Music and Vital Congregations

A Practical Guide for Clergy

William Bradley Roberts

Sep/2009, 133 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780898696233



Congregations that are alive and vibrant have vital music programs. How did they get that way?

There are sensible and practical steps to develop such a program which begins with a clear vision of the end product. This book addresses the many interrelated issues of defining and embracing the leadership role in the church music program that is required of clergy in parish ministry and essential for a healthy congregation.

Clergy and musicians work toward the same goals; however, clergy are trained differently from musicians. How does this fact impact their relationship, and how can they learn to work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect? The practical issues of employment can be addressed more effectively in this atmosphere.

If one is looking for the right musician for the parish, what qualities does one seek? How does one find such a rare and gifted individual? A successful search complete, how does the clergyperson work harmoniously with the music leader?

This book provides a blueprint for:

• Developing a vision for music in your parish

• Locating a musician who is a partner in ministry

• How music comes and goes in the church’s repertoire

• Moving from musician as performer to musician as pastor

William Bradley Roberts is an ordained minister and professor emeritus of church music at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is in demand as a composer, speaker, and workshop leader. He has served in parishes in Washington, DC, Arizona, and California. He was a founding member of the Leadership Program for Musicians and a curriculum writer for this multi-denominational organization. He lives in Richmond, VA.

"The canon on music in the liturgy addresses the centrality of a partnership between clergy and musicians; Bill Roberts gives very practical suggestions on how to achieve this essential relationship. Through a shared, simultaneous reading of this text, both rector and parish musician learn how to achieve a creative music program that sustains and stimulates the worship life of a congregation. Within this relationship, the musician can come to understand his or her role as a pastor, teacher, and performer and the parish clergy person can come to understand the trained musician's gifts as a creative, dynamic force in the life of the parish. . . . don't be misled by a book title. Take the time to add this volume to your library and read, mark, and practice its insightful contents."--Dr. Raymond F. Glover, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

“William Bradley Roberts has written a wise and faithful book on church music, one that speaks not only to clergy but also to all leaders concerned about the vital ministry of music in the church. He speaks knowledgeably to a wide range of concerns, from the practicalities of establishing a music program to the vexing question of conflict over musical styles, and always with a balanced viewpoint and a steady hand. Every pastor and every church musician ought to read this book and then talk together about the issues it raises.”—Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

“Crafting a handbook of lasting value is no easy task, requiring the skill to weave detailed practical guidance with invitations to explore the spiritual depths of music in worship and enlarge our vision of mature Christian community. Clergy and congregational leaders who use Bill Roberts’ book together will enjoy the company of a vastly experienced and genial guide whose insights may help them open up a new era for their communities.”— The Rev. Martin L. Smith, Sr. Associate Rector, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.

“William Bradley Roberts has given clergy and congregations a gift in the form of Music and Vital Congregations: A Practical Guide for Clergy. In a few more than one hundred pages, this seasoned music minister and professor introduces the core issues clergy need to understand in order to lead their congregations toward a healthy philosophy and ministry of music. His chapter on classical versus popular music sets the so-called ‘worship wars’ in proper perspective. Every clergy, and many laity, should read this practical and thoughtful book.”— Michael J. Clingenpeel, Pastor, River Road Church, Baptist, Richmond, VA.

"Written by an ordained and supremely gifted musician and teacher, this book provides a clear blueprint for everyone engaged in the worship of the church. Bill Roberts writes with an open and generous spirit of musical diversity, healthy working relationships and mutual support. He gives practical ideas for dealing with music for weddings and funerals, ways to involve children, and a variety of topics facing every church. Music and Vital Congregations is filled with wonderful stories and most of all, a wise and compassionate perspective. It is deeply inspiring."— Dr. Marilyn Keiser, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Music Indiana University Bloomington, IN Music Director, Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, IN

"Clergy and Parish musicians should consider reading it together and discussing each chapter. Roberts has produced a sincere and sensible book that deserves to be read by all involved in the Church's worship."— The Living Church

"Using a careful blend of practical advice with anecdotal evidence, and calling upon the giants of both theology and church music (Betty Carr Pulkingham, Alec Wyton, Edward Schillebeeckx, and St. Augustine, to name a few) Roberts has written a brief, concentrated guide that is entirely accessible and worthy of recommendation to both clergy and church musicians."—Jessica L. Nelson, All Saint’s Episcopal Church, Tupelo, Mississippi

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