The Age of Song


Pastor Carlo and I was having a conversation on the age of the songs we use in worship. We found people think it’s ok to use a 100-year-old hymn and a song that’s within a year or two old but when we play a song written in the 80’s or 90’s folks think they’re too old.

I’m convinced that the message of the gospel is ageless. Music can be revamped in order to be more relevant and contemporary. But most Christians find it ok to sing songs such as Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance, and The Old Rugged Cross because these songs are considered classics.

Songs that are fresh on the charts right out of the Jesus Culture, Hillsong, Gateway Worship, or Passion oven are ripe and definitely worthy of being added to the church song list. But as we talked, we realized most hip, up-to-date relevant churches will turn heads if a song from Amy Grant or early Michael W. Smith show up in the set.

It’s not cool and relevant to sing songs written just ten years ago by the likes of Darlene Zschech, early Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Delirious, or the simple choruses that were written in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’ve actually heard people say those songs are too old. Really?

At Xtreme, we use songs old and new. If the message is right on, it doesn’t matter to me what decade it was written in. Some of the older generation likes the older hymns. For many reasons but one for sure is it’s a reminder of how far they have come in their faith. I’d say the same for those who came to the faith just ten or fifteen years ago.

Don’t throw out a song just because it’s not new and hip. The message of the gospel is ageless!

*Although he could knock it out of the park because he is such an amazing communicator, Pastor Carlo allowed me to write this blog post. Quite honestly though, I would love to see him write it too. 🙂

Do you mix it up? Do you use old and new songs. Do you only use modern songs.

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

8 Responses to The Age of Song

  1. Keith Wallis says:

    I mix them up so that somewhere within a service there is something to speak into everyone’s worship experience. The glory of the old hymns is their majestic language and imagery which is lacking in a deal of todays stuff. While contemporary words may be more ‘accessable’ they are not as rich for an imagination to interpret.

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  3. Kellysinging says:

    Most of the time songs get dropped from our master list because it’s season for our congregation is over. We will use hymns and newer songs mostly, but if an older song is in season for our church then we sing it. So, you’re right, it shouldn’t be about a date, but about what God is having you use for the season your people are in.

  4. Nate Fancher says:

    Right on Kevin! I’ve been a big fan of blending songs from different times, especially when there was a particular move of God that the song came out of. Many of the old hymns came out of seasons of spiritual awakening and I think it’s important for those stories to be handed down through the generations.

    It would be pretentious of us to forget that we are standing on the shoulders of many saints who have gone before us…

    • Kevin Riner says:

      And you did a great job of that at the Expand Conference, Nate. Like I told ya then, I appreciate your leadership in worship and I appreciate you for reading and commenting today. Thanks man.

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