5 Inspiring Ways to Incorporate Hymns in Family WorshipDec 17, 2023
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
You don’t have to be a member of the worship team to introduce your children to the music of the church! Many of us have a great appreciation for music and hymns but don’t know the first thing about how to incorporate hymns in family worship. We believe hymns and the ability to sing are an incredible gift from God, and we should use them in our families for His glory! In this post we will share some routines we have developed to bring music into our home.
1. Start with a list!
Determine a specific time to sit down as a family and come up with a list of hymns you enjoy. Get everyone involved! Each person should have something to contribute. These songs were mostly traditional hymns in our family, but you could choose any songs that appeal to you. Start with somewhere between 5-15 hymns on your first list, depending on your family’s size, ages of your kids, and your goals. You could do a mix of children’s Bible songs, contemporary praise songs, and traditional hymns.
2. Make some goals for your hymns in family worship.
Determine your focus for this time utilizing hymns in family worship. Is your goal to increase your family’s familiarity with some particular hymns? Are you hoping to memorize some together? If your children are older, are you interested in learning the history behind these hymns as well? A song like “Amazing Grace” is beautiful on its own, but learning John Newton’s incredible story behind the text will transform your understanding of it. All these questions will factor into how long you should spend concentrating on the same hymn – one day, a week, or even a month.
Our family focuses on the same hymn for one month to work on getting it memorized. This practice will expand your children’s mental library of hymns. We cannot emphasize enough what a beautiful gift this will be to these kids for years to come. The songs they are memorizing in their youth could be the very thing that they remember when they face difficult times as adults.
3. Pick a familiar tune.
We have found YouTube to be an excellent resource to supplement our hymns in family worship for those of us who aren’t necessarily musicians! We try to find a video of our chosen hymn on YouTube, preferably with the lyrics on screen. The older the song, the more versions likely exist – take your time to choose a melody that works well for your family.
If you do have a musician in the family, you may want to have that person learn the song on the piano or another instrument. Once you choose a version, it is good to stick with that melody every time, especially if you’re trying to memorize the song. The consistency and familiarity will make it easier to sing every time and more enjoyable for everyone.
4. Encourage everyone to participate.
Singing is encouraged in the Bible. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” It is a way that our hearts can demonstrate our gratefulness to the Lord. It is also how we show Him praise, honor, and glory. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a talented singer! You’re singing in the comfort of your own home when utilizing hymns in family worship. Turn up the music a little louder if it helps everyone have a bit more freedom to join in.
5. Incorporate the songs of the church year.
Consider choosing hymns that coincide with the season of the church year. Try to learn ones that may be played during church services to increase everyone’s familiarity with those hymns. This could include hymns for Advent, Christmas, and Lent. Some of these songs have a rich history and have even shaped our traditions. It is worth looking into their background – it gives them even more power in your life.
A few years ago, we had a family meeting during which we selected the following hymns as ones we would like to memorize as a family:
- Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
- Thy Strong Word
- On Eagles’ Wings
- Amazing Grace
- Away in a Manger
- Joy to the World
- Silent Night
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- I Know That My Redeemer Lives
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- In Christ Alone
At the beginning of each month, we pick the hymn that we want to learn that month during a family meeting. We then choose a melody from YouTube that will work well for a family and try to find a video that includes the lyrics to help our memorization. We aim to sing the hymn together as a family a minimum of once per day, typically when we eat dinner together as a family. Other opportunities are when we are driving together in our van, after lunch during our homeschool schedule, taking family walks, on trips, and occasionally when we eat at a restaurant.
After our month of singing On Eagles’ Wings, Lily grew to enjoy that song and memorized it pretty well. We often sing Christian songs or hymns with the kids when we put them to bed at night. When our month with On Eagles’ Wings was over, Lily continued to request that for her bedtime song. She knew all of the lyrics after we had sung it consistently for a month. It was special for us to realize that these words would likely stay with her long into adulthood due to the development of a child’s brain. Using hymns in family worship has been transformational for us!
- Adding a Christian hymn to your daily routine is a great thing to consider adding to your family’s daily worship plan.
- It is good to decide your goal for the hymn ahead of time. This will dictate how frequently you sing it and how long you choose to focus on that one.
- Singing together is an easy, fun, and beautiful form of home worship that the entire family can easily participate in and enjoy.
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