Big Questions

Is the Christian music ministry making a difference?

Posted August 16, 2023

by Savannah Wagner

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Music plays a vital role in the church and how the gospel spreads today. We use music in the church to praise God and how we can glorify Him, according to an article by RCA Commission on Worship for Faithward. Worshiping through music is how we express our love for God and sometimes can become a sermon of its own.

The music ministry has grown more popular since traditional Christian music has had a change of sound. Worship music has found its way outside church walls and into other unexpected settings. New Christian artists have taken their music all over the globe, performing and speaking God’s word to people through song.

Today’s Christian music has drastically evolved since the traditional hymns used in churches. The newest evolution, contemporary Christian music, has stirred controversy because of its new style and rhythm.

Contemporary Christian music started at the same time as the Jesus Movement, led by Lonnie Frisbee and Chuck Smith, according to an article by Los Angeles Times titled: “Jesus, drugs and Rock 'n' roll: How O.C. hippie church birthed contemporary Christian music.” The Jesus Movement formed CCM by incorporating those who were outcasts from traditional church settings from different ways of life.

Bands such as Lovesong started a new form of rhythm using instruments like guitars and drums during worship. At this time, Lovesong was gaining traction along with Larry Norman, who is considered “the father of Jesus rock,” according to City News

At first, Christian rock was rejected by people like Chuck Smith and was nicknamed ‘dirty hippies,’ according to Los Angeles Times. However, once Lovesong played at a youth night at Smith’s Calvary Chapel, their message began to spread as much as the church.

The Jesus music movement spread to other areas, as well as in a football stadium, where over 80,000 college and high school students in Dallas, Texas held Explo 72, a Campus Crusade for Christ conference.

Many people gathered together with the passion to share the gospel. At this moment in time, it was a “pivotal moment” for Christian music and was referred to as the "Christian Woodstock."

This significant event set the stage for the contemporary Christian music we know today. The music we worship with now is a lot different than Norman’s. However, just like Norman’s music, this new contemporary Christian music is getting its own kind of backlash.

Analysis

Today’s Christian music is labeled as “worldly” and appealing “more to the flesh,” according to an article by Evelyn Fonseca for The Scribes Portion. Fonseca notices the bad theology of some of the new-age Christian songs.

The lyrics are emotionally heavy, but some songs do not mention God or Jesus in the lyrics at all. As we praise Jesus in our worship, it is important to have discernment when it comes to the lyrics we are singing.

We must ask ourselves, “Are these songs biblically accurate?” There is still truth in the new music if we listen to the lyrics.

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As we search through numerous Christian artists, we find that there are still artists out there that keep the music ministry alive.

Lauren Daigle, a popular Christian artist, has many songs that speak the true gospel. Her approach to the gospel is more on a personal level.

In Daigle's songs, God is referred to as “You” or “Mighty King” as if she is speaking directly to Him. This approach is seen in a lot of CCM artists and is becoming more popular.

For instance, a popular song by Daigle called You Say only mentions “God” once while referring to Him as “You” the rest of the time. However, the lyrics are powerful and hold truth to what God says about us and how much He loves us.

In the powerful chorus Daigle sings, “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing. You say I am strong when I think I am weak. You say I am held when I am falling short. When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours.”

There are other songs of Daigle’s that talk to God on a personal level such asFirst, I Am Yours or Trust in You.” Christians can sing these songs for worship as well as a love letter to God.

Another CCM band that takes the same approach as Daigle is For King and Country. Their song, The Proof of Your Love does not mention God by name, but they refer to Him as “You,” which is more personal and relatable to a newer audience. The song centers around God’s love for us and how we are to show His love to others in our lives.

For King and Country sings in the chorus, “So let my life be the proof, the proof of your love. Let my love look like you, and what you’re made of. How you lived, how you died. Love is sacrifice. So let my life be the proof. The proof of your love.”

"Shoulders," another song by For King and Country, also uses “You” in place of God or Jesus. The song uses “You” as a way to speak to God personally about their troubles and know that God is their only help.

The chorus says, “My help comes from You. You are my rest, my rescue. I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders. Your shoulders.”

For King and Country also do this in many of their other songs such as "Control," which is another song about letting go of our control over situations only God can handle.

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The new music industry has drawn us to God through song. Instead of mentioning God a few times and quoting the Bible, new artists such as Daigle or For King and Country, sit down and sing to God as if it is a letter or a personal prayer.

Through these songs, artists still honor God, but with a new sound to express how they honor Him. Christian artists continue to spread the gospel through their lyrical prayers, impacting a whole new generation of believers.