Praising the Lord in Song - Free Christian Music for Enjoyment and Outreach

Judith Kuster (New Ulm, Minnesota USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Judith Maginnis Kuster, Professor (em.) of Communication Disorders (Speech Therapy) at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota, holds graduate degrees in both Communication Disorders and Counseling. For eighteen years she hosted an annual online conference for International Stuttering Awareness Day, drawing participants from more than 150 nations. She continues receiving conference invitations to lecture on (free) internet resources in her field. She and husband Tom have nine children and 12 grandchildren, and are co-hosts of this Online Conference.

There are many excellent opportunities to uncover good Christian music online. Of course, as always, everything listed here has not been vetted, so check the lyrics. This short report will highlight only a few of the many freely-available hymn resources that are already online.

A few choir concerts online

  • Bethany Lutheran College (ELS) Homecoming Concert May 28, 2014
  • Martin Luther College (WELS) archive of streamed concerts

  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (WELS) Christmas Concert 2010
  • The Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus (WELS) Concert 2014
  • National Choral Festival (WELS) Sacred Concert 2015 hosted at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School, Jackson, Wisconsin, November 13-15, 2015.
  • Online Christian Hymnals

  • is the "master site" for hymnals, texts, and tunes. Sometimes it lists only where a hymn is printed in a hymnbook and information about the author (e.g. the excellent Good Friday hymn "You That Like Heedless Strangers Pass Along"). But typically this site indexes thousands of hymns and links to text, scores, and MIDIs if they are available. When you search the entire Hymnary site, typing the name of a language in the search box may uncover hymns in both English and another language. I had the best luck with "Spanish." Many hymnals online have strong copyright restrictions the reader should be aware of.
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (ELS) and Christian Worship: a Lutheran Hymnal (WELS) are page-scanned with text and score available for most of the hymns. When a MIDI is not available on the WELS or ELS hymnal site, check at the bottom of the page for the hymn you are looking for where it says Media - "More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages" and you may find a link to a MIDI of the tune.
  • The Lutheran Hymnal (LCMS, 1941) is scanned with score and text and is the hymnal I grew up with. The Lutheran Hymnal Online has MIDI versions of all of the hymns as well as text of all the lyrics. This labor of love by Rev. Richard Jordan, copyright 1998, is for personal enjoyment (and inspiration) only. The copyright statement is strong and precludes free distribution with current technology. Questions of use can be sent to an email address.
  • The United Methodist Hymnal has many hymns familiar to me, some including a MIDI file, text, and music score.
  • The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (1940) includes scanned pages of the hymnal with text and music score.
  • The Baptist Hymnal site has downloadable text of over 500 "good old Baptist Hymns and Spiritual Songs, lyrics with PDF." Many are familiar and used in our churches. If you are just looking for a hymn text to print out, this may be a good site, but translations may differ (for example, check "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.")
  • Additional Freely-Available Worship and Praise Music

  • Lutheran Hymns is a lovely collection of 87 videos, many with choir singing and subtitled text to sing along. Individual hymns can be downloaded to computers or transferred to cell phones.
  • A collection of Public Domain Hymns. Continuously updated, this resource includes sheet music, lyrics, MIDI, PPT Music and Finale files, as well as Spanish language hymns..
  • Free Christian Worship & Praise Music has ZIP files to download: 125 MP3 hymns, 127 MP3 hymns, 4500 Midi hymns, and 319 hymns with MIDI, sheet music, and lyrics.
  • Chris Driesbach, who sings and tells his story in ELS and WELS congregations throughout the United States, composes and performs his own creations. His website provides a few links to YouTube videos of some of his songs and a freely available copy of the lyrics of all of his music.
  • YouTube has Christian hymns in many different languages. Search "Christian music + whatever language you are looking for." Be aware that ads will pop up on YouTube. Some of the videos are hours long, filled with music and they can be downloaded.
  • Christian Music Online For Personal Use or Sharing with Others

    Music from groups or individuals singing good Christian music can be found on YouTube, Vimeo, and in church archives. You can even search for hymns sung in many different languages. I download some of my personal favorites, keep them in a folder to my computer and on my phone, and listen to or watch them often. Six examples from my folder:

  • John Ylvisaker singing his hymn, "I was there to hear your borning cry"
  • Peter Hollen's a cappella video of "Mary did you know?" by Mark Lowry"
  • Michael Joncas' "On Eagles Wings" (based on Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31)
  • "The Tree of Life," hymn tune by Bruce W. Becker, text by Stephen P. Starke (1995), here sung by the choir at Peace Lutheran Church (ELS), North Mankato, Minnesota, and listed as an example of how a local congregation or mission can produce its own "music videos" for distribution locally on cell phones.
  • "You Raise Me Up," written by Secret Garden (music by Rolf Løvland, lyrics by Brendan Graham) is sung here by two Chinese children in English with Chinese subtitles. Like the widely popular "Amazing Grace" which sadly does not mention the source of grace, Jesus, there is no direct Christian message in this song, but it can easily be interpreted by a Christian witness to someone who loves the song as an introduction to the Gospel message.
  • An old vinyl record of Christian music sung by children, directed by Mr. Fred Bartel from Madison Lutheran School in Madison, Wisconsin, has been digitized and put online. The quality of the recording from the early 1960's is not perfect, but the voices of the children and their message are.

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    Jim Radloff 27 days ago
    Any suggestions of where to look for very, very simple lyrics set to music which match Bible stories for kids? Do know of an artist who does kids song with a very clear tone or voice so that children in a foreign country who know some English can hear and understand? Thank you for your great service to us for this information.
    Judy Kuster 27 days ago
    I searched for sites for easy children’s songs online to include in my paper, but the ones I found were on sites with lots of advertising or cost money – which I don’t focus on. I intend to search for other sites as time allows, but maybe others can suggest some good sites they have found.

    In the mean time, if you go to the first resource – – and type in some key words, like – little children – some things will come up that you can explore. I found one that may be adapted (by Fanny Crosby) – We are Little Children, Very Young Indeed. One of the verses looks easy enough for your purposes.

    Just FYI, I’m working on the first lesson for JCW and focusing on the “th” sound for the English pronunciation section. I’m using a verse from “Praise him, praise him, praise him all you little children” that I found on I’m using Thank him, thank him, etc. The words, sheet music, and a midi (sound) file are on the site. It is incorporated in the lesson I will be sending you. I’m also using the minibook on creation that is mentioned in my other paper (you can see the picture on that site). The teachers will help the children make the minibook and learn “Thank God for dark and light”, etc. through the 6 days of creation.
    Steve Balza 24 days ago
    Although not necessarily helpful for worship or outreach, I've found many excellent sources of free hymns and other Christian music online for those who have the desire/capability to listen to music in your office or home.
    Here are a few of my favorites:
    This is a free site that streams Lutheran hymns throughout the day.
    This is a YouTube channel managed by an individual who finds hymns from various churches, choirs, etc. and posts them to her page.
    This is the Martin Luther College Vimeo page that includes some exceptional numbers recorded in the Chapel of the Christ.
    For those with an Amazon Prime membership, Amazon Music allows you to freely add thousands of Albums (or partial albums) to your "library" and play them as you wish. These include CDs put out by Concordia Publishing House (Hymns for All Saints, etc.), King's College Choir, Michael W Smith, etc.
    Judy Kuster 24 days ago
    Great resources! Thanks for the list! Will be better than having the radio on!