SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Dressed in matching black dresses and suits, His Excellence Youth Choir is hard to miss. The 16 teens from Brown Street Baptist Church in Alton, Ill., competed as a large vocal ensemble during the Talents For Christ group competition on Wednesday.

But for director Wendy Allen, Talents For Christ presents her teens with an opportunity to more than merely compete—they can minister.

“Of course we want to win,” she says, “but I really don’t care if we win.” Wendy is more concerned with instilling into her teens a desire to serve the Lord willingly, and she has invested the last seven years directing the choir.

Bridging the gap between children’s choir and the adult choir, His Excellence Youth Choir encourages its singers to do their best for the Lord. Pastor David Burman is supportive of the choir’s coming to the conference, and the teens value this opportunity to hear speakers, network with other groups, and meet other teens.

His Excellence Youth Choir sings with a different style: without a director. First soprano Debra Jones, 17, enjoys singing without a director, and although the choir can lose some togetherness, they gain a deeper connection with the audience. And the people in the audience aren’t the only ones receiving the students’ ministry.

“The Lord uses them to fill me up,” Wendy says. “It’s just so rewarding.”

 These groups won first and second place awards:

Large Vocal Ensemble

  • First place: Faith Baptist Church, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Second place: Brown Street Baptist Church, Alton, Ill.

Small Vocal Ensemble

  • First place: Camden Baptist Church, Wellington, Ohio
  • Second place: Faith Baptist Church, Iowa City, Iowa

Drama

  • First place: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Naperville, Ill.