I can’t think of time when music was not something that I enjoyed. Most of my earliest memories pretty much revolve around music. My mom loves to tell people that when I would be sitting in my car seat as a baby, I would bob my head back and forth to the beat of the music on the radio.
I went to Samford on a music scholarship and thought that I wanted to be a vocal performance major and sing for a living, maybe be a music minister. A year and a half into that, I realized that I didn’t have the same joy for music that I had previously. I realized I could enjoy music and be a part of worship ministry without that being my actual vocation.
I got involved in the a capella choir at Samford and that kind of helped bring back my love of music and singing, and that’s actually where I met my wife, Stephanie. Like me, music played a major role in her life too. Stephanie is the daughter of a former worship pastor. Her mother sings too and is an amazing piano player. So both of us grew up in musical families and we naturally share a love of music.
When we first came to Brook Hills, we were pregnant with our daughter and took a little time to just sit back and figure out what God wanted us to do and where to plug in. After about a year of coming to Brook Hills, we decided it was time to get involved and we jumped into choir and the praise team, and we have been a part of the worship ministry here ever since. We truly love it.
The community I have found just in being a part of the choir alone has been incredible. Every Wednesday night that we have choir practice, there is a time of devotion and prayer. Usually we break up into smaller groups for this time, and since there aren’t as many men in choir, we often end up in a group together. During this time, we’re sharing from our hearts and sharing any prayer requests that we may have. Specifically, this time together has been a huge part of helping to build a strong sense of community between the members of the choir. During the week, I often think about each of those men I was grouped with and am reminded to pray for them and their families. I’m compelled to be intentional about following up with them and letting them know I’ve been praying for them which I think is a crucial part of our community—letting each other know we matter to one another and to God.
So that’s kind of how we’ve built community within the choir and I think that’s major props to Kasey [Mixon, Choir Director] for setting that up on Wednesday nights. She pushes us—yes, let’s work towards excellence with the music…. Let’s learn our notes and let’s work on dynamics, but, above all, let’s work on having a true heart for worship. On those Sundays that we sing, it’s not a performance. It’s a time for us to be able to worship together and then help facilitate that worship for the rest of the faith family.
A lot of times in choir, actually, you get the best view and the best seat for what God is doing in corporate worship. You see the faces, and you hear the voices of the people in the congregation, and the hands that are raised in praise and worship. It’s a great time to just witness the building up of the Body and the exhortation of God. I see this scene and just think, ‘Lord we love you. We thank you for who you are and who you have made us to be.’
When I’m sitting in the Worship Room on Sundays, I hear so many voices around me that are really good. I know that there are other people in the church who love to sing. I want to encourage anyone who may be interested in seeing what being a part of the choir is like to come to at least one Wednesday night practice. There are no auditions, you don’t have to be able to sight-read music, you don’t even have to be a great singer. All you need is the joy of worship.
I also think there’s a lot more men in our church who know how to sing and enjoy musical worship who maybe haven’t considered being a part of the choir. Men, we could really use more of your voices in the choir. I want to encourage you… being in the choir has actually been one of the greatest opportunities for me to build a sense of community with other men at Brook Hills. Along with growing with us in community, this is also an opportunity for us to be the leaders we’re called to be in worship and leaders in our church.
My wife and I love being members of the choir and involved in the worship ministry at Brook Hills. We are so thankful to be at a church where the focus is not on the performance—while we should all work to hone our gifts and work towards excellence, it’s truly about having a heart for worship and being in the right place on Sundays when we’re leading our faith family. And that is, I think, crucial to having a great worship experience as a church.
Joey Coons has been a member of Brook Hills for nearly 14 years and serves in our Worship Ministry, singing on the Praise Team and in choir. He has been married to his wife, Stephanie, for 19 years. Their daughter, Ella, is in 7 th grade and has developed a love for music just like her parents. The Coons love to sing together and have fun with music whether it is at home or on a car ride. They can be described as the ones you see riding down the road singing as a family at the red light.