Favorite Hymn Writers and Arrangers
There are tons of great new hymns and new hymn arrangements being written today! Here are some writers and arrangers whose material my church uses most frequently:
Keith & Kristyn Getty — This husband & wife songwriting team are best known for their marvelous hymn “In Christ Alone”. Their hymns are intended for corporate worship, and feature a powerful combination of singable melodies and weighty lyrics. All of their albums are worthwhile, but see especially Hymns for the Christian Life and Awaken the Dawn.
Stuart Townend — Often a songwriting partner of the Gettys, Townend is the author of the familiar hymns “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” and “The Power of the Cross”. His most recent album Creation Sings provides unique arrangements of some of his songs previously recorded by the Gettys.
Sovereign Grace Music — This collaborative effort led by Bob Kauflin involves many hymn writers who have produced modern arrangements of older hymn texts like “Before the Throne of God Above” as well as new songs such as “All I Have Is Christ”. Most of their albums are available for free streaming through their Bandcamp page. Here’s my personal favorite:
Sojourn Music — Based out of Louisville’s Sojourn Church, this group produces arrangements with more of an indie rock flavor. Recently they have been churning out updated versions of the hymns of Isaac Watts. I also love this arrangement of Augustus Toplady’s “Rock of Ages”:
Enfield — This California-based band writes some of the more musically-interesting hymn arrangements out there, such as “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”. Their albums are available for streaming online through their website. The first volume of their Hymn Sessions is a highly recommended album!
Seeds Family Worship — This group does not produce hymns per se, but they have a ton of great Scripture songs designed to help children write God’s Word on their hearts. They are great for adults, too! We’ve used a few of their songs in corporate worship. Their most recent devotion explores the character of God:
Church Music Resources
It’s one thing to hear good hymn arrangements; it’s quite another to be able to play them in your church! Here are some of the most helpful locations to acquire arrangements that are playable by musicians of all skill levels:
- PraiseCharts — Here you’ll find full orchestrations of thousands of songs from a variety of Christian artists, as well as original “house” arrangements by the PraiseCharts staff. Most of these arrangements are written to follow the studio recording precisely; it’s very helpful for your rhythm section, but many require a greater level of skill from your other players than you’ll find with other arrangers.
- HymnCharts — These hymn arrangements offer tremendous flexibility; most work equally well whether accompanied by a solo instrument (piano or guitar), rhythm section, or full orchestra. The parts are easily accessible for most high school players and “weekend warrior” church musicians.
- LifeWayWorship — Ever since the revamped website launched about two years ago, LifeWay’s arrangements have gotten better and better! The “SongMap” feature is a great tool, and I like that many hymns are offered in multiple musical styles (e.g., traditional, contemporary, jazz, etc).
- CCLI SongSelect — Most churches already use CCLI to navigate issues related to copywrite laws. Another helpful tool is their “SongSelect” feature. This allows you to instantly generate a leadsheet for nearly any song, in any key you like. For churches led primarily by a rhythm section, this is typically all that is needed.
On Church Music & Worship Leading
- Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, by Bob Kauflin
- Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views, ed. by J. Matthew Pinson
- Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice, by Bryan Chapell
- Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, by T. David Gordon
On Hymn Stories
- The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs, by William Petersen
- Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories, by Robert Morgan (see also Vol. 2 & Vol. 3)
- What Wondrous Love Is This: Hymns of Wonder and Worship to Remember His Love and When Morning Gilds the Skies: Hymns of Heaven and Our Eternal Hope, by Joni Earickson Tada, John MacArthur, and Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth
On Theology for Beginners
- Christian Beliefs: 20 Essentials Every Christian Should Know, by Wayne Grudem
- Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, by Michael Horton
- Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, by Bruce Ware
On Family Worship
- Family-Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With God, by Voddie Baucham
- The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions, by Terry Johnson
- The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago
All this barely scratches the surface of the great resources available to those who want to encourage the worship of God through the singing of hymns. Leave your favorite resources in the comments!