From One Generation to Another: Teaching Doctrinally Rich Hymns to Children
Modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty have helped rekindle the church’s historic practice of singing doctrinally rich hymns. Their musical and theological contributions have helped reform corporate worship practices within the broader evangelical world. Through their work, congregations have renewed their passion regarding the theological significance of singing hymns together—hymns that express the faith “once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Part of the Getty’s mission and ministry has included a series of albums intentionally aimed at teaching hymns to children. The Getty Kids Hymnal: Family Hymn Sing, released earlier this year, is the most recent installment in the series and is succinctly described on their website:
Family Hymn Sing is the third in the Getty Kids Hymnal series which exists to help children learn the Christian faith through singing. With kid-friendly arrangements recorded by the Getty’s band of Irish and American virtuosos and sung by kids, Getty Kids Hymnal: Family Hymn Sing is an album with songs the whole family can sing together!
What makes this latest album unique and worthy of commendation—especially when so many musical resources exist for the church?
First, the album introduces children to a sampling of the best ancient and modern hymns. In this project the Getty’s have set forth a treasury of hymn texts gifted to the church which includes contributions from musical theologians across the ages—from St. Francis of Assisi, Isaac Watts, and Charles Wesley to Matt Boswell and Matt Papa, just to name a few. Singing historical texts alongside newly formed texts teaches our children much about the enduring and preserving power of the gospel—exemplifying the unity between saints of old and present.
Second, the album demonstrates that hymns are a versatile musical medium. These simple, strophic melodies can be sung in unison or harmonized. The album’s featured vocal ensemble, The New Irish Youth Choir, demonstrates the rich beauty of part singing—an all but forgotten tradition in the modern church. The melodies help carry and paint the weightiness and meaning of the text yet are simple enough to learn and remember. Hymns beautifully combine theology and doctrine through God’s incredible gift of music—giving it the powerful potential of catechizing our children. Click To Tweet
Lastly, the album is a valuable resource for family devotions. Hymns beautifully combine theology and doctrine through God’s incredible gift of music—giving it the powerful potential of catechizing our children. These uniquely set texts equip children with the biblical language for praise, thanksgiving, petition, confession, and lament. Their musical settings, once learned, can serve as a continual means through which the truth of God’s word may nourish their souls for years to come.
A family may easily incorporate this in a devotional setting by using the album’s attractive insert which contains lyrics along with facts surrounding stories behind the hymns. A companion hymnbook with simplified piano/vocal arrangements is also available. Together, family members of all ages can hold, see, sing, and treasure these truths for a lifetime.
But don’t just listen to what the grown-ups have to say. What does a real kid think about the Getty Kids Hymnal?
Cassandra Barrett, daughter of Matthew Barrett, recently listened to the album and wrote down her thoughts. She writes,
“These songs are all very good but my favorite one is Crown Him with Many Crowns.
I like the verse “crown him the lord of life.”
It reminds me of who created everything, and how thankful we should be toward God because he created us even when he knew we would sin.
I like this CD a lot and recommend it to everyone.”