Hymns are songs of praise to God. A lot of times they are associated with old-fashioned worship, but there are hymns still being sung and written today. I have found some beautiful hymns that cover the topic of discipleship below, both being a disciple, and discipling others.
What are common hymns about discipleship? Some well-known hymns about discipleship include “I Surrender All,” “In Christ Alone,” “Be Thou My Vision,” and more.
We are disciples of Jesus and are called to live out God’s word and disciple others as well. Below are Hymns taken from many different time periods by all describe our walk with Christ as we grow more like him.
1. I Surrender All
“I Surrender All” written by J. W. Van DeVenter and put to music by Winfield S. Weeden. It was published in 1896.
This Hymn is about surrendering your life to Jesus. It is about denying ourselves to live for the pleasures of the world and instead of living for Christ.
When DeVenter wrote this he was trying to decide what path to take in life, but came to the conclusion to surrender it to Christ and became an evangelist and hymn writer.
2. Take My Life, and Let It Be
Frances Ridley Havergal wrote “Take My Life, and Let It Be” after seeing a household come to faith after praying for them. She wrote the hymn in 1874, it has become a very popular hymn and is still sung today.
As we grow in Christ this should be our song to be more like him. This song also encourages us to reach out to others.
Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love
This hymn is about consecrating our lives to the Lord. Havergal talks about dedicating our hands, our feet, our riches, and more to the Lord.
3. Be thou My Vision
This hymn is about dedicating the Lord to be the center of our life. This hymn is of Irish origin, but translated into English by Eleanor Hull.
A common theme that is also seen in other hymns about following Jesus is the sole dedication to Christ, and a leaving behind of the world. In this hymn, we are comforted by the illustrations sung about God being our protector as well as victorious.
As we follow Jesus this hymn is a reminder that although we leave the pleasures of the world behind, we gain something much greater, Jesus.
4. In Christ Alone
“In Christ Alone” is a much more modern hymn being written in 2001, but carries a lot of meaning in it. It describes that our trust is in Christ alone, not the world, or anything else temporary, but in Christ.
This Hymn goes through the life of Jesus, from being born in human form, to dying and rising again defeating death.
As we grow in discipleship we need to remember where our hope and trust are, and exactly what Jesus means in our life. He is our Savior, our comforter, and so much more.
4. All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Written in 1875 by popular hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby, “All the Way My Savior Leads Me” is a hymn that emphasizes the confidence we have as Christians in life as we are lead by the savior.
Going through life we may not know what will happen next, but the Lord is going before us and leading us. We can be confident that “Jesus doeth all things well.”
5. Go Tell it on the Mountains
“Go Tell It on the Mountains” is originally an African American Folk music, it then became a well known Christmas song when adapted by John W. Work.
This song is about the birth of Jesus ad the salvation that he brought us when he came to earth.
Like in the Old Testament when God did something amazing they would go and proclaim it on the mountain tops, in the same way, we should do this about the good news of Jesus and what he has done for us.
6. Onward Christian Soldier
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould is a hymn about Christians marching to war. This kind of war is very different, the battle that Christians enter is not against flesh and blood but against satan.
In our walk with Christ, we will come against spiritual warfare, but we are fighting against the devil with Jesus leading us. We know that God is victorious and this hymn emphasizes his victory over the enemy in the end.
7. Throw out the Life-Line
“Throw out the Life-Line” written by Edward S. Ufford is a reminder that here on earth we have a task to pursue. We are called to go out and find the lost and share the gospel.
A life-line represents something that will save someone, and that is exactly what the gospel is. As we disciple others we are throwing out a life-line for them to be saved.
Ufford writes with urgency in this hymn as he draws attention to the souls that are being lost, and that we cannot wait to save them but throw out the life-line now.
8. Where He Leads Me
This hymn is a declaration of following Jesus wherever he may go. It was written by Edward Blandy after choosing a less comfortable path of going working in the slums instead of a comfortable church.
Blandy writes about following Jesus through the garden and through judgment in response to what Jesus told his disciples. We as disciples should have the same response to follow where Jesus leads.
Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Matthew 16:24
9. He Leadeth Me
Like we read in Psalm 23, we know that God is leading us. We can have such confidence in life similar to Joseph Gilmore, the author, who writes, that wherever we go God’s hand leads us.
We will face trials in life but because of our faith in Christ, we are not without hope. As disciples, we are both following Jesus and being lead by him, which is so comforting to know.
His faithful follower I would be, for by his hand he leadeth me.
10. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
Both the lyrics and the words behind the hymn inspires us today as Christians in a world that can be against our faith. This song is a declaration of what we have decided when we became a Christian.
The author is not known, but according to a story, it was sung by a man in India as he and his family stood in the face of death and were told to deny the gospel. He instead sung this song proclaiming his faith and eventually dying for his faith.
Following Jesus can involve a lot of sacrifices, but also much reward. This song describes our desire and drives to follow Jesus.
11. Jesus Paid it All
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
This Hymn written in 1865 has a powerful message of what Jesus has done on the cross and the implications that have for our life.
Written by Elvina M. Hall, she wrote this during one of her Church services when the words came to mind.
These words sung today have the same powerful message for believers that Jesus has washed us of the stain of our sins.
As disciples, we should be encouraged by this song to live for Jesus because of what he has done for us on the cross.
12. My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
The song “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” also known as “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote was written in view of the gracious experience we have as Christians.
The verses and chorus in this hymn express the solid foundation that we have in Christ. Christ is who we need to build our life on because “all other ground is sinking sand.”
We can fully rely on Jesus as disciples, and be confident that in the storms of life we can be anchored in him.
13. O For a Thousand Tongues
“O For a Thousand Tongues” is about the praise that we give to Go. This hymn brings up the great blessings that we have through Jesus but also the fact that not all have heard the good news of the Savior.
We are disciples of Jesus and are called to disciple others. This song brings up just how sweet it is to the sinner to know that he is saved, and we are given the task of sharing the good news.
14. The Old Rugged Cross
This hymn not only talks about what the Savior did on the cross, but what the world views the cross as and how we as disciples should respond, even to the shame that comes with being a Christian.
Written in 1913 by Reverend George Bennard this hymn is a reminder to us that Christ suffered and now it is our duty to live in light of what our Savior has done for us. This can mean that even when despised by others, we live for him and one day exchange it for a crown.
15. Trust and Obey
This hymn “Trust and Obey” is simply about trusting in God and obeying him. The chorus even says that we will be happy in Jesus only when we trust and obey.
Trusting and obeying Jesus is imperative for us as believers as we are growing in Christ. It can be easy to not obey God and his word, but as we hear in this hymn in almost every verse, there are abundant blessings when we trust and obey.
16. Send the Light
This hymn calls to us to send the light to those who need to hear the gospel, which as Christians in our responsibility.
This Hymn written by Charles H. Gabriel is about the importance of our responsibility to share the gospel, he even brings up the first missionary call in his hymn.
The Macedonian call was given to Paul and Barnabas, they proceeded to go out and share the good news to those who had not heard what Jesus did on the cross. And as disciples, we also should do.
17. Let Others See Jesus in You
Keep telling the story, be faithful and true, Let others see Jesus in you.
As Christians, we live out our faith on a daily basis, or at least that is what we are called to do. This hymn calls attention to the fact that people see you and if you live according to God’s word they will see Jesus in you.
We want more than just our lips to tell the story of Jesus, but our lives to tell the story of Jesus and his love.
18. My Prayer
This hymn written by Phillip P. Bliss is a prayer simply asking to be more like Christ in every aspect of life. As we sing this we are praying the same thing, to be more patient, to have more sorrow in sin, more gratitude, and trust in the Lord, simply to be more Christ-like.
The process of discipleship can be a long and hard road, but this hymn captures the heart of what we want to be as Christians. It gets me to think about the many areas I want to grow, and how I need Christ to grow in these areas.
19. Footsteps of Jesus
Written by Mary B. C. Slade this hymn, “Footsteps of Jesus” is about walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
This hymn describes what it is like to live out following Jesus. We are with him to help find the lost sheep, and we will help the weak as he did.
Going where we are called is emphasized as some of the lyrics say that we may end up preaching the word of God or we may be helping the poor, wherever Jesus leads us.
We should have this same attitude to follow wherever Jesus leads us.
20. Nearer, My God, to Thee
“Nearer, My God, to Thee” is a hymn that is about our desire to continually have a close relationship with God.
Verses two, three, and four are about the story of Jacob and the ladder to heaven in Genesis 28. Jacob had a nearness to God that we want.
As disciples of Christ, this should also be our desire to grow closer to God and to be more like him every day.
21. Come, Thou Fount
This well-known hymn written in 1758 by Robert Robinson is about the blessings that we receive as followers of Christ and the thankfulness we should have because of these blessings.
Another topic brought up in the lyrics is our human nature to wander from God, even though we are blessed abundantly we sometimes are lead astray, but God rescues us.
The thankfulness in this hymn should be on our tongues every day as we give thanks to God for all he has done for us and how he leads us every day.
22. How Firm a Foundation
“How Firm a Foundation,” in this hymn we are reminded of the foundation of our life is in the Lord. This hymn takes different passages in scripture and puts them in this hymn.
The author takes 1 Corinthians 3:11, which is about our foundation is in Christ. Isaiah 41:10, that the Lord is with us and we do not need to be afraid. Isaiah 43:2, that even when we go through trials in life that God will be with us.
Verse 5 of the hymn is a description of many verses including Romans 8:35-39, that we cannot be separated from the love of Christ, as well as Hebrews 13:5 that God will no leave us.
These promises that we hear in this hymn are a great reminder that God is in control and when the foundation of our life is in Christ we do not need to be afraid.
This hymn is about being ready for what the Lord calls us to. “Ready” is a declaration that wherever the Lord leads or directs that we as his followers are ready to do what we are called to do.
Being ready may mean being ready to go somewhere new, but it also may mean ready to send others. This is the attitude that we need, ready for whatever God calls us to.
Ready to go, ready to stay, Ready my place to fill; Ready for service lowly or great, Ready to do His will.
24. Wherever He Leads I’ll Go
This hymn written by B. B. McKinney is all about our lives as Christians as we follow Jesus wherever he goes. This specific hymn goes into the importance of seeking God’s will.
We don’t always know where God wants us to go, but we can seek his will and trust that he is leading us. Jesus is our king who died for our sins so when he leads us we will go.
25. Living for Jesus
This hymn written by Thomas O. Chisholm is a hymn that is bout living for Jesus and not for ourselves. In the lyrics to this hymn, we hear of what Jesus did on the cross for us and the implications that should have in our life.
The last verse of this hymn specifically speaks to our short time on earth, and how we should use this time to sharing the gospel with those who have not heard and discipling others.
These many hymns will hopefully encourage you on your walk with Jesus, as you are a disciple and as you disciple others.