Ecological View of Congregational Music Tom Wagner


e purpose of this chapter is to view congregational music from the perspective of media ecology – that is, as something that is both a media object and a form of media.1 Consider the following vignette, drawn from my PhD eldwork at the London branch of the Australian transnational network church Hillsong Church (Wagner 2014a):

e worship service described above is easily recognizable to anyone familiar with highly mediatized, networked evangelical Christianity (for example, Campbell 2013, 2015; Coleman 2000). It is an expression of faith in what media theorist Henry Jenkins calls ‘convergence culture’, where ‘every important story gets told, every brand gets sold, and every consumer gets courted across multiple media platforms’ (2006, 3). For Jenkins, convergence culture is an always-evolving set of logics and practices that shape how media operates within media environments. ey are best understood as the relationship among three concepts: convergence, participatory culture and collective intelligence ( Jenkins 2006, 2).