A recent article says that many contemporary churches are adding services that feature traditional hymns. I think this is a trend that is likely to increase in the years ahead. Many in the younger generation seek a connection to the church that goes beyond the flash and splash that characterizes the Boomer approach to worship and church life in general. In some cases, this means going to a highly liturgical approach. In other settings, it means rediscovering the great hymns of the faith. It may be that choirs and organs and even hymnbooks will make a comeback. I doubt that we'll ever return to the standard evangelical worship of the 50s and 60s, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if the upcoming generation learned the words to "And Can It Be" and "Crown Him With Many Crowns." Recently Doug Nichols spoke at a large Presbyterian Church in the Miami area. The church has a traditional service along with a more contemporary service that features choruses, new and old hymns, an orchestra, two pianos plus a drum and a bass guitar. He added this comment:
I told the man who led the music in the first service (he also played the piano and organ with great enthusiasm!) how much I appreciated the music. I asked him what he did for a living, and he said he worked for an organ company which sold and serviced organs throughout the country. I asked him how business was and he said that they couldn’t make organs fast enough, and they needed to expand the number of their employees and service department as many churches were purchasing organs. What was surprising was that he said that churches of the Gen-X and the younger crowd were beginning to be turned off from the contemporary Christian music and were going back to hymns that had solid Biblical words which honored God instead of self. He did not demean choruses at all, but simply said the choruses and hymns that were being sung by many younger churches were God-glorifying, doctrinally sound, and were filled with Scripture.
I view this as a positive development. I don't think we should abandon contemporary music, but it would be helpful to reclaim the heritage of great hymns that has been largely lost in our own generation.