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This theses was completed for a Masters of Arts in Ethnomusicology at Bethel University.


There are many obstacles to sharing Christ with nomadic peoples. Obstacles include distance of travel from one family group to another, the mobility of these family groups, the finances and investment to locate the families every season, the lack of fellowship and discipleship materials for those that do become Believers, and the peer pressure that these Believers face in the midst of this lack. What resources can be offered to fill this gap? How can the Gospel be communicated in a relevant and engaging way to a people group that is spread out across hundreds of miles, resistant to sedentary thinkers, and has no consistent contact with Believers? Consider the option of music. Music is intrinsically linked with society, culture, and worldview. Within its melody, rhythm, lyric, and context, it communicates, challenges, and confirms how one sees the world through a form viable and acceptable to the nomads‟ way of life.

The purpose of this grounded theory study is to explore the unique qualities of music making within a nomadic culture. Identity formation through musical performance and its social context is one vital part of a nomad‟s strategy for a continuing existence. It reflects and informs the essence of who he is as a proud and independent nomad with the ability to negotiate his existence within the changing and sometimes harsh climate in which he lives (physically, spiritually, and politically). The study will focus on the current context and process of music making within the lives of herding communities in central Mongolia with the broader purpose of exploring the common elements of identity formation and nomadic strategy through the music cultures of nomadic peoples in general. In addition, it is hoped the study will encourage and resource church leaders and mission workers to reach out to nomadic communities in their respective areas by encouraging the use of music as an effective tool for evangelism, worship, and discipleship.