When a church uses hymnbooks instead of a projector, there’s no annual copyright charge – and there’s no need to keep weekly records of songs used for the copyright agency.
Hymnbooks are good for people who have difficulty seeing the words on a screen due to eyesight problems -- or because they’re behind a tall person.
Hymnbooks can be used when there is a power failure or when the projector bulb blows.
Hymnbooks can be used when people are sitting around the room facing the centre – they don’t all need to be facing a screen.
If God speaks to you through a hymn, you might want to re-read the words after it has been sung. This is easy with a hymnbook, but a projected song disappears as soon as it has been sung. Sometimes, only one verse is visible at a time.
People can own their own hymnbooks and take them home – to learn songs, to prepare for the service, or for devotional reading. They can mark or highlight the songs they like.
People get to know and love hymnbooks – but this is not possible with ever-changing collections of projected songs.
A hymnbook is ideal for worship led by members of the congregation (open worship) because:
The words of a hymn can be checked before the hymn is requested.
Selected verses can be read aloud.
Verses can be omitted on request.
Hymnbooks are great for song-times in homes. They are suitable for families, home groups and other small groups.
Although there is a cost associated with the purchase of hymnbooks, there is also a cost (sometimes a very large one) associated with the purchase and maintenance of projection equipment. Projector bulbs especially are very expensive.
Operators for projection equipment must be recruited, trained and rostered. There will inevitably be hitches with operator absences, equipment problems and selecting songs on the computer.
Although, in theory, people should sing better when looking up at a screen, in practice there is often better singing in congregations that use hymnbooks.
If hymnbooks are handed out, there can be a useful point of contact with visitors.