Lifestyle & Human Interest

60 Worship Leaders Break Out in Song Praising God at Chick-fil-A


I adore flash mobs. There’s a certain sort of sweet transgression in them, a way to break people out of their everyday routines without being mean about it.

After all, who doesn’t think people spend too much time staring at their phones rather than the world around them? And what better way to get them to look up than some unexpected show of human skill on a mass scale?

Of course, many flash mobs involve massive dance-offs or dramatic versions of songs. They don’t always reach for deeper meaning.

Yet on the first week of July, a flash mob at a Chick-fil-A in Nashville, Tennessee, put on a performance that reminded the impromptu audience of just that. Their act coincided with the 2018 Acapella Worship Leader Institute conference.

Acapella music — which is music performed without instruments and often with multi-part harmonies — is popular in the Church of Christ and other Protestant denominations. The annual conference aims to equip worship leaders to understand and perform this kind of musical craft.

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The conference focused on Bible study as well as musical niceties such as breath control and stagecraft. And it didn’t take long for the participants of 2018’s conference to put them to work.

A video shot by Chris Armstead shows a group of four men standing up at a table in a busy Chick-fil-A. Without warning, they began to sing, “Every praise is to our God, / Every word of worship with one accord!”

As they continued to sing, other people began to rise around the restaurant and join in. The normal sounds of a fast-food establishment crammed full stilled as the sounds of song filled it.

Eventually, some 60 men had risen and joined together in joyful melody. Some of the Chick-fil-A workers even tried their hand — or rather voices — at the tune.

The wasn’t the first time that the attendees of the Acapella Worship Leader Institute conference had surprised this particular Chick-fil-A. In 2016, another group had decided to sing the song “I Woke Up This Morning.”

Some of them shared their reasons why with The Christian Chronicle, a denominational publication for the Churches of Christ. “With all of the tragedy that had happened we wanted to share an upbeat positive message,” Joshua Birney said.

The tragedy Birney spoke of was the Pulse nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives. Others certainly must have found the performance encouraging because it has continued every year since.

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This year’s flash mob was comprised of men from every corner of the globe. Participants hailed from Canada, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Guatemala and the United Kingdom.

Armstead, who pastors a church in Atlanta, said, “The Chick-fil-A is maybe a mile and half away … we all carpooled up there. We started placing our orders and as the food started to come out we just kicked it off.

“I’ll definitely be teaching the song ‘Every Praise’ to the congregation very soon. Maybe we’ll try to do some flash mobs at local Chick-fil-A locations here in Atlanta.”

The employees and guests of Chick-fil-A seemed to have enjoyed the performance. Another nearby location even shared Armstrong’s video on social media and called it “a nice surprise.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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