The Bullard Journal for June 14, 2019
Friday, June 14, 2019: “A Call to Action”: Where Have All the Musicians Gone? At one time the average congregation needed someone who could sing reasonably well, perhaps wave their arms in an appropriate fashion, and pick out music from reliable sources to teach a group of people called a choir to sing them in both a worshipful and joyous way. They also needed someone who could play a piano and/or an organ to provide the musical background for the singing.
What has happened? Where have all the musicians gone? This is a concern I hear regularly from pastors, church staff, and lay leaders. Probably the singular most frequent request I get from the congregations I serve is to help them find music leaders for their worship services.
Have the number of available musicians diminished? Is there a dearth of music leadership for congregational worship? That depends on how you see this issue.
It is certainly known that when it comes to finding someone who can play an organ for worship, that pool of people is diminishing. Fewer people learn to play the organ. Fewer schools are training organists. Fewer congregations have, want, or desire an organ.
Among the things that have happened – and there are many shifts that have happened – is that it takes more musical instrumentalists and less vocalists to lead worship in many congregations. The number of instruments used has increased.
Fewer opportunities exist to train people in instrumental worship leadership. Much less focus in available training exists about the theology of music being shared. Many churches desire to have multiple styles of music presented. And, I could go on and on.
Your call to action today is to be part of a movement to start and enhance the training of both instrumentalists and vocalists to lead congregational worship. Without a supply line of people learning, the dearth of available leadership will increase.