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 (Manna 56: Holidays)
How to Lead Hymns
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How to Lead Hymns

Hymn singing is the time for the congregation to meditate upon God’s love, grace, and mercy through the singing of hymns. The role of the hymn leader is to guide the congregation in singing praises to the Lord as well as to prepare their hearts for the service. Music is a divine gift from God, so we should use this wonderful gift to edify men and to glorify His name. Apostle Paul exhorted the believers to “admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord” (Col 3:16). 


- Pray for the guidance and abidance of the Lord.

- Select hymns:

- Choose hymns related to the sermon topic, if applicable.

- 2-3 hymns for a 5-minute hymn-singing session; 4-6 hymns for a 10-minute hymn-singing session.

- Prepare back-up hymns for unexpected circumstances.

- Consult the Chinese and English hymnals and take note of the following for each hymn:

- Number of verses – if the number of verses differs between the Chinese and English versions, decide how many verses are to be sung.

- Tempo – decide upon the speed of the hymn.

- Fermata – look for the “pause” signs and decide how long they are to be held.

- Beat pattern – practice in front of a mirror beforehand until you are familiar with the pattern.


- As hymn leaders are visible to the congregation, dress and groom yourself appropriately to serve God and represent the church.

- Arrive at least 5 minutes before the hymn-singing session.

- Write all the hymn numbers on the board or projector (or inform the audio-visual personnel).

- Make sure the accompanist is present, and discuss any necessary details (such as the hymn tempo and fermata length).

- Identify the sermon speaker (which will be relevant in Procedure 4).


1.      Silent prayer

2.      “In the name of Jesus Christ, we begin our hymn-singing session.”

3.      “Please sing hymn number ____.”

a. Introduce the hymn or quote relevant Bible verse

b. Mention the verses to be sung

c. Cue the accompanist on the tempo before each hymn

d. Say the number of the next verse prior to singing it (helpful for people coming in late)

4.      Make eye contact with the sermon speaker near the end of the hymn to confirm whether the speaker is ready to deliver the sermon; if not, continue with another hymn.

5.      “This concludes the hymn-singing session.”

6.      Silent prayer

7.      Erase the hymn numbers written on the board or projector.


- Be prepared to translate if the congregation is multi-lingual.

- During the hymn-singing session, do not be too concerned with conducting; just make sure to lead the congregation through each hymn.

- Be assertive in leading the congregation to praise God.

- Relax and move your arms naturally to the music.

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