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(A VISION FOR CHRISTIAN SONG, by Ken Bible; p.78)

Hymns in Small Groups

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Christian jailed and executed by the Nazis during World War II,

found great strength in prison through singing hymns with fellow prisoners.

Hymn singing was a key element in the Methodist class meetings in 18th century England.

These hymns fueled the Methodist revival, which is still bearing fruit today.

Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and other small groups can benefit tremendously by

hymn singing. Spiritual formation is often the main focus of such groups, and hymns are a

powerful spiritual formation tool. (See Hymns and Spiritual Formation above, p.76.)

For hymns to be usable in small groups, simplicity is essential. Sometimes a keyboard and

keyboardist are available for accompaniment, and sometimes recorded accompaniment is an

option. But in many situations, the singing will either be unaccompanied or it will not happen at

all. Hymn tunes that are easy and familiar will work best.

Someone should take care to choose the hymns ahead of time. The right hymn in the right spot

is a powerful tool. A meaningful context is a hymn’s best friend. As much as possible, prepare

hymns that fit the lesson hand-in-glove. When the match is right, hymns are a perfect way to

drive home a scriptural lesson.

Since necessity is the mother of invention, singing hymns in your small group might be just the

opportunity needed by some budding hymn writer among you. I started writing hymns for that

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