What Should My Church Sing?

Part 1: He Will Hold Me Fast

by Devon Kauflin April 27, 2015

The church spends anywhere from 18 to 36 hours a year singing together. Think about that. On the one hand that is not a lot of singing, given the average American listens to 4 hours of music a day (over 1400 hours a year!). On the other hand that is a lot of singing! And these songs in one sense function as a corporate recitation. Our songs are filling peoples mouths with words and their minds with ideas. As Matt Papa says, "songs are sermons that people will remember.” We don’t do Catechisms corporately for 18-36 hours a year. We don’t even read the Bible aloud as a church 18-36 hours a year. But we do sing. And we must take full advantage of this pastoral opportunity.

Too many churches today sing weak-sauce songs. We are too comfortable to sing the latest catchy tune that contains true ideas, but often disconnected from one another or unusually centered on us and our response, rather than on God and what He has done. The church today has an incredibly rich and growing hymnody spanning centuries of church history that is both theologically astute and largely singable. We don’t need to spend our time singing okay songs, or even good songs. We can really sing great songs that remind the people in our churches of who God is, of who we are, of what God has accomplished, and how we are to in faith live. In every song we sing we have the opportunity to prepare our people to live and to go out, to worship beyond our songs. Through our corporate gatherings and in our songs we are equipping the church. Sing songs that equip people to live, to suffer, to grow, to fight and to die. 

In order to serve this end, For The Church will be regularly highlighting songs that do just that. We want to encourage churches to sing songs that are theologically rich and coherent, gospel-centered, hope-instilling, and singable. Far too often we don’t know where to look for these songs. “What Should My Church Sing?” is a series of posts that will aim to grow your churches hymnody by pointing you to songs that we think your church should sing.

“He Will Hold Me Fast”
Lyrics vv. 1-2 Ada Habershon (1861-1918), Public Domain;
Alt words vv.1-2, lyrics v.3, and music: Matt Merker, © 2013

When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight,
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost;
His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died,
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied;
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last!”

 As pastors and church leaders we must be regularly reminded of the assurance we have in Jesus Christ. He is our hope. He is our justification. There is no criticism that can come that will change this. There is no sin around us or in us that will make us any less righteous before God. We are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, and it is he who keeps us. Moreover, as leaders we have the opportunity to instill in our people the reality of this truth and its implications through the songs we sing. Here are three implications from this song:

1. When we know Christ will hold us fast we can let go of the fear of the unknowns in our life because his sovereign hand guides our lives. He is in control of our every circumstance.

2. When we know Christ will hold us fast we can confront our doubts about God’s love and our standing before him because we know that our victory has been won in Jesus. His promises never fail.

3. When we know Christ will hold us fast we can face every trial and suffering with hope because we are grounded, not in our circumstances, but in our identity in Christ. He has made us his children.

Pastors, each Sunday the songs we sing provide a glorious opportunity to be reminded and remind others that in every situation we face, Christ will hold us fast.