My stepdad just sent me this article and it sent me into a rabbit hole of thoughts. Enjoy?
Thanks to my dad, I grew up on the Golden Age of CCM. He gave me a great foundation with dc Talk, Audio Adrenaline, Petra, Jars of Clay, Carmen, and many others. Once I was exposed to good music, I couldn’t go back.
It taught me to take my faith + its music seriously.
By age 12, I was wrestling through the theological implications of the line “that’s what faith can do” (as opposed to “what God can do” in an otherwise good song by MIKESCHAIR. (Remember this, Carissa?)
Over a decade after I first went to one of their concerts, I still come back to Tenth Avenue North’s discography when I’m wrestling with sin (esp sexual!!) and its consequences. Britt Nicole’s songs still resonate deeply with me as both nostalgic fluff and deep laments.
Matthew West’s Brand New album has some songs that reduced me to tears and gave me new, lasting hope, which I was honestly not expecting.
CCM trained me in my faith. It gave me words to pray, ways to phrase my joys + my sorrows. It taught me how God’s people talk + how they Should talk + act.
Brandon Heath’s Give Me Your Eyes still pushes me outside my comfort zone at Covenant as I’m training to love people practically.
“If you want to know the theology of the laypeople, show me their songs.”
I heard that quote in a class I took this past semester with Dr. Scott Finch called Shepherding Souls Through Music. It would be an understatement to say that the class as a whole changed my life.
The most interesting thing about it was that it wasn’t discouraging. It was genuinely encouraging.
Even though now I’m saddened all the more by how many churches fail to preach the Whole gospel in the music sections of their worship services, seeing Dr. Finch’s life proving that it Can be done drove me to set that as my goal.
I’ve had the privilege to open many different kinds of services + gatherings with music in even just the past 5 years. At Camp Gilead FL, I went from just being on the worship team to running the entire worship music program for the summer.
When I’m home on breaks, my parents have given me the opportunity to lead at Beth Yeshua Messianic Synagogue for our Shabbat Services.
I even got to open the service at Grace Bible one week!
At Covenant, I’ve led Christmas songs and Prayer + Praise hall events and Hymnsings.
Every event requires a different songlist to address background, language, and theology preferences?
Since taking that class, my song choices that become even more intentional. Now it’s not just avoiding fluff or bad/dumb theology, but it’s “hey, have we represented all 3 members of the Trinity here? Am I telling the Full story of God’s redemption? If someone heard only these songs and not the message, would they get a full picture of who God is + who they are?”
With ALL of this in mind, it is really frustrating to see people with seemingly good hearts produce “based on the Bible” songs that could be praising anyone called “God” based on the entire lack of content or context in the song to identify who we’re worshipping or why.
God revealed Himself through His actions. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who brought His people out of the land of Egypt, rescued them time + time again even when the prostituted themselves out to others, and sent His only son to die to redeem us once for all.
It’s not sufficient to sing “You are good” (even tho He is) when the people singing it aren’t aware of why we KNOW He’s good. It isn’t sufficient to sing “I need you” unless we’re confronted with our wretchedness + perversion outside of Him.
What do your songs say about your theology?
An incomplete list of Christians who are creating meaty songs:
– Ghost Ship
– The Eagle and the Child
– Beautiful Eulogy
– The Porter’s Gate
– Urban Doxology
– Kings Kaleidoscope
– Jon Guerra (who was also a student of Dr. Finch!)
(If you want more, I have a BUNCH of very specific playlists! Comment if you want more links?)