I started this adaptation with 3 excellent handbell ringers who wanted a challenge. Then I added J. S. Bach's famous anthem "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desirings" and assigned the obligato to the handbell ensemble. Then I added a barbershop quartet at which point I veered off the transcription path towards something more like an adaptation. Then an oboe was introduced (which plays the chorale tune), an organ continuo part, and finally a string bass that plucks the bass part. The final adaptation became "Jesus Bleibet" (which is the original text from Bach's cantata) performed by a quartet of singers, a trio of ringers, two brothers and a sister ( not mine nor the brothers).
You may put together a performing ensemble quite different: your soprano section or children's choir might sing the chorale melody, and a harpsicord play the continuo part with a bowed cello. Use the parts that are available with the download for instruments you have available. Go for it!
The non-negotiable (or "real value add") is that you must have is at least four singers that can sing the barbershop quartet part (ATBB). The quartet sings text not only in English but also in German, with a little bit of do-be-do's thrown in for theological purposes.
When it was first offered in worship, I knew it would be good as all of the musicians involved were excellent. But I was surprised that it turned out to be a highlight of my music ministry; a memorable moment of music that you have no doubt made a big difference in the worship life of your congregation. This crazy adaptation nurtured my folks and helped them worship; perhaps it will help yours too.
For more information, visit the Jesus Bleibet page.