“Bring Them In,” a timeless hymn, resonates deeply with believers across generations, serving as a poignant reminder of the call to reach out to the lost and bring them into the fold of faith. Rooted in the compassionate teachings of Jesus Christ, the hymn’s history intertwines with the evolution of Sunday schools, the tireless efforts of dedicated educators, and the musical talents of hymnists. 

The hymn’s verses, each echoing the Shepherd’s fervent desire to seek and save the lost, guide believers on a journey of faith and mission. 

In stanza one, we are called to heed the Shepherd’s voice, echoing the biblical imagery of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who tirelessly seeks out those who have strayed. Drawing from passages like John 10:11-14 and Isaiah 53:6, the hymn reminds us of Christ’s relentless pursuit of the lost souls, even in the darkest of deserts. 

Stanza two emphasizes the collaborative effort between the Shepherd and His flock. It underscores the importance of believers joining hands with Christ in His mission to seek out the lost sheep. As Matthew 9:36-38 and Acts 8:4 teach us, we are called to actively participate in spreading the gospel, bringing the wandering ones into the safety of the fold, symbolizing the church community. 

In stanza three, the hymn echoes the Shepherd’s command to go forth and seek the lost. Just as Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), believers are urged to heed the Master’s voice and respond to the cry of the lost. Through our obedience to Christ’s commands, we become instruments of His grace, leading others to the saving knowledge of Him.  

The chorus, a resounding call to action, encapsulates the hymn’s central message: to bring the lost souls from the fields of sin into the loving embrace of Jesus. Though originally crafted for Sunday school settings, the hymn’s universal appeal transcends boundaries of age and context, reminding believers of their shared responsibility to extend Christ’s invitation to all. 

The origins of “Bring Them In” are intertwined with the history of Sunday schools, which emerged as a response to the spiritual and social needs of impoverished children in 18th-century England. Led by pioneers like Robert Raikes, these early educators recognized the transformative power of education, both spiritual and secular, in shaping young minds and hearts. 

Inspired by the Sunday school movement, hymnist Alexcenah Thomas is believed to have penned the lyrics to “Bring Them In,” encapsulating the spirit of outreach and evangelism championed by Raikes and his contemporaries. Although Thomas’s authorship has been debated, her contributions to hymnody remain significant, with over forty hymns to her name, each reflecting her unwavering faith and commitment to spreading the gospel. One of the original lyrics was believed to reference children specifically, with “bring the little ones to Jesus” instead of “bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus”.  

William Ogden, a prominent figure in church music, provided the melody for “Bring Them In.” Ogden’s musical expertise, honed through years of study and dedication, brought the hymn to life, ensuring its enduring popularity in churches across America and beyond. 

As believers continue to sing “Bring Them In” in churches and Sunday schools, they honor the legacy of those who came before them, tirelessly laboring to bring the light of Christ to the darkest corners of the world. With each stanza and chorus, hearts are stirred, hands are strengthened, and souls are inspired to join the Shepherd in His mission to seek and save the lost. 

Another wonderful request from my sweet “Miss” Anne Murphy! Do you have a hymn you’d like to know more about? Feel free to send in a request by giving our office a call or by emailing me at savannah.pearce@bibbcommunitymedia.com. I would love to hear from you!