cares enough about people to invest in the choir’s (and individual members thereof) development as singers, musicians, and worship leaders


  • Is  comfortable teaching and leading the choir in a variety of musical styles
  • Is capable of leading the choir (collectively and individually) in an ongoing musical, vocal, and spiritual development
  • Is organized enough to plan ahead for a choir season, rather than working week to week with no apparent direction
  • Contributes to the church staff team in the manner which is expected of that position at that particular church


  • Has studied and/or mastered and is  comfortable enough with a wide variety of repertoire to be able to teach the choir to sing in the appropriate style of any given piece of music (i.e. Bach sounds like Bach is supposed to, and so does Keith Getty or Bill Gaither)
  • Knows enough about vocal production and technique to help the choir (individually and collectively) sing better and more easily
  • Maintains a regular spiritual development component of the choir’s life
  • Works productively in rehearsals so that the choir is always fully prepared to sing during worship
  • Adds value to the church’s staff team, and is able to contribute in a manner that move’s the staff’s common agenda forward
  • Interacts with the congregation in a way that invites people to participate in the choir program
  • Cares about the entire musical life of the congregation, and supports children’s and youth music, worship band, handbells, and other pieces of that ministry

I think that’s about all, but the idea is to start conversations. Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below.

Next time? Benchmarks for the worship leader. Stay tuned…

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Music Ministry Benchmarks: The Choir Director – church tech news
March 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

msfv March 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

It’d be helpful to read a similar post to this one about handbell directors if you can do that.

vernsanders March 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Thanks for the suggestion…I’ll see if I can get it done…


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