Från blandad kör till lovsångsteam. Historiska och teologiska perspektiv på frikyrkliga sånggrupper


  • Sune Fahlgren


From Mixed Choir to Worship Team. Historical and Theological Perspectives on Song Groups in the Swedish Free Churches

The study gives an overview of different types of choirs in the Free Churches in Sweden, especially in the Baptist Union. The aim is to discuss the ecclesial character of choirship, a concept that is introduced here, and to present a deeper understanding of it as a fundamental expression of being church. The underlying hypothesis is that different kinds of choirship create different kinds of ecclesial communities. And vice versa: different kinds of ecclesial communities create different kinds of choirship.

From the more than 160 year old history of Baptist choirs in Sweden the study identifies and discusses theologically five different choirships: mixed choirs singing SATB, string bands and choirs, revival campaign choirs, youth choirs/gospel choirs, struggle song choirs, and worship (or song) teams. Other types, such as men’s choirs and children’s choirs, are also mentioned. The study makes comparisons between the choirs in the Baptist Union and other Free Churches, especially the Mission Covenant Church and the Pentecostals. An important aspect of the study is also the cultural and socio-political context of the choirships. The choirs’ musical styles and genres both reflect and contrast with the traditions, trends and fashions of society.

Different elements in the choirship are revealed and analysed: the organisation of the choir, the spirituality of the choirship and its ecclesial community, the different musical styles, the role of choirship in the liturgy, the conductor, the message in the song texts and the frequency of rehearsal and performance. The study shows that the practice of choirship includes an ongoing evaluation of two distinct aspects of this art: form and content. The history of the Baptist choirs addresses the challenge of keeping form and content together.