North Side Worship has been working pretty hard behind the scenes as we have begun another worship recording project. The focus of this next recording: hymns.
Last year when we worked on Overcome, we had many conversations concerning where we would go after the next project. During that summer, we began talking about doing a hymn project celebrating some of the most enduring songs of our faith.
Little did we know what God would be doing in our church in the coming year concerning unity and bridging the gaps among all of our generations. We didn’t know it, but God did. So as North Side moves forward to a united worship in the near future, God has seemed to ordain it that we celebrate the songs of some of our spiritual fathers and mothers.
Few songs endure for generations. A rare few endure for centuries. Many songs that we sing today will not be sung in 5 years. So if a song has been a voice for many generations as God’s people has proclaimed worship to him, that’s something special.
Now, when it comes to arranging and recording hymns, there is hesitancy involved. t’s a dangerous thing touching a classic.
Why touch something that has endured for generations? I remember the first time many people heard Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone),” they thought why would you mess with this classic? Now, few people can hear the first two verses without going to that new chorus. What that song did was bridge the gap between generations. It brought an enduring biblical sound song back to the lips of new generations. And that is a good thing.
So that’s what we are trying to do. We’ve been working on some pretty ambitious arrangements of these hymns. Our one rule was we would not change the melody. I try not to create another barrier for people to sing along in worship. If they know the melody, keep it the same. We have changed chords from time to time. We’ve gotten creative with dynamics or tags, but we keep the melody intact. We’ve been using a lot of these arrangements on Sunday evenings. I’m not going to lie, some of the things we are attempting are by far the most challenging musical efforts our group has ever done. We are trying to be faithful to play skillfully to our God (Ps. 33:3).
It’s going to be very diverse as well. One track will be bluegrass, another black gospel, another contemporary, another simple piano, it’s going to be a very eclectic soundtrack, but the goal is not to appease one group or another, the goal is to take some wonderful truths and worship our timeless God with them.
I ask that you pray for us, and I will be sharing more details as they come along. Fun survey question: which hymn do you hope makes the track list?