The Worship Standing Leadership Group is focusing on ways our mission of revitalization can be expressed in worship.
The recent congregation-wide music survey, with over 50 responses, reinforces a picture we often hold about Old First: we are not only diverse in our experiences, interests and needs, we are committed and open to the ways that diversity is who we are and central to our blessing.We’ve included the results with this posting so you can see for yourself how this is demonstrated when it comes to the music that speaks to our hearts and minds in worship.
The survey results not only highlight our diversity they also testify to the quality of our life together. We are a community that understands that our diversity is one of our strengths. In a diverse community it might be expected that there would be strong negative opinions about some kinds of music. On the contrary, in our survey results every style of music sung by the congregation received neutral, positive or very positive responses from at least 60% of the respondents. Only three types of music received over a 10% response of “very negative” (chant, praise and worship music and contemporary Christian music) but it is important to note that these three types of music also received 60% or more neutral or positive responses.
When it comes to music provided by musicians we are even more positive in our diversity. Every type of music provided by musicians received “neutral”, “positive” or “very positive” response rate of 90% or more.
Meditation or time for quiet reflection is one area of the survey that stands out as a call to even more diversity in worship. Close to 45% of those who responded said they would like more moments of quiet in worship.
When the survey asked respondents to name favorite hymns, we saw evidence of the same “diversity to the point of little overlap.” Fifty different hymns were named as favorites by one person each. Out of the whole list of 65 hymns named, only 11 hymns were named favorites by more than one person. And only “Be Thou My Vision,” “Bring Many Names,” “In the Garden,” “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and “God’s Eye Is On The Sparrow” were listed as favorites by 3 or more people.
Our survey suggests that Old First as a whole doesn’t have a favorite hymn! With such diversity, worship will always be for us a give and take of meeting such a diverse congregation. Our new Music Ministry Team is committed to using these 65 hymns throughout the seasons as the lectionary allows. Also, if you have a hymn you’d like us to use in worship, please feel free to speak to Miguel Alvarado, Griffin Drutchas, Yajeh Ndimbie, Renaldo McKenzie and Alice Reyes.
This survey provided us with a snapshot of our current perspectives on music in worship. In addition to our focus of inviting and welcoming newcomers to join us, the responses also remind us that our music serves to enhance and enrich our worship. It’s so encouraging to see these survey results and realize what we see over and over again; that we are not only diverse, we are also committed to being open and positive regarding styles that wouldn’t be our first preference but that we know might treasured by another who might be sitting right beside us in the pew.
We have a strong foundation for continuing to challenge ourselves to keep turning our hearts and our planning outward to those who haven’t joined us yet while encouraging and deepening our faith and commitment to one another.
Click here to see the specific results of our survey for yourself.
Wanda Sevey and Alice Reyes