Many churches seek to be relevant to their congregations and communities by utilizing more modern styles of music. Some churches have completely thrown out the old hymns because they feel they seem too archaic and disconnected from today’s culture. Many churches find great value in still including great hymns of the faith by presenting them in a more contemporary musical setting. The hymns of previous decades and centuries can help people connect with how God has been active in earlier generations; many are couched in great theology. Updating an older hymn with a new setting can breathe new life into the text for all generations.
There are many great resources for churches whether you have limited musician resources or a full band:
- LifeWayWorship.com has a tremendous number of contemporary arrangements of hymns. Some hymns may have more than one choice. To see the vast numbers of contemporary hymn possibilities, click on this link and click on show only “contemporary hymn.” The search box will populate with all of their contemporary hymn arrangements. To learn more about using LifeWayWorship.com in your services, take a look at a previous post.
- PraiseCharts.com also has many contemporary hymn arrangements. One popular set can be found by searching on “PraiseHymns.” Otherwise, you can enter names of hymns that you are interested in and take a look at the arrangements that are shown. Warning: be careful of the keys that you use in worship–many PraiseCharts are in bad keys for congregational singing, but most have an option of a good key. (For more on keys for congregational singing, take a look here and here.)
- HymnCharts.com is a great resource with over 100 contemporary hymn arrangements designed to fit your style with transposed chord charts, instrumental parts, 4-part and 3-part vocals–even the Finale files! Many of the songs had demonstration videos and audio to help you learn the arrangement.
- Your church musicians. Give your musicians a chance at crafting a modern arrangement of an old hymn. Many musicians would love to use their creativity in this way.
Are there other sources that you have found for great contemporary hymn arrangements? Please share them in the comments.