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What Does It Take to Make a 'Great Hymn'? Christian Composer Reveals the Ingredients


"A great song grabs an audience."

Most music is meant to merely entertain the masses, but Keith and Kristyn Getty have perfected the craft of a much more unique form of songwriting. As hymn writers, the Gettys create, produce and perform songs that are actually meant to be sung by the masses, presenting them with a very different challenge than what most other musicians face.

The Gettys' songs are regularly performed in houses of worship across the U.S. and Europe, as congregants sing their lyrics during church services in an act of worship to God. This makes for a dynamic in which the songwriters serve as a catalyst for the creation of music that connects — at least in the minds of believers and adherents — human beings with the Lord.

Consider that the Gettys have written eight of the most popular hymns in the U.S. and 23 of the most used church songs in the U.K. Perhaps their most well-known hymn is "In Christ Alone," though many others are regularly used across the globe.

"I think the magic of any song is just a unique, fresh approach to music and words," Keith Getty recently told TheBlaze. "Ultimately, you have to create something that no one else has ever done … filmmakers, artists, composers, alike, all have a way of telling a story in a unique way that nobody else has actually ever thought of."

But hymn writing goes beyond that paradigm, requiring something else of the writer — the ability to create a song with the power to connect a believer with the Almighty in a new and profound way.

"A great hymn lifts our minds away from ourselves and up to God and helps us understand it in a fresh way," Getty explained.

A good hymn, he argued, doesn't have to be sung in a church, though. In fact, he said he's seen better versions of "Amazing Grace" performed in Irish pubs than he has in some megachurches. In the end, Getty said it's all about making connections.

"A great song grabs an audience," he said.

So far, he said his favorite hymn they have written to date is "My Worth Is Not In What I Own," a song about focusing one's sights on Christ.

Listen to that song below:

Find out more about the Gettys, who are currently on tour, here.

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