There are several things we can do as Pastors, Leaders & Musicians to enhance our hymn singing. Here’s a list of things we’ve tried or considered:
1. Introduce the hymn by telling the “story behind the song”; talk about the writer and what he or she may have been going through when writing the hymn. These stories are available all over the WEB; especially for the more popular hymns.
2. Use modern hymn arrangements once in a while. We’ve used Chris Tomlin’s arrangements of “Take My Life and Let it Be” and “Amazing Grace” where he has added some wonderful choruses. We also sang Todd Agnew’s version of Amazing Grace called “Grace Like Rain.” Other modern arrangements of many hymns are available on line; here are two such sites:
and Gary Sonnenberg’s “Son Songs” website:
3. A few years back we had a series of summer bible classes where we studied a hymn, or a song, each Sunday. This included a bio on the writer, digging into the scripture references used in the song, song commentaries, then finally singing the song.
4. Hold an annual “Favorite Hymn Sunday” and let your members choose the hymns by popular vote. We even preached on “the importance of hymns” at one of these services.
5. Use the descants, or add a choir behind the congregation that can sing the hymns in parts.
6. Use guitar and piano for those hymns in the hymnal that include guitar chords. Also use your children if they play violins or brass instruments.
7. Hold a “hymn writer” Sunday service. Using only hymns from one writer (Watts, Wesley, Luther, etc.). These are great because many people don’t pay any attention to the writers and are surprised to find out that for example, the same guy wrote “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” also wrote “Joy to the World.” Plus, when else can you sing these two songs together!
8. You can also use a hymn as the theme for worship on a given Sunday . Here is an example of one we did: