Worship and hymns.
Recently I was at a seniors conference…as a guest.
One of the speakers was bemoaning the fact that there is a general obligation on the part of the older generation to embrace what he referred to as the modern contemporary music in the worship service, without there being any requirement of the younger generation to honour the oldies with their music.
I agree. We keep getting more and more modern with our church services, and it is good to embrace change, however as church we are a community of people that should embrace all generations.
To confirm history we look further back. The reason we trust the Bible is because throughout the ages it has proved itself to be true and accurate time and again. So if we embrace history as confirmation of the present, then why don't we embrace those who have been part of it?
I love worship. I love leading worship, and I love seeing a church full of raised hands.
I am one of those people who also loves all types of music. There is not much I can't listen to, from Pink Floyd to Vivaldi, from Enrico Caruso to the Corrs, I count myself as having a good taste in a variety of music. In worship I am the same, and I also love hymns.
So should we do hymns in a Sunday worship service?
Not a backward step
I am not suggesting we need to replace the modern contemporary worship service with hymns. And for that matter, if you talk to the older generation, they wouldn't suggest that either. There are however, a number of hymns which do not know the boundaries of time or the generations. Great, anointed songs that have blessed, filled, and lifted the generations for, well, generations! We should incorporate hymns into our worship service.
There are great hymns like How Great Thou Art, and Holy, Holy, Holy, which can be re arranged to suit modern music, instrumentation, arrangements and music tastes. My only very strong suggestion is that if you are going to do a hymn in a service, don't re-arrange the song so much that it is no longer recognisable.
I personally use hymns regularly, and it is amazing to see when you look out over the congregation, how many eyes are closed and hands are raised when a hymn is sung. People don't need to look at a screen, they have the words written in their hearts. The music is familiar, so they sing it with gusto, with great passion and often with great emotion.
There is something so amazing about using hymns in your service that you won't get any other time. It is unique.
If you are a young modern church with a mainly younger congregation, you may be surprised at the incredibly positive response you get if you introduce a hymn into your service. Most young people don't know what a hymn is, and many people in our church have not been part of a church tradition, so for them it is another song.
I also note with interest that there has been of late an increase in the use of hymns in places like Hillsong and other churches which regularly release praise and worship albums.
I also like to string together contemporary songs and hymns, rolling from one into another, and using the hymn as a build into worship.
I recommend you think about what I've written and think about ways in which you can incorporate hymns into your worship service. And watch what happens….
Some of the hymns which I regularly include in my worship leading also include: The Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance, All to Jesus I Surrender, Great is thy Faithfulness, Just as I Am, and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.
There are many other richly anointed awesome songs which have stood the test of time.
Oh and by the way, the song we did at the conference was an old hymn: "T'is so sweet to trust in Jesus". What a great and challenging way to finish a blog!
Have an awesome Sunday