GOH: Never Grow Old

It may just be me, but it seems like the older the median age of the church members the more this song ended up being sung on Sundays.

One a side note, the notes that accompany the words “never grow ooooooold” seem to have intentionally been written to be screeched instead of sung.

103 thoughts on “GOH: Never Grow Old”

  1. On one point i will agree. If you are not gifted to sing then singing specials is not for you.thats what the local assembly is all about. A body of believers excercising their God-given gifts for the glory of Christ.

  2. They used to song this all the time at my fundy church when I was little! Once I finish my LARGE coffee I will be able to listen to it again. Im weirdly excited abt it 🙂

  3. I am sure median age of the congregation plays a part. But I wonder if the region of the country also plays a part. I noticed when I traveled to the South the hymns were really limited to the blood of Jesus and the mansion over the hill top theme. But it may just be the fact that the fundy church I was attending in the north went heretical and started using that contemporary worship music thats of the devil.

        1. What is the difference between an “Old Fashioned Sunday” and any other Sunday?

        2. I’m working really hard at not posting about another kind of Sunday they could have.

    1. I totally agree. I will say, however, it seems that many modern churches target only the young. Older people have to simply adjust so we can attract more twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings. Keep those tithes and offerings coming, though, you old geezers. Somebody’s got to pay the bills.

      1. Some churches definitely push for young people, but in my experience, the older people are often choosing to see themselves as marginalized. Some of them refuse to compromise, wanting only hymns, for example, and no new music. They believe the worst, like saying, “They play that loud music to drive us away” or “They put up those screens when they KNOW we can’t see it.” Even claiming “they only want us for our money” is an unfair assumption that I’ve often heard. Most sincere Christians I know would value the contributions of elderly believers, except that those people have become irritable, harsh, and intransigent instead of humble, generous, and flexible.

        1. A few years ago, we visited a large (non-fundy) church. The CCM was so loud that it hurt my ears (literally). I emailed the pastor to let him know that it was a bit loud. He emailed back and said that the volume was within OSHA standards.

          It is counterintuitive, but people in early to mid stages of hearing loss often find certain loud noises painful. (The baby boomer generation is experiencing hearing loss in unprecedented numbers.)

        2. Amplified music, even if it’s not loud at all, seems to cause my Dad physical pain. And it plays havoc with Mom’s hearing aid.

        3. I’ve found a lot of praise bands too loud (then again I’m in my 40s!) I guess the difference is that I don’t assume because the band is loud that they’re doing it deliberately to annoy me, alienate me, and make me leave because they don’t want me around. I’d rather assume that they like it loud, they don’t realize how off-putting it can be to others, and they don’t understand the level of pain because perhaps their own ears are accustomed to it because they’ve been blasting it through headphones all their lives?

        4. I have been told that they reason they play so loud is so people will feel free to sing to the top of their lungs. Uh ok. Well, at my sister’s church I have to stop at the ER to get my heart put back into rhythm because the drums are so loud it changes my heart beat for me. I know that is a bit over the top, but not far from the truth….you can feel the vibrations in your chest. While I like her church, the music gets out of hand and help me Lord my head is pounding. And funny how a pastor said it was within OSHA standard. My husband is a safety adviser and knows all about OSHA. During a service we went to last year he took his phone out and used an app to see how loud it was. Boy it was off the charts. Crazy how someone would know what OSHA standards are in regards to a worship service.

        5. One of the things I don’t like is when it’s too loud to hear myself sing. I guess some people can lose their inhibitions about singing that way, but I feel weird to not be able to hear myself or the people around me sing, no matter how loudly we are praising.

        6. Music that’s too loud in a church is off putting to me as well. I visited one that was set up like a nightclub, which I had no problem with, but you could hear the music down the road, I’ll bet.

        7. Thanks for using the word “intransigent.” It’s not often that someone uses a word I have to look up, and in this case it seems to be quite a useful word, too.

          WRT praise bands being loud because it encourages people to sing loudly, I believe that this was one of the reasons given for installing pipe organs back in the day. They are loud enough that they encourage congregants to sing loudly.

          My understanding is that the real reason praise bands are so loud is because someone (usually the drummer) isn’t skilled enough to play at anything other than full blast, so the other musicians have to crank up their volume so they don’t get drowned out.

        8. re: pipe organs, they might have encouraged people to sing loud, but at one time, they were one of the few forms of amplified sound, and they were in place, in a large church or cathedral, to instill a sense of the sublime. Large interior space, stained glass, and overwhelming sound = a sense of the supernatural breaking into the natural world.

        9. PW wrote:

          “in my experience, the older people are often choosing to see themselves as marginalized. Some of them refuse to compromise, wanting only hymns, for example, and no new music.”

          I agree that older believers are marginalized in our churches. We have the corporation mentality of “service.” It’s not about the Holy Spirit gifting each and every believer, but rather what the Mog can delegate to a fitting worker.

          As far as refusing “to compromise,” I find it interesting that to alter one’s tradition is considered “compromise.” This doesn’t just apply to music style, but the manner in which we “do church,” such as our bible translations, leadership hierarchy, liturgy, programs, gender roles and etc.

        10. BRO, “alter” is a better word than “compromise”, especially to a fundy because compromising is seen as a negative instead of a positive.

          I think the weird thing for evangelicals/fundamentalists is that we grew up hearing that we had no liturgy so we assume then that there’s not a problem to changing things, but then when we try to alter traditions, we find that there actually IS in the minds of many of the congregants who get offended when you try to do something different from how church was done when they were young.

        11. I just thought of this: some older people didn’t like that we dropped the PM service for small groups instead, but most of those older folks DIDN’T EVEN COME to the evening service. They wanted it, but wouldn’t come to it themselves. But when we dropped it, we “weren’t caring for the interests of the older generation.”

        12. From my experience, evangelical and charismatic churches tend to marginalize the older people more than any church (including fundies) I’ve ever attended. Of course I’ve not attended church since I turned 50. Sometime SFL should have a discussion of CCM. I used to love it, but eventually donated probably 100 CCM cds. Couldn’t listen to it anymore. It just didn’t speak to me any longer.

        13. Did the size of the church make a difference? A lot of IFB churches I’ve been associated with seemed full of (and often run by) older people. These churches tended to be small.

        14. Also there were always more older people (50s, 60s, and 70s, though 50s don’t seem quite as old to me now) it seemed than others.

        15. PW, from polls I’ve seen it appears that the younger people are leaving organized religion. The ‘evangelicals’ and charismatics are trying to target this age group (IMO).

          I tried large evangelical & charismatic churches after I left fundamentalism. I found pastors who wanted to seem young and cool, even if they were my age. What I found in the charismatic church was really disheartening…especially when it came to teaching on death. (That’s a whole ‘nuther subject, though.)

          I grew up in small fundamentalist churches, largely populated by elders. There were times when my siblings and I only had 2 or 3 other youths in attendance.

          As we age, some people become more resistant to change. At 57, I understand that. As far as today’s video goes, I understand the elders that are singing about heaven. As I’ve gotten a bit older I have experienced the deaths of more and more people that I care about, and I know that my time is coming one day. I hope that there is, indeed, a life after this one.

        16. Re: loud music in church
          Did anyone ever hear Phil Kidd’s children sing in a small church? They held the microphones right at their mouths and sang as loudly as they could while their dad yelled out, “sing louder, children!” Talk about hurting the ears; it was easily as loud as some rock concerts I’ve been to!

      2. I think part of the reason churches “target” younger people is because they’re the ones leaving the church. It’s very noticeable at our church – we have very few 20-somethings that attend. It seems that they stop going during college, then don’t return until they have kids and realize they want their kids in church…unfortunately then it’s often only one parent that comes with them, not both. There’s not as much a need to “market” to older people; they’re already regular attenders.

  4. Better sung than lots of specials I have heard.

    Have to admit I am not too fond of growing old, myself. I was watching an older gentleman in the parking lot the other day, and realized that I was probably as old as he was, but I sure didn’t think of myself as that age!

    My daughter likes to tease me about being old, too.

    My problem with “heaven” is that I can’t see myself as part of a perpetual choir. I am not musically inclined. I am incessantly curious. I want to learn, to discover, and to teach. I can’t see any entity being “me” that did not have those qualities. How could I be content in a heaven where all that awaited me was rest and choir practice?

    Heaven as usually described must have sounded heavenly to the ancients who knew nothing but wearying toil and boredom their entire lives. But I’m hoping for something more interesting.

    1. I love to sing, both harmony and melody, but the concept of endless hymn singing didn’t really thrill my soul either. Once we allowed ourselves to enjoy CCM and praise and worship music, I realized that praise could be much more compelling and vibrant and passionate.

      One of my favorite kids’ books about heaven is [i]Let’s Talk about Jesus [/i] by Debby Anderson. She asks, “What will we do in heaven?” She answered that with worship, reign, fellowship, serve, and rest as well as one that would appeal to you, Rtgmath – learn: “Here on earth, one way to get to know God is by studying His creation. In our forever home, we will have all the time and tools we need to discover, to explore, to experiment, to create, to design.”


        1. Haymen!

          Although I could go for some singing, too. I always enjoyed my time singing in choir. Ancient hymns and new praise songs alike. Just love to sing.

          I suspect there will be plenty to keep us busy.

        2. I believe heaven isn’t at all what we could imagine. If we could imagine it, then it probably wouldn’t be heaven.

          I can with confidence say this: Heaven will be nothing like any fundy church, or what any fundy Mog has declared it to be like.

          That I am certain.

        3. Our family used to go to a local nursing home once a month with our elderly neighbor and his wife and do a service for any residents who wanted to come. I played the piano and they sang hymns and had a short message and a Scripture reading. At one point, the old gentleman said to those gathered there, “Just think! We’ll be doing this up in heaven forever!” I almost started laughing over at the piano because that wasn’t exactly what I hoped for in heaven.

        4. BG, take a gander at Randy Alcorn’s book “Heaven” sometime. It really made me look forward to eternity.

      1. We started listening to CCM last year. We allowed ourselves to get caught up in the “never listen to it” hoopla. I was amazed at how wonderful the words are. They are so relevant for today. Sometimes I try to listen to another radio station for fundy type music and just can’t. I can’t even bring myself to listen to this song on here. I watched it without sound. Boy oh boy, I can only imagine what it sounds like. But no thanks. I don’t need to hear it.

        1. So many modern praise and worship songs have been an incredible blessing to my soul. I cannot express enough how thankful I am that I threw off the chains of legalism and allowed myself to exercise the freedom I have in Christ to listen to these songs!

          Tenth Avenue North is amazing; song after song speaks to my heart. “Beauty from Pain”, “Crawl”, and “Stand in the Rain” by Superchick, The Story album (especially “Broken Hallelujah” and “Born for This” although “Alive” and “Who But You” and “How Love Wins” are awesome too), “Forever Reign”, the Beauty Will Rise album from Steven Curtis Chapman, “I Will Rise” and “Our God is Greater” by Chris Tomlin, “Never Alone” and “Beautiful Ending” by BarlowGirl, “Rise Up” by Dirt Poor Robins – song after song that reflect my heart and that help me express myself to the Lord and to remind me of His truth and His promises.

    2. When I was doing immigration paralegal work, I worked on the case of a young man who said he couldn’t leave the country because his parents were so old they couldn’t live by themselves. Looking at the parents’ dates of birth, I realized they were both younger than I was at the time (they were something like 43 and 45). And I was younger then than I am now (funny how that works).

      Now, those parents may have had some kind of infirmities that kept them from being independent. But I didn’t think the government was going to buy that their age alone made them feeble.

      1. Yikes, I am 44. But I am okay with my kids growing and letting me live by myself. That won’t be for a looong time seeing as how I have a 4 year old. 🙂

  5. I’m trying to figure out if this was taped at a church in Williamsburg or Dollywood or somewhere or if someone had one of those whacky new vid-e-o camera machines at the service that immediately proceeded the Salem Witch Burnings/Hangings/Drownings.

    Surely people don’t dress this way today even in the last bastions of fundyland, do they?

    BTW….this song was regularly sung in my fundy church growing up and yes, screeching was mandatory.

      1. These people appear to be brethren or Mennonite rather than IFB, in my opinion. In my neck of the fundy woods, “old fashioned Sunday” meant that everyone dressed like a cowboy. 🙄

        1. I thought Mennonite too, but the women are wearing makeup. Isn’t that against the rules?

      1. The best argument FOR seatbelts I’d what happened to a friend. He was not wearing a seatbelt when he was involved in a serious crash. He suffered catastrophic brain damage which reduced him to the functional level of a 2-year-old. He attended an ultra-fundamentalist church and there were people who claimed that god was punishing him. Only that church would have considered what he had done to be wrong

        1. I’m a fanatic about always using seat belts. I’ve been in a couple of crashes where my car was totalled, but I wasn’t hurt, because I wore my seatbelt (lap and shoulder belts). The worst injury in one crash was burns from an airbag that detonated, so I favor seatbelts over airbags 100%.

  6. Nice song.

    I noticed one of the men had to leave and sit down part way through the song; I trust he was OK.

    I don’t know what kind of church they are singing in; I wonder if they preach against men having long hair. If so, I wonder if they preach against women having short hair. I occasionally hear the former, but I’ve never heard the latter.

    1. I wasn’t allowed to cut my hair growing up, because “a woman’s hair is her glory”, and because men are attracted to long hair. That wasn’t from the pulpit, but from my father. But then, in the brethren church, many in the church are allowed to preach, and my dad did on occasions too (but I wouldn’t have a clue what he preached in the pulpit).

      1. I think I did hear it from the pulpit sometimes, but I heard it a lot from my parents. We were allowed to cut our hair, but they still preferred it to be several inches past our shoulders. Even today, if I cut my hair, my mom reacts with disappointment.

        (BTW, I always thought it was strange when we were told that we should keep our hair long because men liked long hair. In so many ways, we were to avoid attracting men’s attention, but our hair was allowed to be attractive, even if the rest of us wasn’t in our culottes and sneakers.)

      2. I heard it. We were told that our hair should be long enough so that no one who saw us from the back would think we were boys. Although, how anyone would think I was a boy in my denim skirt/jumper/coulottes I can’t imagine!

    2. I keep my hair reasonably short these days because when it gets long it sticks out sideways and I look like the Jeff Daniels character from “Dumb and Dumber” (except I’m not that smart)

  7. Went with a group of kids from our fundy college to sing at a nursing home. (Because what would nursing home residents like better than to be wheeled into a stuffy room and forced to listen to college kids sing old time hymns a capella?) One of the guys led this one and the rest of us all felt it was insensitive. (It was.) What a dumb thing to have to remember.

  8. https://www AT youtube AT com/watch?v=h5rj9nnMIk0 tells this of this video: “The Heritage Singers at Mount Pisgah 4/22/12.” And there’s a number of other videos of their songs on this YouTube page.

    They deserve the 6th grader’s highest praise: “They don’t suck.”

    Online there’s a 2008 invitation at the Carolina Conference to listen to the group. They note: “Heritage Singers is a group of professional Christian musicians who have dedicated themselves to using their talents in service for Christ. Known and loved all over the world, these singers will thrill your hearts with their powerful testimony and unique vocal sound. Take this opportunity to invite your friends and family to join you in an unforgettable time of inspiration and praise!” So the farmer get-ups (braces and old-fashioned dresses) are just their costume/ concert attire.

    As good as the Heritage Singers are, stick around for the Golden Harp “singing” at the same church 5/26/12. Sorry, that off-key shouting-in-the-round offends my ears and musical sensibilities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZPbSq4z9mk

    1. Known and loved all over the world?
      I guess that depends on how you interpret that phrase. There are a few people in far-flung parts of the world who have met me at least once, but if you asked the *average* person in Mongolia or Sri Lanka who I am, you would draw a blank. I suspect the same is true of the Heritage Singers. Or, alternatively, that writer’s definition of “the world” may be “the greater Sylvester, Georgia metropolitan area.”

  9. Thanks for this post; I’ve spent a good hour, now, listening to various shape note singing videos.

    I learned to sing shape notes at my great-grandmother’s Methodist church, but not like these folks.

    1. Sharon, my family and I are shape-note fanatics! Weirdly enough, we discovered shape note via that most Yankee and Europhile of groups, the Boston Camerata under Joel Cohen. But we were instantly hooked. We were part of a monthly local “sing” for a while until scheduling conflicts came up. But it was just as well that we left, because we never did get the hang of the fuguing tunes! However , we are still huge fans. Someone once asked us how Catholics could love this music. Well, why not? It has it’s roots in plainchant and in plaintive Celtic ballads. That stuff is in my blood.

      Shape note has an eerie, haunting sound that is like nothing else. I will take it over later schmaltzy gospel music any day!

      Have you seen the DVD “Awake My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp”? It is superb!!

  10. Ok, this papist has to say I love this song! I’d never heard it till a few years ago…but it’s on an Anonymous 4 CD. And they make it sound really good.

    Anonymous 4 recorded several CDs of shape-note and Gospel tunes: American Angels and Gloryland.. Forget which one this is on. Buy them both. You won’t regret it!

      1. Oh I know Anonymous 4 is not authentic. But I’m not a purist and neither is my hubby (who once scandalized a record-store clerk in Harvard Square by buying the Robert Shaw Chorale singing sea shanties rather than the raw “authentic” recording).

        My favorite shape-note album is The Shapenote Album by the Tudor Choir. We do have those old Library of Congress field recordings of the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, but I have to be in the mood, especially since the sound quality sucks.

        1. I wonder if it is the same record store in Harvard Square that I bought my Ricky Skaggs and the Country Gentlemen album. That would have been in fall of ’92 I think.

        2. Uncle Wilver, it has been many years, but I know it was on Mass. Ave. in the vicinity of Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage. Can’t remember if it was right next door or a few doors up, but in that area.

        3. CG-C, I don’t know what the store was. It has been too long. That was the only time I’ve been to Harvard Square. All of our other visits to the Boston area were to the old historic sites and we stayed either in Rowley or further north. The Burger Cottage doesn’t sound familiar. I guess I’ll have to take the Mrs. back up and give it a try.

          I do still buy albums. I added three to my vinyl collection last week.

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