Book Review: The Worship Hymnal

The Worship Hymnal (a.k.a. The Baptist Hymnal...the only difference is the title on the cover) was released in August by LifeWay as part of their LifeWay Worship Project, and I have to admit I’m pretty impressed.  So impressed, in fact, that I bought one copy for my family and 20 copies for our house church.

Here are a few of the reasons I recommed this new hymnal to you:

  1. This collection of over 650 songs has a good mix of timeless hymns (eg. “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Be Thou My Vision”), classic gospel songs (eg. “Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross,” “Wonderful Words Of Life,” “At Calvary”), as well as both old and brand new praise and worship songs (eg. “Indescribable,” “In Christ Alone,” “You Are My King”), so folks from every generation can find songs that help them express their trust in and praise to Christ.  You can see a PDF of the entire list of songs at the LifeWay website.
  2. You can actually listen to all of these songs in their entirety online.  You’ll notice that these recordings offer both traditional and contemporary arrangements of many of the hymns.  Since our church worships on Sunday evenings, we usually have our own “family worship” on Sunday mornings after breakfast.  One of our favorite parts of this time together is singing from this hymnbook.  Each family member picks a song from the hymnbook, then I plug speakers into my laptop and play the music from the website.  It works!  [For $500 you can buy the CDs or MP3s of all of the songs, but you can listen online for free.]
  3. The hymnbooks and audio tracks are great for small group or house church singing.  If you don’t have a guitar player or pianist, the audio tracks are arranged in just the right key and length for group singing.  Commercial praise and worship CDs tend to be arranged too high and too long for small group singing.  The wide range of styles in the hymnbook (see #1) allows you to have the flexibility and spontaneity that small groups often require.
  4. They are relatively inexpensive at $14 per hymnal, and with a discount card you can save a lot on a big order.
  5. The folks at LifeWay have created numerous online resources that enable you to maximize the hymnal’s potential.
  6. Finally, I’m glad that LifeWay made a “generic” version of this hymnal (The Worship Hymnal) so that non-Baptists like me could use it in good conscience. 🙂

One complaint, though…my wife and I couldn’t find “May The Mind Of Christ My Savior” in this edition.  It’s one of our favorites.  I guess we could print it out and glue to the inside cover.

If you’re using the new LifeWay Worship Hymnal or Baptist Hymnal, tell us what you think by leaving a comment.

[I am not an employee, nor am I related to an employee, nor do I even personally know an employee of LifeWay.  I am not even a Baptist (though I was one for about 5 months during seminary and I married one).  I come from a long line of Methodists and am now happy to be an ordained Teaching Elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  All that to say that this endorsement is for real, not for hire.]

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Worship Hymnal

  1. I’ve been turnin’ folks onto the Worship Hymnal since I got mine in ’08. I didn’t know you could listen to ’em all online. That’s neat. Thanks for the tip!

  2. LifeWay’s network of Web sites has been going through some recent remodeling, including closing some sites. It seems the page you are looking for is no longer available. …..this is the explanation I found regarding the ‘player’ for The Worship Hymnal. The player was very useful to our choir members for learning some of the new songs. Do you have any plans to reinstate the Player?

    • Hi Bettie! Thanks for stopping by. I actually don’t have control over the Player, I just linked to it here on my blog. I just looked at LifeWayWorship.com and it doesn’t look like they have the Player anymore. Check out their website to see if there’s anything you can use there. These songs are also available on iTunes, which usually allows you to “sample” individual songs. Hope that helps!

      • I’ve checked out ‘the whole’ website. 🙂 There are some ‘samples’ but not exactly what we need. If you have any ‘pull’ maybe you could tell them how helpful the player was for our choir, so maybe they would ‘put it back.’ There are some new songs in The Worship Hymnal (new to us) and we listened and learned. Thanks for responding and appreciate any help you can give. We really really want it back! Tks again…..

  3. I totally agree with Betty. As a bi-vo music minister, the hymnal player with complete versions of all the songs was an invaluable tool. I hope we can get a link from lifeway so we can resume using it.

  4. It’s a wonderful hymnal! You have to remember, though, that even though the book does not say “Baptist” on it, Lifeway is still a Baptist organization owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. This means that if songs that are really popular with other denominations do not comply with Baptist doctrine, they’re not going to make it into the Worship Hymnal.

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