Jubilate, the Latin word meaning “make music or shout joyfully,” is the name chosen for our worship and church music ministry in Romania, founded in 2001 by five Romanian and American musicians. The Jubilate team has worked together since 1996, first as music teachers in a Bible college and then as members of a Romanian non-profit organization when God opened up the opportunity. Each member of the team has musical training and experiences in different facets of music ministry, as well as unique gifts and interests, all of which serve to meet the various needs of the Romanian Church.

The purpose of the Jubilate Foundation is to encourage and equip music and worship leaders and to strengthen the worship life of the Romanian church. To fulfill this purpose, Jubilate is involved in church-based teaching and discipling ministries, publishing materials, and organizing concerts as cultural events that provide evangelistic opportunities. Our teaching and equipping focuses on a biblical understanding of worship and music, as well as on musical skill development through workshops, seminars, conferences, and concerts. In addition to working with adults, the foundation encourages the involvement of youth and children in meaningful service through music.

 

Providing resources for the church

Resources provided by the Jubilate Publishing House include scores and educational materials for music and worship ministries of the Church. As a publisher, Jubilate is committed to finding and encouraging appropriate expressions for corporate worship that reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the Romanian culture. In compiling the two-volume Jubilate hymnal (published in 2003 and in 2017), a priority was to include a number of songs written by Romanian writers and composers. Included also are excellent translations of both new worship songs and traditional hymns from England, France, Germany and America, as well as songs written by Romanian-speaking missionaries who have lived in Romania for a number of years. The two Jubilate hymnals are used among Protestant churches throughout Romania primarily as supplementary collections.

Other resources provided by Jubilate Publishing include: choral collections for adult, youth, and children’s choirs; a collection of original Scripture songs for children, with accompanying CDs; a music theory manual with auditory exercises included on CDs; a manual for those working with preschoolers in musical activities written by Jubilate member Susan Strohschein; a manual for those desiring to learn play the recorder, by Susan Strohschein and Jubilate member Mariana Gherasim; a comprehensive book on worship, in Romanian, by Jubilate member Richard Mauney (Unceasing Offering: A Biblical, Historical and Practical Perspective of Worship); a translation of a book by David Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship; and audio CDs.

Developing disciples from musicians

Out of a burden to see disciples of Christ formed among the community of musicians, Jubilate members are involved in ongoing discipleship groups with conservatory students. For the same reason, in 2009, 2010 and 2013 the Jubilate Foundation sponsored an outreach to professional musicians throughout Romania – The Oratorium Project. A seven-day master course for orchestra and choir, it provides a Christ-centered model of excellence in music-making for young Romanian professional musicians. The project grew out of the rich experiences of two Jubilate team members who in their ministries have intersected with musicians in conservatories and in various performance settings.

The Oratorium Project consists of rehearsals and performances led by international Christian professionals, providing a positive and creative musical environment that encourages participants to learn how to bridge the divide between their Christian faith and their careers. The project meets the need of Christian professional musicians by modeling how to live out their faith in their work, as well as for non-Christian musicians to meet Christ for the first time. In the summer of 2009 Haydn’s oratorio Creation was presented in three concerts in Romania, and in 2010 the program consisted of works by J. S. Bach: Magnificat, two of his motets, and his Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major.  In the summer of 2013 the Oratorium Project resulted in three performances of The German Requiem by Brahms. 

One violinist who participated in two of these Oratorium projects is still a seeker in terms of faith in Christ. Whereas in his first year of participating in the project he would come late to the morning worship times and listen from a safe distance, the second year he sat front and center every morning. One day he told a team member, “It seems I’m supposed to be here more and more.” As a result of the projects, the musician has met with a Jubilate team member in order to read together through the Gospel of John.

 

Developing musicians from disciples

As each one of the members of the Jubilate team is directly involved in music ministry in a local church, there is a deep commitment to discipling music and worship leaders, as well as helping disciples grow in their service and in their musicianship. Two particular types of projects that fulfill this purpose are periodic weekend choir workshops and an annual week-long summer course for Romanian worship leaders who come from all over the country, as well as from abroad.

The weekend choir workshops take place in strategic areas in the country and bring together choirs from area churches for times of singing, learning, worshiping, and ministry in the local host church. As many as one thousand choristers from about forty churches have come together for one such workshop.

The week-long summer course, which we have now offered annually since 2002, has become the highlight of each year. It is a particular joy to witness first-hand the spiritual fruit in the lives and ministries of hundreds and hundreds of participants through these years.   The course includes rich times of learning, fellowship and worship, as well as ministry in local churches. Along with plenary sessions on worship, optional courses offered throughout the week include conducting, voice, keyboard, string ensemble, guitar, recorder, principles of song-writing, music theory, serving on worship teams, and working with children.

Testimonies by some of the participants in such projects reflect the many ways God has worked:

“Many times I have wondered what I could do to get the guys in my brass band to play in tune, to phrase well, to love one another in such a way as to give one another preference. In this workshop I understood what I needed to do—simply help them discover the musicians the Lord has already made them to be. I understand again that we find true worth in a musician not only in his skills, but in his humility—in what is given totally in service to the Great Maestro.”

“This week I’ve learned correct singing posture, how to work with children better, and how to teach others music theory. I’ve been encouraged for my work in the church, and the conference has opened my eyes to true, biblical worship. I’m glad that I could learn new songs, songs full of grace. I’ve learned what real music is and will try from now on to bring to God all my very best.”

Sing a new song

In recent years, the Jubilate team has found ways to encourage songwriting for the church.  Through an optional course at our summer course as well as through songwriting workshops and contests, we’ve been amazed at the beauty of songs written for God’s glory.  It has been our great joy to include many contemporary expressions of Romanian worship in the Jubilate hymnal.

Our prayer at the Jubilate Foundation is that every believer who serves his church in Romania will be an example of joy in servanthood, purity, submission, and giving, so that together in our spiritual service of worship we will all “make music joyfully.”