The first purpose of Songs for Disciples is to assist disciples in their journeys from infancy to Christian maturity. Singing, we believe, helps followers of Christ to grow in knowledge, learn skills that lead to a more robust prayer life and gain the ability to express and share their faith and appreciation of the Church. In the collection of hymns, approximately half of our texts can be sung to classic hymn tunes. We include contemporary worship responses. The initial goal of our newly composed hymns is to nurture faith seekers in their understanding of the cost and joy of discipleship.
The second purpose of our Christian music, with the guidance of the Spirit, is to empower disciples to witness to their faith through singing.
Why the title Songs for Disciples? We see parallels with those pilgrims of the past who struggled to express their faith. Worshipers will find in our music not only hymns of praise and joy but also others that offer laments and calls to action.
To live responsibly in uncertain times, the Church and its disciples must sing hymns that speak boldly about the moral issues relevant to the age. The new songs must use words and sounds that describe various human conditions, lifting up God’s saving interventions and praying for God’s presence and direction, that are, in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s terms, “commonplace yet poetic.” Today’s robust songs should respect the traditions of the Church but use language and concepts that speak truth to current Christian disciples and the world. We respect the living faith of past saints that was expressed through their hymn texts and tunes. However, we cannot be captive to the traditionalism of today which attempts to retain a past that probably never was. We do not accept all of today’s hymns that are labeled “sacred music” or “Christian songs” as such. Indeed, we join others who believe that too much of Praise & Worship music is theologically shallow and musically simplistic.
What we offer may be called “Praise and Justice” music. Today this is called Progressive Christian Music. As described by Bryan Sirchio in The Six Marks of Progressive Christian Worship Music, the marks include:
• Praise, justice, and the fullness of human experience
• Inclusive language
• Progressive theology
• An emphasis on both the individual and the community
• Emotional authenticity
• Fresh images, ideas, and language.
Hymn writers of every generation are called to proclaim the Word essential for their day and the Church of tomorrow. We invite you to try our hymns and see if you agree!