Hymnology Resources

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.

Recommended Reading

On Church Music & Worship Leading

On Hymn Stories

On Theology for Beginners

On Family Worship

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!

2 Comments

  1. I love so many of these resources! A couple other great ones are Indelible Grace (http://www.igracemusic.com/) and Clearnote Songbook (http://clearnotesongbook.com/). Both of these sites have extensive online hymns, lyrics, leadsheets, demos, etc. with new and traditional settings of great hymns. It has been wonderful to see this revival of hymnody in the last decade or so.

    • Yeah! I love Indelible Grace! They have a lot to do with the hymn revival, having been one of the first groups on the scene back in the early 2000’s. They’re certainly one of the groups that sparked my interested in new and updated hymns!

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