Tag Archives: hymns

Redefining the term “hymnal”

WLMag Jan-Feb 2013

Quite a thought-provoking opening paragraph (and rest of article) from WLMag’s Feb issue:

“Worship leaders are hymnal editors. Whoever chooses the people’s song for their congregation is not only a hymnal editor but also is a primary shaper of the way their congregation understands and expresses faith.” – C Michael Lawn

The author never gives a straight definition of the term, but in the way he describes it, he seems to view a hymnal as simply a shared collection of songs of faith, and not necessarily in book form:

Each song is in its initial form a personal testimony of how the composer views God at work in her/his life and in the world. While every testimony may be a valid witness of God’s grace, not every sung testimony should become the church’s song. Editors, pastors, and worship leaders are part of the process of deciding whose individual witness might become part of the common sung faith of the church. A hymnal—whether in print or in an electronic form—is a record of the witness of the Church throughout the ages—past, present, and even the future.

While I tend to think of it as a book, a Christian’s collection of songs today could reside in numerous places – in a music folder, on their iTunes/Spotify playlist, Youtube favourites, and so on. The challenge here is that because the songs that inform my faith are scattered across these sources, it’s now more difficult to share a collection with others (where in the past you could just hand a hymnbook over to someone).

Hymnals in whatever form they appear (printed, projected, digital) are usually carefully considered efforts by a denomination or publisher to bear witness to our faith throughout the ages, express our faith within the world we live, and sing ourselves into the church we may become. To this end, most of us do not have the skills to do this alone. We risk singing only what is familiar, easily learned, or comes up first on a Google search.

In fairness, we could also just call what he terms a hymnal a music library. Though I agree with his six-step challenge to consider purposely curating a collection of worship music for one’s church.

You can read the full article here.

HBC Service Redux: 14 November 2010 (summary)

Simon Newbould led the worship service, while Peter preached from 1 Timothy 2:4.

1. Come Now Is the Time to Worship – Brian Doerkson.

2. Resurrection Hymn – Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

3. All Is Well – Robin Mark.

4. Rejoice – Simon Newbould. Simon wrote this one about a month ago and the church have quickly picked it up. It’s easy to sing and the words pretty much proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

5. How Deep The Father’s Love For Us – Stuart Townend.

Sermon – The Mission Heart of God – Peter Somervell. In this evangelistic sermon, Pastor Peter preaches the good news of Christianity, explaining and proclaiming the truth that God desires all people to come to the knowledge of.

6. Jesus Thank You – Pat Sczebel.

HBC Service Redux: 7 November 2010

Since taking on the worship director role at HBC, one recurring feedback that comes through is that a list of songs we did each Sunday would be useful, for people to look them up at a later stage and get to know them better. So I think I will at least try to put up the order of service for each Sunday.

This morning, Craig Starrenburg led the worship service, and Jono Macfarlane preached from Psalm 73.

Order of Service

(If you click each title, you’ll get a link to a video of each song or item in the service.)

1. From Everlasting – Brian Doerkson. A favourite call to worship at HBC. We picked it up off Denys when he introduced it at Impact 2009, and we’ve kept singing it ever since. It’s particularly useful as its lyrics help us to declare God’s sovereignty over “culture’s shifting sands”, and to affirm that He is “unchanged by all the vanities of man”. This is one example of a good song, intentionally taught, that quickly became part of HBC’s worship music furniture!

2. You Are My All In All – Dennis Jernigan. This was new for the church. Craig tried to lead the church into a round where one half of the church sang the chorus, while the other sang the verse. It worked to some extent, though we had a bit of a mismatch with the lyric projection, where only verse 2 was put up for most of the round. Overall, nice lyrics that fit well with the theme – though from memory, the chorus was easier to pick up than the verse.

3. Wonderful Merciful Saviour – Dawn Rodgers, Eric Wyse. In a lost and broken world, I find singing these words give me incredible hope:

“You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for!”

4. By Faith – Keith & Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend. I’m always surprised at how the Lord ties together the song and the theme of the service. With the sermon and readings revolving around trusting in the Lord despite difficulties and perceived injustices, it helped me to sing this song about “walking by faith and not by sight” afresh. The instrumentation was a bit on the light side, as without drums or the rhythmic drive of a bass, the pace of the song threatened to drag. In any case, this is one the church knows well now, so it was sung with plenty of gusto!

5. Grace Unmeasured – Bob Kauflin. The chorus of this song says it all, really:

“Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace!”

Sermon – It is Good to be Near God – Jono Macfarlane. Awesome Wookie power, we were blessed with a sensitive and encouraging exposition of the latter verses of Psalm 73. Check out the full sermon here.

6. Be Thou My Vision – Eleanor Hull, Mary Elizabeth Byrne. We closed the service with this fantastic hymn. Being encouraged that God is all we need to endure and strive on the straight and narrow path helped me to sing this hymn afresh, as I considered:

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance now and always;

Thou and thou only first in my heart

High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art!

All in all, it was a great morning of worship. I left being really encouraged of God’s amazing grace and kindness towards me!


William Chong