The hymnal is second only to the Bible in importance for the Christian. It is a personal, practical, living resource of Christian theology and experience. In selecting a hymnal, you invest in people; you give to every member of your congregation the means to creatively and corporately worship, witness, and respond.

Selecting the right hymnal for your congregation requires thorough preparation and evaluation. Above all, it requires an open mind if you are to make an objective, fully informed decision.

Many hymnals are inadequately used because they were improperly chosen. The prerequisite to receive the most benefit from the hymnal is to intelligently choose the best one for your people. Therefore, you must know what a hymnal is and what kind will help you accomplish your objective in your ministry. Select the book that comes the closest to your specifications.

It is important to understand the distinction between a hymnal and a song book. A hymnal is an organized selection of materials for congregational use in a variety of services. This organization may be theological, progressing in logical manner from one point to another, e.g. from God to eternal life, or it may be liturgical, following the church year. It should contain hymns from the past and prudently choose new ones.

The hymnal is the primary source of congregational music. If a church desires additional, more specialized materials, it may choose a second book, a song book, to be used along with the hymnals. A song book is usually an informal compilation of selections with an emphasis on gospel songs. It makes no pretense to comprehensiveness or scholarship. Many so-called hymnals are really song books.

Know why you want a new hymnal. Carefully study how you use the ...

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