Academic journal article The Hymn

Sowing Seeds, Bearing Fruit: A Five-Year Process for Growing a Singing Congregation

Academic journal article The Hymn

Sowing Seeds, Bearing Fruit: A Five-Year Process for Growing a Singing Congregation

Article excerpt

Sowing Seeds, Bearing Fruit: A Five-Year Process for Growing a Singing Congregation by Jennifer Kerr Breedlove. Franklin Park, IL: World Library, 2012. ISBN 978-1-58459-596-0. $19.95.

Jennifer Kerr Breedlove has written a thought-provoking guide that many church musicians will find useful in their ministries. As she wisely points out, our goal is much more than just "getting people to sing." How can we help people in our churches come to see music as a natural and indispensable part of our communities and worship life?

Breedlove takes the reader through a series of step-by-step questions and factors to consider in growing a singing congregation over a five-year period. Though primarily written for a Roman Catholic audience, a musician of any denomination or level of experience will find the chapter for each year of planning a worthwhile read. If you are a gardener, you will be engaged by many comparisons to the stages of creating a thriving garden.

Breedlove spends nearly a fourth of the book discussing the first year of the process, in which one must do lots of listening and observing without judging, determining how worship happens through music. Though not always easy, it is important to consider the perceived experience of the typical person on Sunday morning. In sifting through this information, a musician can begin to see what works, what needs work, and what might nurture the strengths of the congregation's singing life through the next two years. …

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