Stakeholders’ perceptions of the role of gospel music in Botswana.
Daman, Pogiso Abel.
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Gospel music can play an important role in the spiritual lives of individual church members and, consequently, the spiritual and numerical growth of the church as a whole. The aim of this study was to investigate stakeholders’ perceptions about the role of gospel music in the Botswana Pentecostal church, where the stakeholders are pastors, church musicians and congregation members. The study was partly motivated by the fact that there is a gap in academic literature regarding gospel music in the Botswana context in general, or peoples’ perceptions of its importance more specifically. The data collection instrument was limited to a interviews because of constraints related to the Covid-19 Virus protocols that had to be observed, such as social distancing and uncertainties of nature and length of lock-downs. The sample size of the study comprised three strata, namely 3 pastors, 6 musicians and 12 congregation members (21 in total). The choice of the three strata was done purposively, that is, purposive sampling strategy was employed. This was based on the assumption that the three groups were conversant with the importance of gospel music and would therefore give relevant information needed to address the research questions. In this study, probability sampling in the form of simple random sampling was used to select the 21 individual research participants. The theoretical framework in this study adopted Pass’ theory that church music satisfies three separate theological functions within any act of worship, namely, kerygmatic; koinoniac; and leitourgic (Greek theological terms). Kerygma refers to imparting the gospel; koinonia to the community of the faithful; and leitourgia to the structure of church services and how ordinary people actively participate in them (Pass, 1989:91-119). The findings of the study show that in general, the purpose of gospel music is to spread the gospel. Many interviewees perceived gospel music as more effective in this mission than preaching. Additionally, because gospel music in the church is presented in different languages and members can socialise freely while rehearsing it is a sign that it has the potential to build church community. Finally, gospel music is an integral component of the structure of normal church services, particularly when praise-and-worship songs are played in between the items of the service to fill-in the liturgical “gaps”. Thus, the findings of this study support the thesis that gospel music has a positive impact on the spiritual development and growth of the church.