Music is an integral part of worship for all congregants. So why are so many seniors feeling left out?
I grew up with music, especially organ and choral. I have been a choir member most of my adult life, and I even started a choir in our home church years ago. Growing up hearing the congregation singing a hymn, quite often in harmony, was wonderful. Our churches were known for their exuberant singing.
Hymns lend themselves easily to congregational singing and harmonization. The praise songs? Not so much. They are more suited for a praise team to sing to us. Hymn lyrics have stood the test of time, while some praise songs are very repetitive and use only a few words.
Most of us seniors have memorized many hymns. Unfortunately, praise songs come and go. Many praise songs we sang five years ago have been replaced by others. When I have a sleepless night, quite often the words of a hymn will bring me comfort—but not the lyrics of newer praise songs.
We seniors feel as if we are missing out on being able to express ourselves fully in worship. We have been told to accept the praise songs and appreciate them because others appreciate and like them. But should that not be a two-way street? Could we not work a little harder at including both hymns and praise songs in worship? And please don’t forget about the organ!
Doug Tjapkes said it so well in his November 2019 Vantage Point article “Don’t Throw Out the Organ!”:
Organs can enhance the sound of praise bands, enrich congregational singing and praise, and, not least, offer pleasing sounds to our Lord! Not only can playing the organ bridge the gap between old-timers who lament the lack or loss of organ music and the younger generation who wonder why we ever used it in the first place, but it also can give new vitality to a blended service.
So what can your church’s worship leader do to bridge the gap between us old-timers who want more hymns with the organ and those in younger generations who want praise songs? Might I recommend that each worship service include at least one hymn, with the organ along with the praise team, so that we seniors might feel engaged in the worship service as well?