I recently had the opportunity to attend one of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing events. This involved a summit in the morning for pastors and music leaders and a concert in the evening.

It was so encouraging! As I listened to their hymns and singing philosophies, and as we sang hymns together, I thought to myself with a happy sigh, “these are my people.”

I am very excited about this newer movement in contemporary christianity, the movement of the writing and singing of quality new hymns. In no way do I believe that all the hymns that should be written have already been written (and published in our favorite hymnbooks…Hymns for the Little Flock, Hymns of Worship and Remembrance, Believer’s Hymnbook, etc.)

There is so much room for now believers to write new hymns that flow from grateful hearts into worship and praise of God!

Here are some points from that day that struck me.

We sing because

  1. We are commanded to sing. It’s the 5th or 6th most commanded thing in the Bible.
  2. We are created to sing. God made us with voices and vocal cords and brains. 
  3. We are compelled to sing. The gospel has changed our lives. How can we not sing?

Our generation is seeing the fallout of people in their 20s-30s who were given an unauthentic view of God through the songs they grew up with. It was all lovey-dovey and one dimensional. When trials came, there were no solid hymns to help anchor their faith.

Consequently, we have to change. We must fill our homes and churches with hymns that reflect and teach a broad view of God. (as exemplified by the Psalms.) We need to ask ourselves what hymns we want our kids to sing when the are doubting? Hurting? Worshipping? Find those hymns; write those hymns; teach and sing those hymns.

Something else Keith said resonated with me. In 50 years there will be no nominal believers. There will be a clear dividing line between true, deep believers and unbelievers. There will be no grey.

We should evaluate our congregational singing and song choices by more than just their singability. Dirt can be eaten. It’s edible. It probably shouldn’t be eaten. Just because a song can be sung doesn’t make it a good song. Nor does the hymnbook it is printed in or the power point it is projected on. 

God’s people learn their faith from what they sing. Songs profoundly effect how we think and feel. Thus quality is of utmost importance.

Hymns are good hymns if

  • They are rich in Biblical content.
  • They are melody driven and easy enough for families and congregations to sing. Not for performance.
  • They travel with you through life. Every day life. Good times. Hard times.

We should regularly evaluate, “how did the congregation sing?” Are all singing-men, women, children, young and old? Did the majority know the hymns that were picked? 

Why is this important? It goes back to why we sing. Remembering those three points reminds us that we need to build a culture of everyone wanting to sing. In addition to that, we should build a culture where everyone wants to help God’s people sing. Our goal is not to showcase our own talent but to help our brothers and sisters sing well. 

As we sing corporately, we remind each other of God’s character and of unchanging Biblical truth. This is both worshipful and edifying. A singing congregation becomes a missional congregation. Again, how can they not? As our songs are filled with the gospel and thoughts of eternity, we seek to reach others through the gospel.

For further information, check out the Getty’s book “Sing.” Or visit their website for concert and summit information.

Bernadette Veenstra

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