Organization is a necessary part of forming a church choir. Outlining your program involves planning and communicating what needs to take place in order for the choir to become a functioning part of the church. Developing and implementing this outline will take time and work, but the end result of a unified, well-functioning choral group is worth the effort.
Laying the Foundation
Assess the situation within the church
Assess the situation within the church. Is a choir already in place? If so, get to know the people already involved in the choral program; you may or may not have to recruit more members, depending on the quantity and skill level of the present members.
Meet with the church ministry team
Meet with the church ministry team (possibly the pastor or pastors, elders, deacons, individuals involved in music ministry at the church already). Discuss what their expectations are and share your plans and expectations.
Announce choir member recruitment
Announce choir member recruitment (assuming you have a need to recruit). Do this via apersonal announcement during church services, bulletins, newsletters or a church website.
Forming the Group
Meet with current and prospective choral members
Meet with current and prospective choral members. Discuss possible practice times and dates. You'll never choose a regular day and time that suits everyone, but you can make a judgment about the best schedule based on the information you receive.
Discuss your expectations
Discuss your expectations. Define your role as choir director and the members' roles as well. Be clear about the level of commitment you expect and encourage those who can't fulfill that type of commitment to be honest about it. You want to encourage participation, but you have to be firm about what needs to happen. If some people decide to back out, it's better they do it early on.
Distribute a folder to each choir member
Distribute a folder to each choir member once you have a definite group that is willing to participate under the given expectations. Have members label the folders with their names.
Pass out sheet music to a few simple songs
Pass out sheet music to a few simple songs. Explain that all sheet music will be kept in each member's folder. Sing through the songs you've chosen. This should give you an overview of ability and skill among the members.
Test skills more precisely
Test skills more precisely. Have each member sing individually in order to determine types of voices (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). Survey your group to see who can read music and who cannot. Question them about previous experience.
Once you've recruited members, shared your expectations and tested for ability level, the key to having the outline succeed is consistent practice and following through with what you described in the beginning. Besides developing musical skill, make time for socialization among your group. This will build unity and cooperation among members, which will in turn, give them a positive attitude about being a part of the choir. Choir members who look forward to participating often sound better and contribute more.