You’re Not Too Cool for Traditional or Too Mature for Contemporary

Matthew Starner suggests a balanced approach to worship planning:

Hymns have played a role in worship since the earliest days of the church, and especially since the Reformation. Martin Luther helped to bring hymns to greater prominence when he encouraged the congregation to actually participate. In the time before the Reformation, people would attend the service and the choir or priest would sing – often in Latin, which no one understood. But when hymns were translated into the language of the people and they were encouraged to sing, everything changed.

Hymns are characterized by their simple form, their [general] singability, and theological depth. In terms of form, the vast majority of all hymns are “strophic,” meaning every verse has the same melody. This makes them easy to learn and remember. They also are usually singable by the average person. There certainly are hymns that are challenging to sing, but for the most part, the rhythm and melody are kept simple. The biggest thing that hymns have is their depth of theological content. Hymns have captured in beautiful and poetic language the truths of Scripture. There’s a reason that so many of them have lasted for hundreds of years: they help us understand the faith in timeless ways.

Those hymns are a gift given to us by our spiritual forefathers. Yes, there are weak hymns that get replaced by stronger ones. Yes, there are some that are better suited to your theological or denominational position than others. But to simply throw out all hymns is to say that these gifts from those who have gone before us are worthless.

So no, you’re not too cool for traditional. You need the depth of content that hymns bring to your worship experience.

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