WRITTEN BY Jim Glover
On April 1st, there is an ENCORE event called the “Worship Hymn Sing.” I decided to give this event that name for two reasons.
- The first was an attempt to be clever—worship hymn sing—get it? Worship Him!
- The second reason was this event is just that, a hymn sing—an evening of worship, where people pour out their praise to God in song—or to be more precise, in hymns. Hence the name, “Worship Hymn Sing!”
Sadly, (though some might say surprisingly), my attempt to be clever in naming this event has been unsuccessful. Very few people have caught on to the play on words: “worship hymn” and “worship Him.” It makes me laugh when I ask people, “Do you get it?” and they look at me with a puzzled look and say, “Get what?” (Please note that when you have to point out to people, your clever play on words, you know that your attempt at being clever has been an epic failure).
Yet, what I have found to be really surprising—and totally unexpected, is when I ask people, “Do you get it” and they look at me with a blank stare and ask, “What’s a hymn sing?” My first response has been, “You’re kidding me, right?” But they’re not kidding.
How do you respond to that? There are millennials and young people in our church who have no idea what a hymn sing is. Wow! That is unbelievable to me. So, is that a big deal? Is it the end of Christianity as we know it? Could that actually be a good thing?
Let’s consider two verses:
- Ephesians 5:19—“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
- Colossians 3:16—“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
When it comes to “hymn sings” and “spiritual song sings”, here is what I know.
- Music is a powerful way to communicate Biblical truth.
- God wants us to speak to one another, teach one another, and admonish one another using music (psalms, hymns and spiritual songs). The message of the songs we sing should speak to our hearts and to the people around us as we sing them.
- We sing to the Lord, but as we worship God in song, we encourage and build each other up in the faith.
That’s the reason hymns and hymn sings are so important to me.
- Hymns speak to my heart in a very special way and it’s not just because of the words of the hymns, it’s because each hymn has wonderful memories attached to it. Singing a hymn is like having a cloud of witnesses, urging me on in the faith.
- When I sing hymns, I am reminded of the faith and faithfulness of the people who sang these songs with me year after year (my parents, my Sunday School teachers and youth leaders who discipled me, and faithful friends who were there for me).
When I sing a hymn, the words of the song and memories attached to it encourage me and build me up in the faith. That’s why I love them. That’s why I am leading a hymn sing on April 1st. That’s why it bothers me that millennials and young people don’t know what a hymn sing is.
But, I have to be honest, it’s not just hymns that have the ability to encourage others and build them up in the faith. Hymns are great, but they are not uniquely great. (Did I really just say that?).
- God has blessed His church with a wealth of songs that have wonderful messages that speak powerfully to the hearts of believers of all ages.
- Millennials and young people may not have grown up in the faith singing hymns as I did, but they were blessed just as much, singing “contemporary spiritual songs”.
In my Discipleship class that I am teaching, I recently asked the question, “What does spiritual music sound like?” When a 77 year old woman eagerly raised her hand to answer the question, I knew exactly what she was going to say, “Hymns!” Instead she said, “It sounds like rap music!” Her point was that if we are going to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as God wants us to, we will need to use a variety of music styles.
- I will gather on Saturday, April 1st, along with nearly a hundred other believers, to enjoy a wonderful evening of singing hymns and making melody in our hearts to the Lord—and I will love it!
- Then I will gather on Sunday morning, April 2nd with hundreds of other believers to enjoy a wonderful morning of singing contemporary songs, and making melody in our hearts to the Lord—and I will love it!
(Ok, maybe not quite as much as I love the hymn sing 🙂 .
“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him” (Psalm 147:1).
Jim Glover is the Director of Pastoral Care at Wallen.