April 6, 2023

The growing parish: Expanding your music ministry along with your community

The growing parish: Music ministry and the expanding community


As new members flock to your parish, the music and atmosphere will begin to change. This can be worrisome to many. With change comes the possibility of diminishing what used to be. But what also arises is the chance for growth. Keeping that in mind, here are seven steps to maintaining unity in your church, while managing potential changes in liturgical music.

  1. Begin with songs that may be common
    In order to create unity between members new and old, choose songs that are recognizable and regularly used from previous services. Any common ground between people will promote a strong sense of community, even if the location may appear foreign to some. The most immediate goal is that every parishioner feels at home when attending mass.
  2. Choose songs that are favorites of other parishes
    Different parishes have different ‘go-to’ hymns for each service. Songs that are familiar to one group, may be new to another. Some play more traditional hymns, while others have a more contemporary style. Whatever the case may be, you should attempt to make accommodations when choosing music.
  3. Introduce new songs
    Traditional worship hymns are great because they are familiar. But by introducing new songs to the parish, the recently joined members will find common ground as they traverse the obstacles of learning new material. Eventually, these songs will grow to become favorites of everyone involved and will help to close the gap between groups. It is the role of the music director to continuously update the list of hymns, while maintaining the favorites of the assembly.
  4. Create a choir or worship team comprised of new and old members
    While these new songs are being implemented, invite new members to join the church choir or worship team. This will not only create a stronger bond between individuals, but it will also allow musicians to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the liturgy as well. As styles begin to blend together, your parish will develop a rich sound. This will create a change of genre and atmosphere. But this is a good thing. One cannot be resistant to growth.
  5. Utilize youth leaders
    By incorporating the voice and influence of a younger generation, you can gain up-to-date information on the direction of liturgical music. Musical style is ever-changing, and it is important to move with it, so as not to get left behind. This will also promote spiritual formation and congregational singing in teens and young adults.
  6. Remain open to feedback and criticism
    This process will not be easy for everyone involved. Be sure to keep in mind the needs of your parish and listen to suggestions from all. Passing out small surveys will create an open dialogue between members. Scheduled meetings for those that wish to assist in this transition will also ease the burden. However, take suggestions with a grain of salt. As previously stated, change is not something that will be accepted by all. Prioritizing comments and critiques will allow better time management and help you to focus on you goal of instilling community in your parish.
  7. Be patient
    Growing churches need time to develop. Do not expect everyone to be fully cooperative or committed to this process. It may be harder for some than it will be for others. And when the task seems too great, search to God for guidance and fortitude. Unification is never a simple step. It is a journey that must be taken by all. Yet in the end, it will all be worth it.

Using Journeysongs in your growing parish

Lindsey, a parish music director, demonstrates how the implementation of a contemporary and traditional hymnal can aid a rapidly growing church. In the video below, she shows the importance of adapting to change, while considering the needs of one’s parish. And with a helpful donation, her parish was able to expand and unify with confidence.

Journeysongs is the perfect resource for a diverse parish — one that is rooted in tradition, but also searching for contemporary worship music. With bilingual options included, this book is not only the perfect choice for age-diverse communities, but culturally diverse communities as well. It features 200 new hymns and songs, along with music for seasons and feast days, and a 28 CD set of more than 700 titles. Worship in unity, and engage your entire parish with Journeysongs.

“We’re grateful to have the best hymnal for our community — I love that it has so many great options for all the liturgies at our active parish.”
      –Lindsey P., Music Director, Mary, Queen of Peace


Contact one of our product specialists about information on resources for your growing parish.

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