(A VISION FOR CHRISTIAN SONG, by Ken Bible; p.62)
As a young person starting in music publishing, I was very negative about southern gospel
music. I watched its performers. I was annoyed that so many of its songs harped on a very few
emotional themes, like heaven. They made the whole style seem shallow and artificial. But
working with gospel songwriter Mosie Lister, I began to appreciate southern gospel as true folk
music. Its strength was its simplicity and natural exuberance. I learned to look beyond the
seeming shallowness of some of its practitioners and see its tremendous potential for ministry.
On the other hand, some evangelicals hear more liturgical styles and write them off as cold,
boring, and emotionless. What they don’t realize is that these believers want to hear God and
exalt Him just as much as evangelicals. But they seek truth that is deeper than emotion. They
long for thoughtfulness in worship. They want to taste the mystery of God. For many, quietness
brings God nearer than does wild emotion.
As a hymn-lover and hymn-leader, beware of pride and narrow-mindedness, no matter what
your educational level or musical style. Remember, God calls all His servants to minister with
humility and compassion, to be people-centered and people-sensitive in all they do. Like Paul,
we must be willing to be all things to all people so that we might reach as many as possible with
the boundless love of Jesus Christ.