Hymn Tournament 2019

What is the greatest hymn of all time? Let’s find out!




April 30th – Completed Brackets Due

May 1st-29th – Round 1 Voting (results reflected in graphics below)

June 1st to June 29th – Round 2 Voting (results reflected in graphics below)


LIVE ROUNDS Held at Annual Conference in Dallas, TX

Monday, July 15 – Quarterfinals (online voting via Facebook)

Tuesday, July 16 – Semi-Finals (online voting via Facebook)

Wednesday, July 17 – Finals (online voting via Facebook)

Thursday, July 18 – Winner Announced


FULL BRACKET (click image to enlarge)



Celebrated by the church for centuries, the strophic hymn division has a lot going for it. Rhyme and meter come together into rich theological poetry set to singable tunes…this division’s champion will surely be the “hymn to beat” in the final 4!

  1. Holy, Holy, Holy! [NICAEA]
  2. Be Thou My Vision [SLANE]
  3. Come, Thou Fount [NETTLETON]
  4. Amazing grace! [NEW BRITAIN]
  5. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling [BEECHER]
  6. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name [CORONATION]
  7. What a Friend We Have in Jesus [CONVERSE]
  8. O for a Thousand Tongues [AZMON]



What congregation doesn’t love a good refrain? Rich stanzas combined with singable repetition makes a verse-refrain hymn the best of both worlds! As the soundtrack of 19th and 20th century gospel revivals, this division’s champion will be hard to beat in the final 4.

  1. When Peace, Like a River/It Is Well
  2. My Hope is Built/On Christ the Solid Rock
  3. To God Be the Glory
  4. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  5. On Eagle’s Wings
  6. Here I Am, Lord
  7. Because He Lives
  8. Leaning On the Everlasting Arms



Chant-based song has long been the backbone of music-making in the church while cyclical song structures remind us of the power of meditation and community music-making by way of repetition. An eclectic group, this division’s champion might be so memorable you’ll find yourself singing it over and over and over again.

  1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  2. Of the Father’s Love Begotten
  3. Were You There
  4. Siyahamba
  5. Soon and Very Soon
  6. Jesus, Remember Me (Taize)
  7. Seek Ye First
  8. Ososo



How will the the last few decade’s most popular congregational songs stack up against the giants of the past? And will a “staff pick” find its way into the final 4? Only time can tell…

  1. 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
  2. In Christ Alone
  3. How Great Is Our God
  4. Mighty to Save
  5. Every Praise
  6. How Great Thou Art [Staff Pick – MIKE]
  7. Canticle of the Turning [Staff Pick – COURTNEY]
  8. Holy God, We Praise Your Name – [Staff Pick – STEVEN]



How do I vote/What is the voting process?

Rounds 1 & 2 – 3 Ways To Vote

  1. Our Website – Click on this link to vote (Starts May 1st)
  2. The Stanza – Click on the link in The Stanza to vote
  3. Facebook – Polls will appear on our Facebook feed throughout May & June

Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals – 2 Ways To Vote

  1. Live at Conference
  2. Facebook – Polls will appear on our Facebook feed throughout conference
How Were the Top 32 Hymns for the Tournament Selected?

The following resources were used to select the 32 tournament contenders:

How Were the Hymns Seeded (Prioritized)?

Strophic Division – based on hymnary.org popularity rankings

Refrains Division – based on hymnary.org popularity rankings

Chant & Cyclical Division – seeded at Center Director’s discretion

CCLI & Staff Picks Division – CCLI list current standings for 1-5, then our Executive Director’s staff pick (6), our Operations Manager’s staff pick (7), and finally our Administrative Assistant’s staff pick (8)

Are we voting on the texts or tune?

We are treating this tournament as a “total package” tournament including the text, tune, and their marriage. For texts that have been set to various tunes, we have specified which tune is being used for the purposes of this tournament based on the most common pairing indicated on hymnary.org.

I Can’t Believe The Hymn Society Is Doing This! How Dare They…

Look…this is for fun. Of course, we hope that people get into this and take the voting seriously…but let’s enjoy the lighter side of our work. Are you upset with the process? Are you upset with the selections? Don’t be. Let’s enjoy some light-hearted hymnological competition! If this isn’t your cup of tea, then please carry on and let others have some fun.

Why Isn’t [insert your favorite hymn] In The Tournament!?

Sorry…see the answer to the previous question.