Hymns for the Most Excellent Church, a songbook arranged by my nephew Wally, a pastor, is receiving mixed reviews from his up-to-the-decade congregation. The baby busters think it’s a boon, while baby boomers think it’s a bust. The rest are waiting on the Lord – at home.
At I mentioned last issue, Wally is trying to adapt the classics of church music for his hymn-challenged congregation.
Here are a few more examples of hymns in the section for lukewarm believers: “Joyful, Joyful, We Kinda Like Thee,” “Just As I Am, With Lots of Excuses,” and “Be Thou My Hobby.”
And under “Hymns for Real Families” he lists: “Take My Wife, and Let Her Be Consecrated,” “Take Time to Be Moody,” and a teenage favorite, “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Parents’ Hearts.”
Wally has also recognized the work of volunteers. He has hymns for the membership committee (“O for at Least a Thousand Tongues to Sing”), the fellowship committee (“God Be with You Till We Eat Again”), youth sponsors (“There Is a Place of Quiet Rest”), the property committee (“Blessed Insurance”), and nursery workers (“What Child Is This?”). There is even an anthem for the church softball team – “When I Survey the Wondrous Loss.”
Wally is pretty disappointed that his musical innovations have divided his people, but he’s hopeful. As he told me, “Though my congregation isn’t one in the spirit or one in the Lord, I’m praying that all unity may one day be restored.”
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).