Calvin Symposium Reflections, Part 2: Keith & Kristyn Getty

Zac HicksUncategorized2 Comments


Several years ago, after first hearing “In Christ Alone,” I became a fan of the Gettys.  However, I regressed from paying attention to their work in subsequent years.  Since then, they’ve come out with a follow up album to In Christ Alone, called Awaken the Dawn. 

When Awaken the Dawn first came out, I listened to samples and, not without appreciation, did not choose to buy it or pay much attention to it.  The production style, to my (admittedly picky) ear, sounded a bit on the “adult contemporary” side.  Drums are more in the background, keys are very present (makes sense…Keith is a keyboardist), and everything has an overly clean and polished shimmer…with an extremely even dynamic sound.  Perhaps it was for this reason alone that I didn’t pay attention to the album (that’s a bad reason, because worship leaders need to grow in the art of “listening past” their preferences to see if a song is stylistically adaptable).

And then I met the Gettys personally and was led by them in a 45-minute vespers service in Calvin College’s beautiful chapel.  Song after song preached the gospel to my heart, challenging its idols with the glorious good news.  And for the first time, I realized that I was standing in the presence of songwriting giants who are boldly (and successfully) cutting against the grain of much of modern worship. 

Their songs are labeled by the public “modern hymns,” not so much because they’re resetting old hymn texts to new music like the hymns movement folks are, but because their song structure is many times arranged in a through-composed form (even if the melodies are a more modern ABAB [verse/chorus/verse/chorus] format).  Walk through the lyrics and they read much more like an old hymn than a typical modern worship song.

I fell in love with three songs:

“Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)”
“Come People of the Risen King”
“The Power of the Cross” (I know many have been singing this one for years)

I hope to incorporate them into our church’s worship within the year.  Getting to interact with the Gettys personally was also a treat, because they’re extremely intelligent and thoughtful people, which makes for stimulating “worship nerd” conversation.  Plus, too, there’s nothing better than talking to folks who sport classy Irish accents.

2 Comments on “Calvin Symposium Reflections, Part 2: Keith & Kristyn Getty”

  1. I shared your experience of that seminar and the Getty’s (incl. dismissing the new CD and re-discovering them at this conference!) – wonderful! I’d add these two Getty/Townsend songs that stood out to me, in addition to those you listed:

    Merciful God – song of confession, beautiful melody
    Creation Sings – call to worship, song of praise; can’t find an online recording I like as much as how they played it at our conference…

    Robert Austell
    Charlotte, NC
    lighthouse/searchlight church

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