Sunday, September 18, 2016

Your Church Music Service

I'm interested in church musical practices, especially in various kinds of Baptist, baptistic and free churches. Here's an informal question and answer survey. Anyone willing to share?

1. Scope -- How many songs are sung/played in your typical worship service (if your order of service is a certain number of songs type of format), or how much time is devoted to singing in your typical worship service (if your format is a basic amount of time given over to singing/music)? In what order of service is the singing portion included?

2. Proportion -- What percentage of the songs sung are congregational and what percentage are "specials"/not congregational (solos, choir numbers, duets, trios, etc.)?

3. Agency -- Do you use instruments? If you do, what instruments, and do you ever sing without them? Are any "instrumental only" selections used? If you do not use instruments, is it a doctrinal or practical consideration?

4. Authority or Responsibility -- Who selects the songs that are sung? (e.g. Song leader, Pastor, etc.)

5. Source -- What hymnal or other sources do you use for your songs/music? (If you use a hymnal, is it shape note or round note?)

6. Style -- Does your church music fit a particular "style" or "genre", for example, traditional hymn singing or contemporary praise music?

7. Extra -- Add anything else you think is interesting about the music/singing in your church (for example, are Sunday morning and night services, and weekday services conducted differently? Are there any special music events? etc.). Also add what kind of church, such as Missionary Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Southern Baptist, United Baptist, Brethren, Mennonite, and so forth.



R. L. Vaughn said...

Here's an example from a church we attended several years ago.

1. Scope -- approximately 5 or 6 songs

2. Proportion -- Usually all songs were congregational. A visitor in the service might be asked to sing, and which was done during their annual protracted meeting.

3. Agency -- no instruments, all songs were a cappella. In this church it was a matter of practicality more than doctrine or even preference. There was no doctrinal objection to the use of musical instruments.

4. Authority or Responsibility -- the song leader was responsible for selecting the opening and closing hymns. The members of the congregation could request songs, or the leader would select them when there was no request.

5. Source -- Heavenly Highway Hymns (Stamps-Baxter/Zondervan Music) and The Master's Call Church Songs and Hymns (compiled by Eld. Woodrow P. Spiers); both books are printed in shape notes.

6. Style -- Old hymns, late 19th century gospel songs and some early "southern gospel)

7. Extra -- The service is always concluded with a song, at which time anyone may place an offering in the offering box, and/or may come to the front and shake the preacher's hand. This is an unaffiliated Missionary Baptist Church.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Here's another.

1. Scope -- there was roughly an hour devoted to the song service (10-11am). This was not set in stone; if a visiting preacher/preachers was/were present, the song service might be shortened to around 30 minutes and the church would have two sermons instead of one. This was at the discretion of the pastor.

2. Proportion -- All songs were congregational.

3. Agency -- all songs were a cappella, but it was not a doctrinal fellowship issue.

4. Authority or Responsibility -- there was a song leader who was responsible for selecting the opening and closing hymns, and starting/keying the music. The congregation could also request songs, or the leader would select them when there was no request. If a talented singer from a sister church was visiting, he might be asked to serve as song leader.

5. Source -- The Harp of Ages, Favorite Songs and Hymns, The Sacred Harp, as well as songs from memory and sometimes photocopies of songs that weren't in of these books. The songs were printed in shape notes.

6. Style -- Mostly old hymns and late 19th century gospel songs (and maybe some early "southern gospel")

7. Extra -- the song service (and probably the entire service) would be considered very informal by most standards. There was a general order of service - singing followed by preaching with prayer interspersed - but room was left for the pastor/moderator to change the order as led by the Holy Spirit. This is an unaffiliated Missionary Baptist Church.

R. L. Vaughn said...

In case anyone is still reading:

1. Scope -- An opening song and closing song, then range from about 3 to 6 songs in between the Bible study time and preaching time.

2. Proportion -- Most of the songs are congregational, but once in awhile someone sings a special song.

3. Agency -- One instrument, a piano. No instrumentals only. More accompanied than not, but sometimes sing a cappella on purpose, and once in awhile also sing a cappella because no one is present to play the piano. The concluding song at the Lord's Supper is always a cappella.

4.Authority or Responsibility -- A song leader (unpaid) leads the songs and chooses the selections. Sometimes selections are asked for from the congregation.

5. Source -- The American Baptist Hymnal and Heavenly Highway Hymns, and may at times sing from copies (and, rarely, from memory).

6. Mostly old hymns and late 19th century gospel songs.

7. Extra -- sometimes there is a meeting at the church just to sing. This is an unaffiliated Missionary Baptist Church.