Why do we write Christian music?
What are your motives?
Through my own experience I have found that it is difficult to truly know ones own motives when writing christian music of any kind. It's very easy to tell yourself that you are completely committed to God's glory, when there is an alternative motive driving you too. Maybe you want to gain fame? Some may argue that it could just be considered a bonus that would come with giving God glory, or that it would simply be His will if one were were lucky enough to find success in music. But it could also be that the person wants an excuse to profit from their faith.
However, it doesn't mean that everyone is guilty of this. There are so many things to consider, so many possible reasons. We could never truly know what goes on in someone else's head, or our own for that matter. Only God knows. So I guess the real question is: When writing music that is meant to glorify God, do we always know exactly what our motives are, and are they in line with what God truly wants from us?
Categorizing different types of christian music
There are a lot of mixed views when it comes to the style or sub-genre accompanying christian music. I think it's important to look at what modern christian music is defined as, to gain a better understanding of what we expect from it, in a sense. I think that if one were to simplify it, I would guess that there are at least these 2 definite boundaries which separate different types of christian music.
1: Music which directly proclaims God with it's lyrics
This would be music which speaks about God without a doubt, without limitations or shame. This could be any style of music from acoustic bands, choral groups and rock bands, to solo piano artists or just about anything. The kind of bands and musicians I believe to represent this category well are ones such as Casting Crowns, Mercy Me, Tenth Avenue North and many, many others. A sub-concern is also the idea of writing from one's personal experience. Some believe that writing about personal experiences could be misleading, or present a false representation of God's word. Others believe that a personal testimony is the most powerful tool when witnessing to others.
2: Music which could be perceived as being God-centered.
There are a lot of bands which are known as contemporary christian bands. A lot of these bands almost seem to 'mask' their message of God, by speaking about themes related to Christianity, but not necessarily directly speaking His name. Is this wrong? Maybe their purpose is to attract a higher target audience, and still serve a message which may or may not help reveal God to them in some way or another. For example, bands such as Skillet, Lifehouse, RED and Disciples.
There are also a lot of bands which seem to be on a completely different mission - the very heavy ones who have claimed to be christian, although not categorized under Contemporary Christian Music. These bands might not be sending the right message to the world, unless there really is a lyric behind the overwhelming vocals which glorify God. I guess that we can't judge how they choose to worship, as long as worship is actually the focus of their music.
So what are we doing?
When we tell others and ourselves that we are writing music to glorify God, maybe we need to search our hearts and make sure that there is nothing else driving us, because that could be an easy way to lose the plot, and lose the focus of why we do what we do.
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Duran Gradwell Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos by Duran Gradwell at ReverbNation