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 This is a book I’ve had in my possession for a number of years. I purchased and read it ten years ago. Having known Stan Mitchell, and knowing what a marvelous song leader he was, I really appreciate his book. I have often thought of using it for an All Comers class study. Part of my hesitation in using it has been the fact that certain songs/hymns will come up in our study. We might sing a stanza or two together in class. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. It would call upon the teacher (myself included) to lead them. Also, I’m not sure how that will affect our livestreaming on Facebook. This time I have decided that the class might enjoy breaking up the study with an occasional hymn to lift our voices in praise to God.
            Most people love to sing whether or not they boast of any musical ability. Some of us don’t mind trying to learn new songs. We love to sing the old songs. We are anxious that our singing make us stronger, and reflect heart-felt love and praise to our God!
            This book is a study of our worship in song. It will be a practical study because each Lord’s Day, when we assemble, we probably ask ourselves, “What will I be led to sing today?” Will the songs we are led to sing enable us to worship God as he directs? Most of us have no background in music or poetry. We are not writers of songs or hymns. We are simply users of what others have written over the years.
            This book will cover Old Testament and New Testament teaching about singing; hymns of the Israelites and hymns in the New Testament; early hymn writers; the “Golden Age” of hymnology, including Isaac Watts, John and Charles Wesley; the Sunday school movement, featuring hymns that children know and love; hymns in America focusing on Fanny J. Crosby, spirituals and Stamps-Baxter; song writers in and out of the Lord’s body. This book offers a very interesting and diverse approach to help us understand, and hopefully appreciate, much of what we sing in worship to God.
            Human tastes vary in this area. I’m sure that I grew up singing songs that are not a familiar to you, and vice versa. Those hymns that are common fare to me don’t have the same meaning to people who do not know them. Each Sunday Brad Horton and I work together to provide hymns that coincide with the theme of the sermon. I usually send Brad a few song pics that correspond in some way with the sermon, or just happen to be ones I like. If someone other than Brad is leading singing on a given Sunday, I try to send them some pics as well. I am sure that my co-workers do the same.
Listed below are the chapters that we will cover in Stan Mitchell’s book:
1.     “Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So” – this lesson will stress the teaching aspect of our singing.
2.     “Then Sings My Soul” – this lesson will show how the heavens declare the glory of God.
3.     “Hear My Prayer, O Lord” – The Hymnbook of the Israelites.
4.     “And I Heard a New Song” – Hymns in the New Testament.
5.     Making Melody in the Heart – Our Worship in Song.
6.     With the Heart and With the Mind – Singing Passages in the New Testament.
7.     “The Very Thought of Thee” – Early Church Hymn Writers.
8.     “Love So Amazing, So Divine” – The Golden Age.
9.     “This I Know” – The Sunday School Movement.
10. “We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight” – Hymns in America.
11. “When We Meet in Sweet Communion.”
12. Why Do Armies Sing?
13. We’re Not Just Going to Church; We’re Going to Worship.”
            As with any book we use for study in any class there will likely be points made by the author with which we will disagree. That’s okay. Where points of issue might arise, we will offer a scriptural rebuttal where necessary. We will use it as a teaching opportunity if possible. In matters of opinion we will offer a different view and feel no ill-will for contrary conclusions.
           Class will begin February 21st at 10:00 AM. We will meet in the Adult 2 classroom. I will share teaching opportunities with my two co-workers, Daniel Webster and Wayne Brewer. As always, adjustments will be made in our teaching rotation as respective schedules dictate. I hope you will look forward to this class and the new study selected. Please join us on February 21st!