Future of Congregational Song
This page will serve as a landing place for papers and other postings we believe have something significant to contribute to the ongoing question, “What is the future of congregational singing?” These resources are not official statements by The Center for Congregational Song, but rather interesting viewpoints by people living, working, and/or studying in the field of hymnology and congregational song.
Technology and the Future of Congregational Song
A position paper by Harry Plantinga, Director, Hymnary.org
Intro: Hymnary.org is the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. With hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, hymnary.org has a unique vantage point on what hymns people are searching for and using on a regular basis. They also have the most complete set of data showing how many and types of hymnals have been published over the last few hundred years. This paper represents Hymnary.org director’s observations based on all of that data.
The Future of Congregational Song
A position paper by Brian Hehn, Director, The Center for Congregational Song
Intro: In the age of globalization and the internet, this paper makes the case for a shift from majorities to pluralities. This sets up the church’s song to be a leader in the church to show how we can learn from those who hold different viewpoints and how we can continue being the church in an ecumenical age.
“Where is our song going?” vis a vis “Where should our song be going?”
A plenary presentation by Lim Swee Hong, Director of Master of Sacred Music Program and Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music at University of Toronto
Intro: Subtitled “The trajectory of Global Song in North America,” this presentation was given during the launch of The Center for Congregational Song. Designed to challenge participants to look towards the future of congregational song, Lim Swee Hong’s global experience and perspective reminds us to look beyond stereotypes and begin to hear and embrace the ways various cultures are interacting and intermingling to create new art within the church’s song.
Finding Our Voice: Why the Decline of Congregational Singing Matters – And How to Fix It
An article by Bob Smietana, senior writer for Lifeway’s “Facts and Trends” column
Posted December, 2016
Intro: Quoting from various leaders in Baptist and Evangelical circles, this author tries to identify the reasons for a perceived reduction in congregational singing. After identifying causes, this article moves on to helpful ideas and tips for increasing congregational singing.
Why Congregational Singing Matters Today More Than Ever
An article by Keith Getty, composer and head of GettyMusic
Posted January, 2017
Intro: Getty directly addresses the idea that congregational singing is dead or dying. Connecting congregational singing to the life of the church and the theological importance of the act of singing, this article makes the case for why congregational singing is changing, but not going away.
Congregational Song’s Potential Challenges in the (near) Future
A blog post by Adam Perez, blog team member for The Center for Congregational Song
Posted November, 2018
Intro: Perez offers hopeful predictions and he names potential challenges for the church’s song. He grapples with the effects so far and the future of the recording industry and the use of hymnals, screens, and oral/aural music. He asks more questions than he answers…but when dealing with the future, don’t we need to be asking more questions than guessing at answers?