Nearly 20,000 United Methodists Respond to Music Surveys

(April 11, 2008, Discipleship Ministries) — The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries recently conducted surveys about the denomination's music and worship practices and hymnal, generating 19,091 responses.

In the months leading up to General Conference, Discipleship Ministries conducted a series of six online research surveys about the opinions of United Methodists -- pastors, musicians, worship leaders and laity -- on a variety of subjects related to United Methodist worship, congregational singing, and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) and The Faith We Sing (2000).

"These studies and research surveys are valuable in finding out what the people, pastors, and musicians think about these and other issues related to worship, congregational singing, and our hymnal," said Dean McIntyre, director of Music Resources at Discipleship Ministries.

A few of the survey findings include:

  • The top three favorites in the United Methodist Hymnal are "Amazing Grace," "Here I Am, Lord," and "How Great Thou Art."
  • The top three favorite hymns from The Faith We Sing are "The Summons," "I'll Fly Away," and "As the Deer."
  • The #1 hymn (currently in the hymnal) requested to include in a new hymnal: "Eternal Father, Strong to Save."
  • The top three requests to add to a new hymnal are "Love Lifted Me," "Open the Eyes of My Heart," and "God Bless America."
  • 75% would like to have healing services in the hymnal.
  • 43% want more praise choruses in the hymnal; 34% do not.
  • 70% sing the melodies of our hymns; 61% will sing harmony when it is provided.
  • 70% are comfortable using male-only language for God. 25% are comfortable using female language for God. 42% are comfortable using male or female language for God.
  • 28% prefer to sing lyrics on a screen. 70% prefer to use a hymnal or songbook.
  • 65% prefer Wesley texts with their traditional tunes. 33% prefer contemporary tunes.

While some surveys were open to all United Methodists, because of the specialized nature of the information requested, others were open only to pastors and chief musicians.

In 2007, the Boards of Directors of the Discipleship Ministries and the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) proposed legislation to the 2008 General Conference to develop a new hymnal for the USA.

The research and reports of the joint Discipleship Ministries-UMPH General Conference Music Study and Discipleship Ministries' additional new hymnal research are available on the Discipleship Ministries Worship website:

  • 2004-2007 General Conference Music Study,
  • New Hymnal Research Report 2007-2008,

The agencies have also proposed a four-year study of the need for and possible publication of an official United Methodist hymnal for African American and Africana congregations. The hymnal petitions are also available on the Discipleship Ministries website at www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship/musicstudy/part4.asp.

Discipleship Ministries' mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries (www.umcdiscipleship.org) is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, call the Media Relations Office toll free at 877-899-2780, ext. 7017

Categories: Press Center

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