• How Baylor is working to improve youth participation in church music ministries

    Rising ninth graders through just graduated high school seniors participate in the Center for Christian Music Studies' Worship Lab at Baylor

    The “Pro Ecclesia” part of Baylor’s motto means “for the church,” so it stands to reason that Baylor would be a place that impacts the music of the church.

    There’s a place on campus for those whose ministry is more musically inclined — the Center for Christian Music Studies (CCMS) in the Baylor School of Music — and in addition to training top-notch Christian musicians, they’re helping congregations across the country answer questions of how to be relevant in the lives of the next generation of the church.

    Baylor CCMS was recently awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant to support an initiative designed to have a lasting impact on the future of church music: the Strengthening Congregational Ministries with Youth Initiative. The Lilly Endowment grant will enhance the program’s vision of “fostering efforts to utilize Christian music to its God-given potential” by working to encourage and strengthen youth participation in worship and in the music ministries of their churches.

    Through a variety of projects, the initiative helps congregations more fully involve middle and high school-aged youth through outreaches like “Building Bridges to the Future,” which partners with congregations to help them design, test and implement new ways to engage the next generation. Current CCMS programs aimed at youth, such as Worship Lab and YouthCUE Festival, will also benefit from the endowment. On the academic side, CCMS will study the impact of such programs to determine the most effective methods for engaging, educating and training.

    “The broad goal is for these students to return home with leadership skills and confidence to collaborate with older adults and enliven their local church congregations in weekly worship,” says CCMS director Randall Bradley. “The project also will have a strong research component … and we look forward to sharing those broadly in the Christian music and Christian university communities.”

    Sic ’em, Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies!

    [Reaching the next generation is an important part of what CCMS does, but it’s just one of many facets of a center designed to be an international leader in Christian music. In a recent episode of the Baylor Connections podcast, Bradley digs more deeply into the ways CCMS impacts Christian music in a variety of forums.]

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