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Adding a Music Program to Your Senior Adult Ministry
By: Greg Skipper

Just as a well-planned and well-constructed addition to a house can add value to your home, a senior adult music program can be a wonderful addition to an existing ministry.

1. Gather Information
When planning an addition to an existing house, you need information before you start hammering. Before you begin your senior adult music program, you'll want to discover

* How is the new program going to fit with existing programs?
* Who is going to be in charge?
* Who is going to participate?
* Will this group be an extension of the senior adult ministry, the music ministry, or a joint effort between the two?

This is a good time for the minister to senior adults and the minister of music to collaborate on a building plan.

Check with other churches in your association to see if they have senior adult choirs. You can learn a lot from others. Ask their leaders to share the good and the not-so-good.

2. Determine Interest Level
You may want to begin a senior adult music program, but that doesn't mean anyone else is interested. Just as you wouldn't add a big exercise room to your home if your family wasn't interested in fitness, you wouldn't want to proceed with a senior adult choir without an indication that others are interested, as well.

Consider which seniors are currently in the sanctuary choir, as they may help to form a nucleus for the new group. Assign these choir members to be on the lookout during the service for other senior adults who are singing in the worship service. Also, attend a senior adult meeting and ask, "How many have sung in choir over the years? Who would be interested in forming a new choir of just seniors?"

3. Determine Structure
A good set of blueprints is essential for any building task. If the new choir is to do more than gather to sing old songs on Senior Adult Day once each year, good front-end planning is a must. To develop a solid structure, determine

* What will be the minimum age for your choir? Will it be the same as for other senior adult activities?
* When, where, and how often will the group practice?
* Will you combine practice time with other activities, or will the time be devoted strictly to music? Will the group sing in worship services on a regular basis or only for special events?
* Would the group like to present a special senior adult musical with drama?
* Once the group is formed, will it need officers? A calling committee?

The answers to these questions will determine the basic structure of your program. Remember, nothing takes the place of good planning. No shortcuts here.

4. Get Approval
In the city where I live, you wouldn't think about hammering two boards together without a building permit. Likewise, you'll want to take your plans for a senior adult music program to the pastor and enlist his support. The education director could certainly be helpful through the Senior Adult Sunday School program. Make sure the music council/committee is aware of and willing to assist in every possible way to make this new addition a success.

5. Start Building
At this point in the process, word might be out that there is the possibility of a senior choir forming. You may even begin hearing comments such as "When will we hear the new Senior Adult Choir sing?" Enlist choir members from the prospects you found in your interest survey. If you determined that part of your structure would be a telephone committee, put these people to work now. Set a time and place for rehearsal.

Carefully choose music appropriate for senior adults and prepare it for the first session. You may need to begin with unison or two-part music until you determine if you have SATB capabilities. This ensures that your choir will have a feeling of accomplishment instead of being frustrated by arrangements that are too difficult in the beginning.

6. Move In
You are now committed to going forward. Prospects have been contacted individually, and the new senior adult music program has been promoted throughout the church. It is time for the first rehearsal.

Have fun learning new music and singing familiar tunes. Save time for fellowship at the end of the rehearsal. Please keep in mind that you are working with volunteers.

During the rehearsal, let your new choir members know when they will be singing for worship or a special event. No one wants to rehearse and not be given an opportunity to sing.

If you have followed these steps to building a successful senior adult music program, you should be off to a great start. This addition to your senior adult ministry will add tremendously to the value of your existing program, and can be enjoyed by church and community alike.

This article is courtesy of Lifeway Christian Resources, www.lifeway.com.

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