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How do we as church musicians adapt to the challenges of this day?

Dale Peterson, who served for many years as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Auburn, Alabama is a master gardener. If you are one of his Facebook friends, last summer you saw him post pictures of hydrangeas in bloom in his yard that would be the envy of anyone with a green thumb. Whether blue or pink or white, regardless of the shape, hydrangeas are a gorgeous addition to a garden but they only thrive in certain conditions—and they don’t always adapt to a new setting.


We lived in Charlotte for about nine years before moving to Wilshire in 2004. I had spent several years in Charlotte working on beautifying our yard. Would you believe when we moved to Dallas I attempted to transplant a hydrangea (a French blue) from our shady yard in temperate Charlotte to a backyard in Dallas that received lots of afternoon sun? It did not matter how much I watered that plant (its leaves sagged as if begging for water!), I was not able to get that hydrangea to flourish in the Texas heat. I had not chosen the right site and growing conditions so this plant would thrive. Sadly, it died.


A few years after this I attended a class at the Dallas Arboretum (botanical garden) titled, Hydrangeas that Thrive in Texas. In that class I learned an oak leaf hydrangea will do well here and it was best to plant it on the east side of your home. And that’s exactly what I did. To this day there are two large oak leaf hydrangeas flourishing in the front of that home.


The theme of this year’s Polyphony conference is “Adaptation.”

How do we as church musicians adapt to the challenges of this day? How do we read the landscape and figure out what will flourish in music ministry in the context where we find ourselves? And, how do you and I figure out when we can adapt–and when we have to be honest and say it is best to uproot and plant yourself elsewhere?


There are no quick answers.

Church music is a good life but not an easy life. But together we as a community of pastoral musicians can help and encourage one another.


Come and join us in Nashville!


Save the Date for next year's conference

February 2-4, 2023

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