Worship music plays a significant role in both personal spiritual formation and the Great Commission — and it’s key to discipling the next generation in an increasingly dark world.
That’s according to modern hymn writer Keith Getty, who, in an interview with The Christian Post, reflected on the pivotal role of music in biblical teachings and the need for Christians to stay rooted in their faith amid societal changes.
“The New Testament says we’re letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly when we meet together singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs,” the Grammy-nominated songwriter said.
“We live in such a transformative generation informationally, in terms of everything from artificial intelligence to gender to globalization to financial inequality. All of these things are going to reach whole new levels in the next generation.”
Getty noted that many commentators predict that by 2050, nominal Christianity might disappear due to the increasing challenges posed by Western culture.
“You're either going to be a very serious Christian grappling with these things, or you'll not survive,” the Irish songwriter said.
“So much of modern Christian behavior is, ‘I don't want to be on the wrong side of history,’ or, ‘I'm worried this is going to not go down too well.’ I think we've got to stop being such cowards. If we believe in Christ, His death and resurrection, the Gospel story and the authority of the Word of God, then we want that to be coming into every part of our minds, our emotions, in our families and in our homes. Fill our homes with songs of the Lord. Start where you are, fill your own mind with songs of the Lord and fill your family's minds with songs of the Lord. If you have a role in your church, help your church sing songs of the Lord.”
The transformative power of worship music and its role in the Great Commission is the central theme of the Getty Music Worship Conference, helmed by Getty and his wife, Kristyn.
Sing! The Great Commission, slated for Sept. 4-6 at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, will focus on the three pillars of the Great Commission — local, global and future — to challenge attendees to reflect on their roles in furthering the Gospel message.
“We begin on day one with local, and we're going to be looking at how we live out the Great Commission in our church services, in our families, and on a personal level,” Getty said.
Day two will shift to what God's doing around the world and will feature teachings from speakers from all six continents, including John Piper and David Platt. On day three, attendees will turn toward the future, with thinkers like John Lennox and Andy Crouch ushering in discussions about tomorrow's challenges and hope for the Christian community.
According to Getty, more than 10,000 attendees from across the globe are expected to attend this year's conference.
“A global Christian in the 21st century needs to understand what's happening around the globe,” Getty said. “In a media world, there's a danger that, rather than becoming more exposed to people who are unlike us, social media will try and attract us to people who are very like us. The great thing about working with Christians around the world is, we can help each other because we have some strengths in our Christian history and legacy. But we've also got some terrible weaknesses that some of my brothers in Sri Lanka or in Brazil, or in Nigeria, Jordan or China that are coming to the conference [can share], and I can learn from them too.”
The event offers seminars and sessions led by top Christian speakers and artists, including several on the importance of singing in the Christian tradition and how it aids in instilling faith, especially in children.
Historically, singing hymns and spiritual songs were central to family and church life, as seen in the origins of the Sunday school movement that started as singing schools. But over time, the prominence of singing as a way to understand and learn faith has waned, which Getty said he finds concerning.
“We think less about singing as being a way to learn our faith, and I think that's a concern,” Getty said. “The Bible is 20 percent poetry and songs for a reason … God made us to sing and God made us to remember the things that we sing … if we're in a generation where we're singing less, and the songs have less truth, then we have to presume that we're going to have a lot less of the Bible dwelling richly in us as we grow older.”
Known for hymns including “In Christ Alone” and “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” the Gettys, who were nominated for three GMA Dove Awards, are today’s most prolific hymn writers. It’s estimated that more than 100 million people around the globe sing their hymns every year.
One of the goals of the Sing! Conference is to help attendees incorporate spiritual songs and hymns into daily life. While technology poses certain challenges, Getty sees it as a tool that can be harnessed for good.
“Take something like the iPhone; it’s led all of us in ways that have not been correct in our lives at times, but we can use it for God's Kingdom in so many different ways as well, from streaming the Sing! Conference to creating a playlist of the songs you want your children to grow old with and start playing them and start singing along,” he said.
“Your kids tend to love what you love,” the father-of-four added. “If you love singing, they tend to love it too. But we have to make that effort every day in our lives. Our kids are going to be listening to songs and singing the truths of those songs into their hearts. So we have to decide: Do we want Taylor Swift and Disney or do we want spiritual leadership in our kids' lives? It’s crucial.”
For additional conference details or to register for the in-person conference or to stream online, go to www.gettymusicworshipconference.com.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org