DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but from time to time our church’s music director introduces new songs into the service, and I don’t care for them. I like the old hymns, and wish he’d just stick with them. Should I complain to our pastor? — E.W.
DEAR E.W.: I know this has been a controversial issue in many churches, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, especially since I’m not particularly musical! But we have a singing faith, and God has given us the gift of music to praise him. The Psalmist declared, “With singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:5).
Instead of complaining to your pastor (or anyone else), I urge you to ask God to help you be grateful for all music that points us to God, new or old. No, you may not like some of it, but others do, and God can use it in their lives to encourage them and bring them closer to Christ. Remember: The old hymns you like were once new, and someone probably didn’t like them, either!
Sometimes, I’m afraid, a hymn can become so familiar to us that we sing it without even thinking about the words. But this is wrong, because then our singing becomes empty and meaningless. Don’t let this happen to you, but meditate on the words of the songs you sing, and even turn them into a prayer.
Your music director has probably been wise to introduce new songs slowly; completely changing everything all at once can be disruptive. Pray for him and encourage him, letting him know that you’re grateful for his gifts. Yes, let him know you appreciate the old hymns, but support him also as he seeks to reach a new generation through music.