What You May Miss with Verse Omission

In our previous post, I looked at four reasons why we may not want to lead every verse of a hymn in the assembly. As I said there, that does not mean we should never do that, but simply that we should be mindful of whether it is most effective to do so. Similarly, I know many who routinely omit verses, and the practice of omitting the third verse from a four-verse song is so common that hymn writers debate whether to write four-verse songs, and then whether to write the third verse as a throwaway verse or to make it the most important verse so that leaders will be more likely to sing it.

So what might you be missing if you omit one or more verses from a hymn? Continue reading

Four Concerns in Leading Every Verse of a Hymn

I have been told that American churches are strange in that we do not lead every verse of every song we sing in the assembly. Indeed, we lament the third verse of a four-verse song, and I have been to congregations where the closing song is routinely only sung with the first verse. In fact, our hymnals are sometimes the subject of criticism because their editors choose to include only three verses of songs that may have six verses or more.

But is leading every verse of every song, every time always the best practice? I admit, my default practice is to lead every verse (and every chorus, if present) of the songs that I select, but there are exceptions to this, which we’ll get into later. But why might leading every verse not be optimal in the assembly? Continue reading