Contemporary Christian music

Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music
Stylistic origins Jesus music, Christian music, pop music, rock music
Cultural origins Late 1960s, US
Typical instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, synthesizer
Mainstream popularity 1970s to present
Derivative forms Contemporary worship music
Christian rockChristian hip hop
Fusion genres
Progressive Southern gospel
Other topics
Gospel musicUrban contemporary gospel
Rebecca St James
Michael W Smith

Contemporary Christian music (or CCM—and occasionally "inspirational music") is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. Today, the term is typically used to refer to the Nashville, Tennessee-based pop, rock, and worship Christian music industry, represented by artists such as Avalon, BarlowGirl, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, David Crowder Band, Amy Grant, Natalie Grant, Jars of Clay, MercyMe, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Third Day, TobyMac, and a host of others.

The industry is represented in Billboard Magazine's "Top Christian Albums" and "Hot Christian Songs" charts,[1] and by Radio & Records magazine's Christian AC (Adult Contemporary), Christian CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio), Christian Rock, and Inspirational (INSPO) airplay charts,[2] as well as the iTunes Store's "Christian & Gospel" genre.[3]

However, not all modern music which lyrically identifies with Christianity is part of the Nashville Contemporary Christian Music industry.[4] Alternative genres such as punk, hardcore, and holy hip-hop groups deal explicitly with issues of faith but are normally not considered CCM. Also, several mainstream artists such as The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Presley, Kanye West, Creed, The Fray, Evanescence, Lifehouse, U2, and rapper DMX have dealt with Christian themes in their work but are not part of the CCM industry.[4]



The genre that would eventually be known as Contemporary Christian music, officially[citation needed] came from the Jesus movement revival of the latter 1960s and early 1970s, and was originally called "Jesus music". "About that time, many young people from the sixties' counterculture professed to believe in Jesus. Convinced of the bareness of a lifestyle based on drugs, free sex, and radical politics, 'hippies' became 'Jesus people'".[5] Of course there were people who felt like Jesus was another "trip".[6] It can be assumed that many people took it seriously and revivals sprang forth.[original research?] When such awakenings happened new music became popular. "The 'Jesus Movement' of the 1970s was when things really started changing and Christian music began to become an industry within itself."[7] "Jesus Music" started by playing instruments and singing songs about love and peace, which then translated into love of God. Paul Wohlegemuth, who wrote the book Rethinking the Church said, "[the] 1970s will see a marked acceptance of rock-influenced music in all levels of church music. The rock style will become more familiar to all people, its rhythmic excesses will become refined, and its earlier secular associations will be less remembered."[8]

Though there were Christian albums in the 1960s that contained contemporary-sounding songs, there were two albums recorded in 1969 that are considered[by whom?] to be the first complete albums of "Jesus rock": Upon This Rock (1969) by Larry Norman initially released on Capitol Records, and Mylon - We Believe by Mylon LeFevre, released by Cotillion, which was LeFevre's attempt at blending gospel music with Southern Rock.[9] Unlike traditional or southern gospel music, this new Jesus music was birthed out of rock and folk music.[10]

Pioneers of this movement also included 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, Evie, Nancy Honeytree, The Imperials, Love Song, Barry McGuire, and Petra. The small Jesus music culture had expanded into a multi-million-dollar industry by the 1980s. Many CCM artists such as Amy Grant, DC Talk, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, and Jars of Clay found crossover success with Top 40 mainstream radio play. As of 2005, sales of Christian music exceeded those for classical, jazz, Latin, New Age, and soundtrack music.[11]


Contemporary Christian music has been a topic of controversy in various ways since its beginnings in the 1960s.[4] The Christian college Bob Jones University prohibits its dormitory students from listening to CCM.[12] Others simply find the concept of Christian pop/rock music to be an unusual phenomenon, since rock music has historically been associated with themes such as sexual promiscuity, rebellion, drug and alcohol use, and other topics normally considered antithetical to the teachings of Christianity.[4] This controversy caused by evangelical pop music was explored by Gerald Clarke in his Time magazine article "New Lyrics for the Devil's Music".[13] On the other hand, some writers from the Reformed Presbyterian tradition, such as Brian Schwertley, assert that CCM violates the second commandment and the Regulative Principle of Worship because it adds man-made inventions, lyrics and instrumental music to the biblically appointed way of worshipping God.[14] An example of exclusive psalmody is the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), in which there is only the a capella singing of the psalms.

In her article, Kim Jones explores this change in the face of Christian music saying, "Up until the late 1960s, Christian music invoked images of church, hymnals and organs. The face of Christian music has spent the last 30+ years evolving and growing. Pipe organs have been set aside for electric guitars and drums…People who enjoy Contemporary Christian Music, want to feel like God is here and now, not some dusty relic from the dark ages that can't possibly understand the issues of today."[7]

Contemporary Christian musicians and listeners have sought to extend it into settings where religious music traditionally might not be heard. "Christian music has extended from the church to [mainstream] radio, television, concert halls and huge rallies and festivals."[7] MercyMe's song "I Can Only Imagine" was a crossover success despite having a clear Christian message.[15]

Paul Baker, author of Contemporary Christian Music, addressed the question, "Is the music a ministry, or is it entertainment? Opinions were as varied as the people expressing them. One fact must be brought out, however. The motives, on both sides, were nearly always sincere and well intentioned, rarely malicious."[16]

"The responsibility of the church is not to provide escape from reality," according to Ellsworth, the author of Christian Music in Contemporary Witness, "but to give answers to contemporary problems through legitimate, biblical means. The lighter, softer rock styles still allow for the communication of the text."[17] Thus, when lyrics are biblically-based, CCM can relate to issues faced in modern society—with modern music.

Many church growth studies have come to show that churches have grown in size after changing the type of style. James Emery White, the leadership consultant for preaching and worship within the Southern Baptist Convention made a statement that emulates that many churches who changed styles to using more contemporary Christian music, appeared to have a quicker growth.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Best Selling Christian Singles and Albums". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  2. ^ R&R - Radio & Records, Inc
  3. ^ In the US iTunes store, the section is entitled Christian & Gospel. In the UK iTunes store, it's Gospel. Canada's and Australia's iTunes section is entitled Inspirational.
  4. ^ a b c d Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 10–13. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  5. ^ Frame, John M. Contemporary Worship Music. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997.
  6. ^ John M. Contemporary Worship Music. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997.
  7. ^ a b c Jones, Kim. "The Changing Face of Christian Music". Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ Baker, Paul. Page 140. Contemporary Christian Music: Where it came from What it is Where It's Going. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1985. Print.
  9. ^ Oord, Bill. "Mylon LeFevre Biography". Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Di Sabatino, David (1999). The Jesus People Movement: an annotated bibliography and general resource. Lake Forest, CA: Jester Media. p. 136. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "BJU ~ Residence Hall Life". Bob Jones University. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  13. ^ Clarke, Gerald (2001-06-24). "New Lyrics for the Devil's Music". Time.,9171,141289,00.html. 
  14. ^ Schwertley, Brian. "Musical Instruments in the Public Worship of God". 
  15. ^ Adams, Ramsay (July 6, 2003). "Christian Rock Crosses Over". Fox News.,2933,91175,00.html. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  16. ^ Baker, Paul. Page 133. Contemporary Christian Music: Where it came from What it is Where It's Going. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1985. Print.
  17. ^ Ellsworth, Donald. Christian Music in Contemporary Witness: Historical Antecedents and Contemporary Practices. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979. Print.
  18. ^ Miller, Steve. Page 3. The Contemporary Christian Music Debate. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale Publishers, 1993. Print.

Further reading

  • Alfonso, Barry. The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music. Billboard Books, 2002.
  • Beaujon, Andrew (2006). Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81457-9. 
  • Di Sabatino, David (1999). The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource. Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies, Number 49. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313302685. 
  • Du Noyer, Paul (2003). "Contemporary Christian Music". The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music. New York City: Billboard Books. pp. 422–423. ISBN 0-8230-7869-8. 
  • Granger, Thom (2001). CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Nashville: CCM Books. 
  • Hendershot, Heather (2004). "Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music? Christian Music and the Secular Marketplace". Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-32679-9. 
  • Howard, Jay R; Streck, John M. (1999). Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music. Lexington, Kentucky: The University of Kentucky Press. ISBN 081319086X. 
  • Joseph, Mark (1999). The Rock and Roll Rebellion: Why People of Faith Abandoned Rock Music-- And Why They're Coming Back. Nashville: Broadman & Holman. 
  • Joseph, Mark (2003). Faith, God & Rock 'n' Roll. London: Sanctuary. 
  • Kyle, Richard (2006). "If You Can't Beat 'em Join 'em". Evangelicalism : an Americanized Christianity. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. pp. 281–286. ISBN 0-7658-0324-0. 
  • Lucarini, Dan. Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement. Evangelical Press. 
  • Miller, Steve (1993). The Contemporary Christian Music Debate. Tyndale House. 
  • Mount, Daniel J. (2005). A City on a Hilltop? The History of Contemporary Christian Music. Lulu. 
  • Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  • Pruitt, Jim (2003). Contemporary Christian Musician's Survival Manual. Lulu. ISBN 1-4116-0117-3. 
  • Romanowski, William D. Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture. Brazos Press, 2001.
  • Young, Shawn David, Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music (Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works, 2005. ISBN 1-59399-201-7.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Contemporary Christian Music —   [englisch/amerikanisch, kən tempərərɪ krɪstʃən mjuːzɪk], Bezeichnung für eine zeitgenössische Variante christlicher Musik, die Texte aus dem Evangelium oder dessen Botschaft mit popmusikalischen Soundformen verbindet, damit zwar an den Godrock… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Contemporary Christian Music — Die Artikel Christlicher Rock und Christliche Popmusik überschneiden sich thematisch. Hilf mit, die Artikel besser voneinander abzugrenzen oder zu vereinigen. Beteilige dich dazu an der Diskussion über diese Überschneidungen. Bitte entferne… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Contemporary Christian Music —    Umbrella term for American Christian songs composed and performed in various rock styles from the 1970s onward. Larry Norman’s (1947– ) recording {}Upon This Rock (Impact, 1969) is considered to be the earliest exemplar. The genre is… …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • Korean Contemporary Christian music — (or Korean CCM) refers to Contemporary Christian music written or played in South Korea. Due to the dramatic growth of Christianity in Korea, CCM has been gaining popularity among Korean Christians. HistoryAfter the Korean War, missionaries from… …   Wikipedia

  • Contemporary Catholic music — is a subset of Contemporary Christian music. Since Vatican Council II Catholic music has become more open to popular influences and influences from other Christian denominations. In the 1970s Mary Lou Williams began doing Catholic themed jazz,… …   Wikipedia

  • Contemporary worship music — Worship music redirects here. For Anthrax s album, see Worship Music (Anthrax album). A modern worship band playing a contemporary praise song. Contemporary worship music (CWM) is a loosely defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary… …   Wikipedia

  • Contemporary Christian worship — may refer to: Contemporary worship music, a genre of contemporary Christian music Contemporary worship, a form of Christian worship making use of the above Present day practices in Christian worship generally This disambiguation page lists… …   Wikipedia

  • Contemporary classical music — Contemporary music redirects here. For other forms of contemporary music, see Popular music. Periods of Western art music Early Medieval   (500–1400) Renaissance (1400–1600) Baroque (1600–1760) Common practice …   Wikipedia

  • Christian music industry — The Christian music industry is a small part of the larger music industry, that focuses on traditional Gospel music, Southern Gospel music, Contemporary Christian music, and alternative Christian music. It is sometimes called the gospel music… …   Wikipedia

  • Christian music — Part of a series on Christianity   …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”