So "Lift Up Your Hearts" has been published and has been available for purchase since May 2013. Many have embraced the new hymnal, others seem skeptical, and others just plain ignored it.
So Why? What For? Who Cares? Many churches have seemed to go their own way in what is "good worship music" and have placed screens in the worship spaces. Rare are the days that we pick up a physical book to sing out of. Yes, you might sing from a screen. Yes, you might consider "hymn" a dirty word. And yes, you might think that anything published as a hymnal must be old, worn-out, or no longer relevant. However, let us look at this differently.
How about resources? Have you used any "songbook" as a resource? I have many other songbooks on my shelf and use them as resources. No, they are not in the pew racks, nor do the songs get used every Sunday. Nevertheless, I do consider them valuable resources. How about, being Biblical, or reformed? Some of you may think, "Who cares as long as it is worshipful?" In my mind, a songbook (any songbook) has more merit when it is published with a variety of songs from various artists and composers. It has gone through the "theological filter" that some of us may/not consider when we select music for worship. How about the Biblical Narrative? How about Themes? How about the Order of Worship itself?
Some of us may be intentional about all of these thoughts regardless of style. It has helped me as a worship planner to see some of the "obvious" with song choices and the use of different styles/genres. Example: we celebrated "World Communion Sunday" October 6. Every song we sang was from the hymnal, it was placed in the order of worship that was suggested by the hymnal, and we sang familiar songs and songs that could be sung easily throughout the service. We were able to sing songs that were not hymns, contemporary songs, or folk songs, but global songs, and we sang them well (with some leadership), but we were able to worship with the larger Christian global community recognizing that we are not alone as Christians, and it's not a "Just You and Me Jesus" moment. After the service, many found these songs refreshing to sing in worship.
My congregation has purchased "Lift Up Your Hearts” and has embraced it easily. Part of this embrace is that we see the "well-loved" the ease of use in worship, the sing-ability of songs, guitar chords for every song, the diversity of music (contemporary, global, traditional hymnody, etc.) but we also have already embraced new songs of all genres, and have recognized the "well-loved" and sing them lustily.
So why should you consider even using this songbook/hymnal as a part of your worship planning? For the contemporary church or those looking for good, theological contemporary music, it has won awards from Leadership Magazine as the "Editor's Pick of 2013.” You can purchase a "digital" version of the hymnal for your projection systems (words only, or with music).
If you are still not sure, as to why you should purchase this songbook/hymnal. Find out what the bones of this book have to offer a worship leader during a webinar specifically for the "Lift Up Your Hearts" hymnal.
When you purchase hymnals, there are special deals that Faith Alive is offering for digital editions.
So, what are you waiting for? Consider this hymnal a valuable tool, resource, and a good thing for your congregation. We did and we are pleased to have it in our pews.