Home > Culture > What would Jesus Sing?

What would Jesus Sing?

Church Publishing
RRP: $24.95

Asking, “What would Jesus sing?” is a bit like how often Jesus brushed his teeth, or whether he was left or right-handed!

Seriously though, this book does offer some helpful pointers to congregations giving greater priority to music ministry. It’s subtitle is “Experimentation and Tradition in Church Music” – that sums up the general context found within its pages.

This collection of topics arises out of the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church in the USA, and in many ways reflects the music-in-worship issues facing that church. Chapters such as “What about jazz?” and “What about handbells” would not find a big reading audience in this country. The chapter, “What about guitars?” drew me back to me formative years in the 1970s when that was an issue; most of our churches have surely moved on from that by 2008.

One strength of “What Would Jesus Sing” is that by offering such a diversity of chapters; music ministers, committees and groups in local churches can be encouraged to look beyond what’s currently happening. Want to offer something quite contemporary and ‘edgy’? The chapter “What about additional services: The Hip-hop Mass” might be just for you! It even begins with the “Order of Hip Rite”.

Even within its denominational context, there are some helpful strategies and suggestions – take “What about contemporary ensembles?, in which a host of recommendations and resources are offered the church wanting to “beef up” its music ministry.

Ironically, one of the best features of this collection is the Introduction from the Iona Community’s John L. Bell. Bell concludes this preface by affirming the three loves “without which no pastor or church musician can survive or fulfil his or her calling.” He speaks of a love of God “without which leading worship is a gruelling business”, a love of language and a love for people.

What would Jesus sing? Well – he may well not sing any of these, but a read of this informative book will certainly give a host of newfound ways for churches to sing back in praise and worship to our Lord.

Reviewed by church music guru Rev David MacGregor. Visit David’s website at www.togethertocelebrate.com.au.