Monday, March 13, 2006

Rant on the CCM Industry

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a seminar about how Christians can interact and relate with the culture of today. Being a musician myself, I was really curious to what the professors and guests were going to say.

Well, for the most part, it was a really good seminar, but I had one big problem that has been on my mind ever since. We had this one session about Christian music and the Christian music business. Now, I've never been the biggest fan of the whole CCM industry. Basically, the speaker tried to make the point that no Christian music can be used for outreach because the music is sacrificed for the content.

Now I agree that a lot of what ends up on stations like the XM32 that I have set on my radio is not very good musically. Also, it is very true that some of the CCM that hits the radio only gets to be played because either 1) the content is happy and good-feeling and 2) the secular company behind the Christian label is promoting the music.

Now, my problem hits when someone tells me that the music has no place because people who don't believe in Christ will not understand it or like it.

Last month, I took my youth group to a Casting Crowns concert. As far as I know, Casting Crowns have not had a single hit that has crossed over into the mainstream music world. They are promoted by a record label and promoted to play on Christian radio stations. So already, we're two points down according to the opinion expressed earlier.

So explain to me why when they sang their songs, the whole crowd was into it. Then, when the gospel was being presented, over 500 out of a crowd of 6500 came forward and accepted Christ. If I've done my math right that means that almost 8% of the crowd did not believe before hearing the music. So something in the music and the words spoken went straight to the heart of those people.

Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 that "If an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming 'God is really among you!"

Now, I am definitely not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination, so I don't want to dive into prophesy. At least, not yet. But I think that this needs to be the goal of Christian music. To create a worship experience that brings the secrets of people's heart to the front.

So I think that CCM type music serves two purposes.

1) CCM that is open, deep and honest can relate to people going through hard times. It can be an outreach tool for those of us who know people that could use that song. Worship needs to be deep and direct to the throne of God. Troubles don't magically disappear when we become Christians, and I think that we need to let people know that. We struggle too, but we know and praise God for the peace that He gives us to get through them. See, Derek Webb, Caedmon's Call, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, etc.

2) Sort of on the same vein, we who are already Christians need an outlet to focus our hearts on Jesus during the normal day. Christian music does have a great effect in that regard. When I turn on channel 32 or KSWP, I know that I am going to be uplifted and the music (for the most part) will be focused on God.

There are a bunch of groups and singers out there that are doing just that. However, many of them are being stifled by the system. Maybe it's no wonder why the best Christian music out there right now is coming from the rockers like Thousand Foot Krutch, Pillar, Kutless, and Skillet. Is it just me, or is there more freedom in the Christian rock genre because of less radio promotion?

Anyway, this is what happens when I get thinking...


Phyllis Renée said...

Rant on . . . I like the way you think!

Daron said...

Thanks! I appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

Hello, this is Tony Nolan, I am the Tour Pastor for casting crowns. I am also the speaker who presents the Gospel each night at the Concerts. Just wanted to say I love your RANT. Keep thinking.