I live in an odd juxtaposition of church music worlds. Much of the music I write would be most at home in a traditional or liturgical church. Some of the music I write lives best in a blended service, and some of the music I arrange is performed best by contemporary musicians. When I’m on the road, I’m involved in *all of the above* services. When I’m at home (not as much as I’d like), I attend a fairly contemporary church – whch just hosted a traditional choral/orchestra concert this past weekend!
Whether your church is contemporary or liturgical, congregations love to sing hymns because they KNOW them. The hymns have been around for generations, and as much as the traditional church fretted for the past 25 years, the hymns are not going away! Even my contemporary church sings at least one hymn a week. I love that the lines are starting to blur in this area.
Thank goodness, I think most of us are past Hymns vs. Choruses! We can use hymnody (and contemporary music, for that matter) without making a church political statement! Hymns don’t just tell a story in the message that’s sung; hymns can tell a story about US. About your church; the people with whom you walk through life. As I travel around, I have learned that EVERYONE has a story. So few of us know the stories of those around us. So, let the congregation tell their stories – through hymns!
- Each Sunday, have a member or a family give their life story/testimony about their favorite hymn, and why this hymn has such meaning to them. After the testimony, the congregation will worship, using this hymn. Make sure to include all ages in these testimony stories.
- Churches often create cookbooks – favorite recipes from their member’s kitchens. How about creating a real story book: someone interviews church members and writes their life stories in relation to a favorite hymn. This concept could also work as a video book of hymn stories. This would almost serve as a history book of the church, while drawing members closer to each other through shared stories.
I’m passionate about music, and I’m passionate about building community in the Body of Christ. And I love combining those two things! May your worship ministry help to bring about strong community in your church.
- Be Thou My Vision
- Creation Hymn in Classic Style
- O Sacred Wondrous Love
- Nearer My God To Thee
- Rock of Ages (Forgiven and Free)
- For Your Beauty
- Come, Ye Thankful People, Come