The institution of the ministry of music has its genesis in the Old Testament scriptures. King David is given credit for the organization of musicians and singers who were taken exclusively from the tribe of Levi. They were very skilled and were housed in the temple. They were also compensated with the tithes of the people.
In 1 Chronicles 24-25 the Levites are divided according to their different roles. Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun were set apart as musicians and prophets. According to 2 Chronicles 35:15; 1 Chronicles 25:1, 6-7
It is clear from these and many other passages in the Old Testament that the Levites were a very important part of worship and temple duties. The Levites fulfilled a mediatory role in the Old Testament system of worship. God Himself set the Levites aside to minister as mentioned in Numbers 3:5-8. It was for this reason that they alone could minister in the temple. Their responsibilities included the maintenance of the temple and temple finances. Levites also served as temple doorkeepers and were responsible for the transportation of the temple artifacts which included the Ark of the Covenant, which represents the manifested presence of God.
The choir and musicians of that day consisted of all males. Singers included a choir that had a minimum of twelve adult male singers. They served between the age of thirty and fifty with a five year training period. The Mishnah (Jewish law book) even laid out the minimum and maximum number of specific instruments allowed.
In the New Testament there is a very different picture.
When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD the choir disappeared. There were no choirs in the Synagogues because these were places of instruction rather than worship. There were three forms of public singing of the Scriptures, called responsive singing. The Leader would chant or sing the first part then the congregation would sing or chant the same part or the second part.
Now in the New Testament in contrast to the minority priesthood, all of God's people are priests through the blood of Christ. Revelation 1:5-6;1 Peter 2:5
As a direct result of Christ's atoning death on the cross, a powerful and definite swing from divided, segregated worship as in the Leviticus system, to united and corporate worship through the blood of Christ, has taken place. We are encouraged to worship God in a united and corporate way today.
At Timothy, we worship with a number of choirs/ensembles led by our Minister of Music, Bruce E. Ware
They are: AGAPE, TEHILLAH, TODAH, SHABACH, JUDAH& ZAMAR AGAPE (a Greek word meaning unconditional love) - This group is our main adult church choir. This choir ministers for most of the worship services at TimothyBaptistChurchand also travels when the church fellowships with other churches.
TEHILLAH (a Hebrew word that means “to sing extemporaneously”) - This group is our small adult ensemble. This select group is made up of about nine singers and usually ministers once a month. They also travel when there is a need or request for a smaller group.
SHABACH (a Hebrew word that means “to scream or shout as praise to God”) - This is our children's choir. They usually minister every 4th Sunday for the 11:00 worship hour.
TODAH (a Hebrew word meaning “to extend the hand in adoration and worship”) – This choir is comprised mainly of college students who attend The Universityof Georgia. It is also connected with the Campus Ministry which is the college outreach ministry of TBC.
JUDAH(a Hebrew word that means “praise”) – This is the combined choir. It consists of members from AGAPE, TEHILLAH, SHABACH and TODAH. This choir usually ministers every 5th Sunday and on special occasions or when called upon.
ZAMAR (a Hebrew word meaning “to touch the strings”) - This is the instrumental department of the music ministry at TimothyBaptistChurch. Members of Zamar are present for all worship experiences and travel with the ministry when needed or called upon.
The Music Ministry of Timothy Baptist Church is an organized and cohesive unit that strives for excellence in worship. Our mission is to evangelize through music, to empower and encourage the congregation in corporate worship and to create an atmosphere that the presence of God can inhabit. (II Chronicles 5:11-14)