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The Impact of Christian Music

Updated on September 18, 2009

Contemporary Christian worship band MercyMe has been singing for the Lord for over 13 years. Their album "Almost There" brought on the hit "I Can Only Imagine," which, despite mentioning "Jesus" throughout its lyrics, infiltrated mainstream radio stations. It was a significant achievement because up until then, most Christian artists who found mainstream success did so with lyrics that weren't purely Christian. The group was nominated for a Grammy for their album "Coming Up to Breathe" in the Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album category, and they are up for two Dove Awards for "Group of the Year" and "Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year".

This song by MercyMe is the very song that ushered my late husband into God's bosom, after succumbing to his battle with liver cancer. It is a beautiful song describing the glory and the joy that awaits every believer when they die. I remember that day when we were met by the doctors who were taking care of him, and we were told that there was nothing more that they could do for him. As soon as they left, weak, yet brave, my husband asked that the song he had come to love so much, be played. I remember feeling numbed, but watching my husband with eyes closed, and with a smile on his face, listen to the comforting lyrics, as if he had already entered the promised City. There are many many more untold stories like this, of lives touched, healed and moved by the power of Gospel music.

Sandy Patty-How Great Thou Art

Sandy Patty is one of the first Christian artist whose music brought great encouragment to my young faith. It was a blessing to be able to watch her live twice and enjoy those nights of worship and praise. Her rendition of beloved hymns such as "How Great Thou Art" were so uplifting and precious. And there were others like Amy Grant, Cece Winan, and Jacqui Velasquez.

Gospel music is and will always be a profound and integral part of the Christian journey. In 1980, I embraced the Christian faith, after struggling with many painful personal issues. It was a long search of finding inner peace, meaning and purpose to what i thought was a hopeless and miserable existence. I tried everything to fill a 'void' in my heart, no human relationship, no fortune, nor fame could provide. When i made a full surrender to follow Jesus Christ, i never looked back. Till this day, there is no iota of regret, ever on that decision. My life has been changed radically and miraculously.

But, what is Christian music? Put simply, they are songs that expresses either personal or a communal belief regarding believers love and faith in God. The themes include praise, worship, penitence, and lament. They come in various forms which vary widely across the world. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Christian music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes.

To quote Matthew Turner, editor of Contemporary Christian Music magazine, he says "I think the biggest thing that has been detrimental to Christian music is calling it 'Christian music'". "I think it's music. It's great music from people of faith that just so happen to follow Jesus Christ."

Christian music used to be subdued in churches or synagogues, but in the last two decades, this has all changed. A drumbeat has risen. Artists like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith climbed the charts of top contemporary Christian music, and then sang top-40 hits that made it radio and MTV. It's not just a passing trend. In Nashville, long thought of as just the home of country music, contemporary Christian music has taken up residence, too. Artists live and record there. Their work helped the industry sell nearly 50 million albums last year — making contemporary Christian music more popular than jazz. Christian/Gospel recorded music sales are almost half a billion annually! Over 56 million unitsof Christian/Gospel CDs, cassettes, digital albums, and digital tracks were sold in 2008. Christian/Gospel digital album sales were up over 38% in 2008, while digital tracks were up over 37%.

Shout to the Lord-American Idol

Who is listening?

They sang one of the most popular Christian songs "Shout to the Lord" for a finale number in American Idol. Christian Research indicates that by the middle of last year, 2.14 billion people made up the world’s Christian population – a 140-million-person increase from five years earlier. Christians, therefore, now make up one-third of the world’s population of 6.45 billion people. This increase is attributed to the “huge continuing growth” in Asia and Africa, 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. However, the rate of Christian population is decreasing in Europe. Out of all Christian groups, charismatic independent churches are growing the fastest, at 2.4 percent per year. Dr. Brierley, Executive Director of Christian Research, noted that charismatic black churches in the United Kingdom have also seen rapid growth.

Christian music has a large genre that encompasses many artists and sounds--from traditional black gospel to religious rock, spiritual pop, and R&B. Many may be relegated to Christian radio and bookstores, but, a number of them have successfully made the crossover to the secular music mainstream. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the Christian/gospel category was one of only four genres that saw its overall album sales grow last year, proving that many artists of faith not only have an impact on other Christians, but also on music lovers everywhere.

Yolanda Adams-Amazing Grace

Top Christian Artists

Yolanda Adams: She is described as the "First Lady of Modern Gospel," She blends gospel music with an R&B feel. She's received awards, including several of the Gospel Music Association's, Dove Awards, an American Music Award, a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award, and a number of Grammys, including Best Gospel Song for two years for "Be Blessed" and "Victory."

Jars of Clay-Love Song for a Saviour

Jars of Clay: Many Christian bands who have successfully crossed over into mainstream radio have much to thank Jars of Clay for. In 1995, when the group released its self-titled debut album, one of the songs, "Flood," became a nationwide radio hit. Since then, the album has gone multi-platinum, and the band has gone on to win three Grammys.

Amy Grant & Michael W Smith

Amy Grant: The legendary Christian pop singer has conquered all facets of media--music, books, movies, and TV. Amy Grant's iconic status began in 1991 when she recorded hugely successful crossover songs on her album "Heart in Motion," especially "Good for Me," Every Heartbeat," and "Baby Baby," which became a number-one pop hit. Since then she's become the best-selling Christian Contemporary artist, having sold over 25 million records. In 2006 she hosted the short-lived NBC reality show "Three Wishes." That same year, her "Rock Of Ages...Hymns & Faith" won a Grammy--her fifth. Also in 2006, she became the first Christian music artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Michael W. Smith: Christian contemporary music legend Michael W. Smith didn't start his career in front of a microphone. Instead, he used to pen hits for big-name gospel stars like Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, and Amy Grant. Since then, he's become a Grammy Award-winning star in his own right, and made the transition to the big screen with 2006's "The Second Chance," He is active in Billy Graham Crusades and The Samaritan's Purse, a ministry headed by Franklin Graham. In 2006 he released the pop/worship album "Stand."

Cece Winans & Whitney Houston

CeCe Winans: Cece comes from music royalty. All 10 of the Winans children and their parents have achieved success in the world of gospel music. She has a number of Dove Awards and Grammys under her belt, including Best Gospel Performance and Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2006 for "Pray," off her chart-topping album "Purified."

Note: Whitney Houston, a professing Christian, who has battled with drugs, now recovered, has just relaunched her career,with the released of two songs with very strong Christian theme.

There are plenty more artists, like Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood who continue be inspired to churn gospel songs. The rendition of the Celtic Woman "You Raise Me Up" is one of the most stirring versions i have ever heard. Il Divo's "Amazing Grace" is also quite compelling. I am one of those who bought Josh Groban's top seller album entitled "Noel", and it is one of the best Christmas albums yet.

Here is the list of the top 10 BEST-SELLING ALBUMSin2008:

1. Noel— Josh Groban

2. I Can Only Imagine— Various

3. Thirsty— Marvin Sapp

4. Joy to the World— Faith Hill

5. Flyleaf— Flyleaf

6. The Altar and The Door— Casting Crowns

7. Peace On Earth— Casting Crowns

8. Revelation— Third Day

9. Fight of My Life— Kirk Franklin

10. WOW Hits 2009— Various

The Prayer

Celtic Woman-You Raise Me Up

Paul Baloche

It is biblical

The Scriptures is replete with commands for the people to sing to God. There are advantages to singing. It is one of the evidences of the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-21). It can lift our spirits above even the most adverse circumstances and help us to keep focused on our true identity, hope, and mission (Acts 16:25). Singing is a way of bearing witness to our deepest convictions, and of reminding those around us – believers and unbelievers alike – of the larger realities in which we live and move and have our being. And it can also be away of enticing others to inquire about the hope that we have as followers of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:15; Acts 16:30).


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    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      I just discovered this Hub and it is absolutely amazing! You covered the Christian music genre very well! The music here is amazing as well - love that they sang Shout to the Lord on American Idol!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      You are welcome Ambassadornchains!

    • ambassadornchains profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great hub!! =)) Thank you for sharing!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you Trusouldj. Gld bless!

    • trusouldj profile image

      LaZeric Freeman 

      7 years ago from Hammond

      good job. keep up the good work.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      7 years ago from Hawaii

      God bless you 'a new believer'! God is trustworthy, and His plan for you is good, Thank you for sharing your struggle and victory.

    • profile image

      A new believer 

      7 years ago

      Went through a depression for three years and am happy to say that I have conquered that evil become a better man. I am determined to tell everyone I can about God. I heard his voice often then and praise him for his mercy on me. Ty God!!!!!! :)

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      God bless you too Lamme!

    • Lamme profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you so much for this! Wonderful hub, God Bless.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      God bless you JisBlessed. I pray your songwriting will find success by reaching the hearts of millions in this planet. May God be honored!

    • Jisblessed profile image


      8 years ago

      After posting a hub about how God gave me a miracle of lyrics and songwriting, related hubs was to my right and I click on this one. I enjoyed it very much. Sorry for your loss and may God continue to bless and strengthen you through His Word and love from His people.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you Jojo. Worship music can really bring us closer to God. God bless you and thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      the moment i entered a church, when i listened to praise and worship, my life had make me cry, just singing n listening is already communing with god, continue doing it......God Bless

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      You are most welcome Singingmommy!

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      8 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      I love Christian music, thanks for posting

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      MBragg, this type of Christian music may not appeal to every believer, and i can't say i know enough about the lifestyles of these artists to judge them. I've been a Christian for 25 years, and find my worship deepened by a lot of these contemporary Christian music.

    • mbragg profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image

      Yes 4 Life 

      8 years ago

      Finally the new Flyleaf album "Memento Mori" is being released on 11-10-09. I am so excited and I know that it will impress us. Check out more about the album at:

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks GLC!I can tell you know and love God's music, like i do.

    • Godslittlechild profile image


      8 years ago

      Listening to "Sin Died Here" right now on my favorite Christian radio station. I love it. I really like the song that played before this one as well..."She Loves The Broken Ones". Thanks for a really good hub!

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you Waren! It is truly soothing.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 

      9 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      This is a wonderful hub on Christian Music,this kind of music really puts the mind at ease,thanks for sharing!: )

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      James i'm sorry if i got you mixed up. I was referring to my deceased husband. I've remarried since. I'll check out Paul Baloche, and see if i can post his video. Thanks again for the visit.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      I didn't know your husband passed away. I am sorry.

      I love Christian Music. One of my favorites is Paul Baloche. Though he is better known as a writer, his own albums are great. Thank you for a wonderful Hub.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank God for Grandmas who influenced us spiritually through their love for hymns Reconciled Heart. Appreciate your visit and comment.

    • profile image

      reconciled heart 

      9 years ago

      Oh, I love this hub! I have special memories from the hymn "How Great Thou Art"--it was my grandmother's favorite. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the power of this music. God bless.

    • IslandVoice profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Creativeone! I love Gospel music, as you can tell. God bless you too.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thanks for sharing a great gospel music hub with us.God bless to have a blessed day. creativeone59


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