Pilot Project: Music in Churches

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Wed, 04/01/1987
End Date: 
Thu, 12/31/1987

Linda Clark and researchers from Boston University’s School of Theology employed this planning grant to create a fresh approach to understanding vitality of church life in mainline Protestant denominations: church music programs. Working under the philosophy that church music reveals the “soul” of a congregation (that is, the inner life of a church, not merely sentimental affinity) Clark collaborated with social scientists to develop an adequate method of inquiry that would demonstrate the interrelationship between music and congregational identity. Over the nine month timetable they organized the methodology for further research around these critical areas: the congregation’s self-identity as a religious community, worship, the congregation’s music program, the musical lives of congregants outside the church, and the worship planning process. The final instruments of study included surveys and interviews with leadership and laity, and examining hymnals and musical styles. They tested the methodology on one-tenth of the participating congregations.(MG)