Continuing education in music ministry of the Atlantic Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Rodriguez Chalas, Rafael
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Previous studies of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) music have explored theological foundations, historical roots, and administrative challenges of the music ministry. However, these past studies did not assess the continuing education of the SDA music ministers, or provide Adventist research-based strategies for improving the professional development of SDA music ministers. Thus, this investigation sought to evaluate the continuing education needs of the music ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist churches of the Atlantic Union Conference, consisting of the northeastern states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and the territory of Bermuda. Utilizing a quantitative, descriptive research design, a total of 552 SDA churches were surveyed. The researcher identified, located, and invited 138 music ministers from those churches to complete an online questionnaire. The study investigated music ministers' demographic profiles, educational backgrounds, music and worship practices, and their reported needs for continuing education. Specifically, the study examined music ministers' preferred topics and methods in pursuing continuing education, their perceptions and beliefs regarding the adequacy, effectiveness, relevance, and support of the music ministry, and reported obstacles that prevent them from receiving continuing education. Among other findings, music ministers chose the top three topics they most needed: appropriate music for various worship styles; singing techniques; and where to find literature and resources. Nearly half of respondents preferred to receive continuing education by attending workshops, seminars, and clinics. The top three out of ten reported obstacles to receiving continuing education were time commitments, financial constraints, and unavailable local church funding. Some of the recommendations of the study included increasing offerings of workshops and clinics directed to Adventist music ministers, establishing worship and music offices within the local conferences to support and coordinate music ministry, and providing opportunities for intercommunication among music ministers, such as internet forums that promote collaboration and continuing education. This study has enabled music ministers to reflect upon and express their continuing professional and educational needs as they strive to make greater musical and educational contributions to their churches.
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