Come to the Water (Crosby — CCLI #7049344)
This delightful song is part what Integrity Music called “The Fanny Crosby Project,” which was released in 2015 as a tribute to Fanny Crosby’s hymns. The recording of this song was performed by Paul Baloche, and it is very singable and liturgically appropriate for a number of occasions. I would recommend accompanying with a folk ensemble (guitar, mandolin, bass, fiddle, brushed snare) if available. It is possible, however, to accompany with a number of instruments. The original key of D is a great key for congregational singing in this case.
Come to the Water (W&S 3114)
A virtual “who’s who” of songwriters came together to create this song of invitation, justice, and peace (I like to think of it as the “We Are the World” of modern worship music). I have found this to be one of the most powerful songs in the modern worship music repertoire because of the call to social action combined with Jesus’ invitation to come to the well and receive the water of life. The best accompaniment in this case is with a full band or rhythm section, although a driving piano or guitar can also work. The ideal key for congregational singing is F.
Spirit of Faith, Come Down (UMH 332)
This Pentecost hymn by Charles Wesley is an invitation for the Spirit to come down and “reveal the things of God.” This hymn witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit in one another and the world. If your congregation is unfamiliar with the BEALOTH tune, it is also appropriate to use DIADEMATA, which is likely to be more common and aurally recognizable.
We Know that Christ Is Raised (UMH 610)
Few hymn tunes have as much power as ENGELBERG, which is a tune uniquely created for the organ. The text here points toward the universal saving grace in Christ, which fits very well with the theme of the day--Flowing Into All the World. Make sure the tune does not move too slowly until the final Alleluia. A metronome marking of 108 is recommended, but the phrase leading into the final Alleluia can be made much more grandiose. Organ is the ideal accompaniment, but the addition of brass can make this even more celebratory. Read History of Hymns: "We Know that Christ is Raised" »
Set a Fire (CCLI #5911299)
Short, cyclic songs are not very common in the modern worship music repertoire, but Will Reagan has created a song that resonates with the Wesleyan spirit. The text here conjures an image of the Spirit’s work that led John Wesley to have a heartwarming experience, and it can do the same to congregations who desire a vocabulary to express this through singing. Our CCLI Top 100 vetting team questioned and discussed the text, “I want more of you, God,” before coming to an understanding that this is a statement more of a thirst of the soul than God’s holding back toward humanity. Accompany with piano, guitar, or full band. The song is quite simple and can be sung in the same manner as songs from Taizé: It is perfectly acceptable if you do not want to sing the opening introduction, but just the chorus repetitively instead. The ideal key for congregational singing is G.
Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire (UMH 651)
VENI CREATOR is one of the most well known melodies throughout the history of the ecumenical church, but it may well be unfamiliar to your congregation. Both the text and tune of this work are historic, but a proper tune for your setting will make this Pentecost hymn more poignant. If your church is familiar with this tune, that is wonderful! If another is needed, see the recommendations made in the worship order from The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 101 and 339. Because of syllabic emphasis at the beginning of each stanza, my preference between these two is HURSLEY (339). Accompany with organ or piano.
Holy Spirit (CCLI #4779872)
Stuart Townend and Keith Getty have created a modern hymn that embraces the work of the Spirit in the church today. This will need to be in your congregation’s repertoire of newer music because of the lush, rich harmony and the poignancy of the text. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the “fiery” character of many Pentecost hymns; it is much more intimate, taking on the character of a personal prayer. However, through its singing, it can become the prayer of a gathered body just as easily. It is best accompanied on organ or piano, although I imagine this would also sound beautiful with a string quartet.
Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness (TFWS 2120)
In this hymn by James K. Manley, the Spirit of God is the same Spirit working in the forming of creation, the wandering of Israel, the birth of Christ, and the birth of the church at Pentecost. The perpetual motion of the left hand in the piano accompaniment embodies the movement of the Spirit, a prodding that keeps the tune moving forward. The ideal accompaniment is piano, but adding a solo instrument would also add some depth to the musical texture. Keep the tempo moving to make some of the longer phrases accessible under one breath for your congregation.
Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble (CCLI #1097028)
This song is a great representation of the character of modern worship music from the 1990s. The line of questioning presented in the verses is answered with the confident ring of the text within the chorus: “Songs that bring your hope, songs that bring your joy.” The awareness I would advocate in the singing of this hymn, however, comes from the final verse: “Do you feel the darkness tremble.” When the image of “darkness” is not used against the countering scriptural image of “brightness” or “light,” it can come with serious racial implications. With this in mind, I would advocate singing the first two verses of this song, along with pre-chorus and chorus material, and omitting the final verse. The ideal accompaniment is guitar or full band, and the best key for most congregations is B♭.
In the Midst of New Dimensions (TFWS 2238)
In the midst of the mission of the church, we find a bold spirit of proclamation that leads into new dimensions of ministry. When God leads with “rainbow, fiery pillar,” or “where the eagles soar,” we stand together along the journey. On the day regarded as the birthday of the church, this song should be sung often to remind us that the future is where the Spirit of God calls and takes us. The ideal accompaniment of this march-like tune is organ. Make sure the tempo is brisk enough to sustain five stanzas and allow the registration of the stanzas to vary and reflect the nature of the text.
We All Are One in Mission (TFWS 2243)
Retired Lutheran pastor and hymn writer Rusty Edwards has crafted a hymn that celebrates the varied gifts of the body of Christ in mission, service, and call. KUORTANE is a very singable text with an A A’ B A’ form, which means that it should be very teachable as well. The only phrase completely different among the four is the third phrase, and since it is the highest part of the vocal range of the hymn, be sure to cue the congregation so they know to anticipate the high note near the beginning of the phrase. The ideal accompaniment is organ or piano. Read History of Hymns: "We All Are One in Mission" »