(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