Too many churches are stuck in a rut with their song services. “Victory in Jesus” is a wonderful song, but when it is sung every week for fifty years, even a wonderful song can grow tiresome! There are hundreds of songs in the traditional sacred hymnbooks, but many churches sing only a few of them. Variety is the spice of life. The largest book in the Bible is Psalms, and God has provided 150 different psalms in this inspired hymnal.
Suggestions for Introducing Variety into a Song Service
New songs should be introduced regularly and then sung frequently until they become an integral part of the church family’s ever-enlarging song repertoire.
One of the best hymnals with the largest selection of songs that we have seen in one volume is SONGS AND HYMNS OF REVIVAL. It is published by North Valley Publications, Santa Clara, CA (We don’t recommend the music published by Golden State Baptist College.) Majesty Music’s hymnal Majesty Hymns contains many beautiful songs which were written in the last few decades. (We don’t recommend Majesty Music’s latest hymnal Rejoice Hymns, as it contains many contemporary worship songs by Getty/Townend and others. It is sad to see Majesty Music moving in this direction.) This music is contemporary in the sense that it is new but it is not contemporary in style.
Pastor David Earnhart says: “For many years we have used the Chorus of the Month. And don’t forget the ‘old songs.’ I have often used songs like ‘Thank You Lord for Saving My Soul.’ Last year many raised their hands to indicate they did not know that song (even if it was ‘old hat’ to us old-timers!). This brings new Christians into the ‘common fold’ of music shared by Christians over many miles, and even generations.”
Pastor Don Williams, Believers Baptist Church in Winona Lake, Indiana, says: “As for learning new songs, my family regularly picks out a new song from our hymnal and works on learning it for a couple weeks. Then we introduce it to the congregation as a special and begin to sing it in the song services. Our church has learned a lot of new songs that way.”
Singing Scripture is a wonderful way to praise the Lord and edify the saints. During the Sunday evening services, for example, some churches sing Scripture songs. A source for these is Tri-City Baptist Church, 4500 Selsa Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015. Not only do these introduce variety within the music program, but nothing surpasses the actual words and verses of Scripture for doctrinal purity.
Even the most familiar songs can be made more interesting by an imaginative change in the manner of presentation. There are endless means of singing old songs in new ways (without going contemporary). (1) Musicians can drop out while the congregation sings A Capello. (2) One verse can be sung by the women, the next by the men. (3) One verse can be sung by the young people, another by the old people. (4) The choir, singing group, or soloist can be accompanied by the congregation in places. (5) An instrument can play the first stanza and chorus and then the congregation can come in and sing. (6) The timing of the song can be altered. (7) The chorus can be sung with a little more enthusiasm and volume as the song progresses. (8) Some songs can be sung as a round (e.g., Mat. 6:33). (9) Some stanzas or the chorus can be slowed down in tempo to allow the people to better think about the words.
Once a month our church has a song service in which the people take turns quoting or reading a favorite verse and then choosing a hymn. We sing the first two stanzas of the hymns to allow more people to participate.
The song service can be spiced up with the multiplication of musical instruments. Some of the most enjoyable song services I have participated in have been those accompanied by small orchestras. The Majesty Hymnal offers complete orchestrations for each song in the volume.
There can be a focus on worship songs in some services, and the song leader can work toward getting the people to really worship the Lord by singing the sings to the Lord from the heart. Hymns directed to the Lord include the following:
• Come, Thou Almighty King
• Come, Thou Fount I Need Thee Every Hour
• Draw Me Nearer
• Great Is Thy Faithfulness
• Jesus, I Am Resting
• Jesus, Lover of My Soul
• Jesus! the Very Thought of Thee
• Lead Me to Calvary
• More Love to Thee
• My Jesus, I Love Thee
• O to Be Like Thee!
• Our Great Savior
• Rock of Ages
• Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
• Take My Life and Let It Be
• To God Be the Glory
Some hymns are a combination of singing to the brethren and singing directly to the Lord. Examples are “Day by Day,” “Living for Jesus,” and “I’m Pressing on the Upward Way.”
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Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family, but they cannot be posted to web sites. You are also welcome to use excerpts from the articles in your writings, in sermons, in church bulletins, etc. All we ask is that you give proper credit. Things we do not want copied and distributed freely are items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18).
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