You are surely familiar with Keith and Kristyn Getty’s music, but you may not be aware of just how much their songwriting is a part of your life. Perhaps best known for the anthem “In Christ Alone,” the work of these modern hymn writers is played in churches around the world. Music is a natural part of their family’s life, a tradition they are intent on instilling in their children.
In an effort to reach out and encourage folks during this time of social distancing, Keith and Kristyn have decided to open up their home on Tuesdays at 8:15 ET for audiences to join in with their nightly tradition of singing hymns. The weekly chosen songs are available for listening on Spotify, and you can download song sheets on their website. You can also watch the sessions on YouTube if you miss the live stream on Facebook.
I spoke with Keith Getty about how their impromptu family video has become a global singalong.
Kimberly Carr: Let’s talk about last night. How did you pick the songs?
Keith Getty: Honestly, we’ve just been doing this with our kids every month. We’re not expert parents. And Kristyn and I this week have just been reminded of what bad teachers we are (laughing). But what we do is we finish every day with a hymn. And we do the same one for a month. So, on a good night, we take the kids upstairs and we talk to them about it and explain a sentence and do it.
Carr: How do you choose the songs you teach to your kids?
Getty: “Our principal in teaching our kids music is the same principle we have in our own work with hymns – ‘What are the hymns we want our kids to grow old with? Someday my kid is going to become a teenager, and they’re not going to believe anything I say anymore. Someday they’re going to leave home and go to college with every temptation of the mind and the body in front of her. Someday they’re going to choose a partner, and that’ll be the biggest decision they make in their life. Someday they’re going to raise their own kids. Someday they’re going to have success and have to deal with that, and they are certainly going to have failure.[Hymns] have to be full of beautiful substance about the Lord. But secondly, they have to be beautiful. They have to be the most exquisite poetry that is worthy of lasting.”
Carr: What would you say to the parent who is suddenly working and homeschooling and now having to be a Sunday school teacher too?
Getty: “Though we are living in a very dark time as Christians, we are living in a 9 to 18-month window that we will never have again. We will never have this opportunity for the gospel. There’s opportunity for ourselves to build patterns and lifestyle patterns and build deeper relationship with the Lord. We will never have the chance to have so much close time with our kids.
We will never, ever again have the chance to repurpose our working lives and refocus our ministries. Yeah, it’s going to be chaos. It’s going to be all around us. When it comes to our kids, I think we have to say, ‘What are the things that have got eternal worth?’ You know, my girls doing ballet, going to parties, going to school, going to the mall, these are all good things, but they don’t have direct eternal worth.”
I think learning good hymns of the faith does. So, what we’ve done with our girls is we simply do the same song every night for a month. Which means in their childhood, they end up memorizing nearly a hundred hymns that explain who God is. You don’t have to be a musician. The iPhone is a wonderful way to do it using playlists.”
Carr: Are you finding time to write, or do you feel inspired to write in times like this?
Getty: “You know, honestly, I’m finding it hard. I think any leader has the challenge at this point of spending 50% of your life realizing this is the most extraordinary opportunity I will ever have and 50% of your life realizing and managing carnage.”
Carr: Do you think you’ll be doing this more in the future after the COVID-19 emergency is over?
Getty: “I think so. But we’ll wait and see. I mean, we responded to a need. We did it because – we did it last week and Tuesday because we were having the lousiest St. Patrick’s Day of our life and it was just a spontaneous thing…so it wasn’t a plan. We just thought ‘Because we’re missing people, let’s do our usual hymn sing but put it live, and do four or five instead of one or two.’ It was nothing fancy, but it’s just had this kind of bizarre response.”
Take a look at last week’s singalong below, and be sure to join in with the Getty family each Tuesday at 8:15 ET here!