Reshaping the Church

The Grammys recognize Christian music

Posted April 17, 2024

by Jenna Mindel

The Grammys Recognize Christian Music

The Grammys is a prestigious music award ceremony that highlights the best of the music industry in the past year. Each year, artists and musicians submit their work to the Recording Academy, hoping to be acknowledged for their musical contributions.

Christian artists having a space in this secular music award ceremony helps broadcast Christian music to secular audiences while also boosting artists’ careers.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason said that a Grammy win can do wonders for winners’ careers and give them more attention from audiences they may have not otherwise reached, according to Billboard.

“The attention and excitement around a Grammy win always translates to people more curious, especially if it’s a newer artist. It impacts your ability to attract attention, thereby getting you better deals, better contracts,” Mason said. “Hopefully, more people are excited to see you and want to listen to what you’ve done.”

Crowd with arms raised at a concert. Photo by Vishnu R Nair for Pexels

The Grammys added Contemporary Christian Music in 1991, according to Awards and Shows. Christian artists could submit their albums for a chance to win an award in the Best Contemporary Christian Album category. Before 1991, there was not a category dedicated solely to Christian music that Christian artists could submit their music to.

In 2012, the Academy created three distinct categories to honor different genres of Christian music, including ​​Best Pop Gospel Album, Best Rock Gospel Album and Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album, according to Billboard. Since then, there have been additions to the categories including, Best Roots Gospel Album and Best Gospel Performance/Song.

These categorical additions highlight different genres of music which recognize Christian artists and create more opportunities for secular listeners who may otherwise not engage with Christian music to hear the gospel message through song.

Spinning vinyl record. Photo by Elviss Railijs Bitāns for Pexels

For example, Lecrae, a well-known Christian artist took home two Grammy’s in Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Church Clothes 4 and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song name Your Power earlier this month.

Lecrae raps about Jesus and Christianity, racism, problems in the church, police brutality and racism on his new album “Church Clothes 4,” according to NPR.

He released his latest studio album Nov. 4, 2022. It is the fourth and last installment in his mixtape series, “Church Clothes,” which began in 2012 and includes features from Andy Mineo, PJ Morton, A.I. the Anomaly, Jon Keith, nobigdyl., WHATUPRG and Jordan L’Oreal.

Lecrae’s third solo album, “Rebel,” became the first Christian hip-hop album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel chart in 2008 and his seventh album, “Anomol,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2014, according to

A Christian artist with this much popularity has the potential to capture the attention of those who may otherwise not engage with Christian messages.

This sort of outreach is especially crucial, seeing how Gen Z spends more time listening to music than the overall population, according to a study from Edison Research. Specifically, ages 13-24 in the U.S. spend three hours and 43 minutes a day on average listening to music.

The kind of music Gen Z listens to the most varies, but the top category is hip-hop/R&B, according to Edison Research. Nearly a quarter of all streams on Spotify globally are hip-hop music, according to Spotify.

Music can have a significant impact on how people see the world, and engaging with music shapes individuals’ personal and cultural identities and also impacts mood regulation, according to Advanced Brain. Christians producing music that weaves in the Gospel message can help people understand tenets of the faith in a more creative way than they are used to receiving from the pulpit.

A Christian artist in this category procuring a Grammy is significant because people who may have never come across Christian-contemporary music can hear the gospel message through a hip-hop song.

Sheet of music. Photo by Pixabay for Pexels

On Feb. 24, 2023, Lecrae released “Church Clothes 4: Dry Clean Only,” a deluxe version of his Grammy award-winning album that includes six additional tracks.

Lecrae took to Instagram to share his response to his awards:

“I haven’t fully processed it all yet. I’m grateful, but it’s really something beyond my understanding. I just wanted to be the father I never had and give my kids experiences. God is beyond kind. Once I have more words I’ll share, but for now... Thank you, God, for being gracious. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to be a part of your kingdom and using broken instruments to play healing music.”

Lecrae collaborated with fellow award-winning singer, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, in their single “Your Power” which they released on May 5. The single displays both of their talent with a dynamic, gospel-infused sound.

Other winners for this year's Grammys for Christian categories include:

Best Gospel Performance/Song: “All Things” — Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter

Best Roots Gospel Album: “Echoes of the South” — Blind Boys of Alabama

Best ​​Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Church Clothes 4” — Lecrae

Best Gospel Album: “All Things New: Live in Orlando” — Tye Tribbett
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “Your Power” — Lecrae & Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Despite the Grammys being a mainstream and secular award, Christian Grammy holders have the opportunity to share their music with secular audiences and help grow the kingdom of God.

Jenna Mindel is a senior journalism student at Biola University who is passionate about storytelling. Originally from Washington State, but now a California resident, she hates the rain but loves coffee, books, long walks (preferably on the beach), podcasts and any chance she gets to share a meal with her friends. Jenna hopes to shed light on meaningful work the Church is doing around the world as a journalist.