LAKEWOOD, Colorado, U.S.A. — Say the words “Christian music” and you are likely to be met with blank stares followed by condescending questions such as, “You mean you actually listen to that stuff?”
Those words tend to evoke images of Sunday school classes belting out the ever-popular song “Jesus Loves Me” in their four-year-old, off-key voices.
Lately, though, the Christian music scene is exploding in popularity, buoyed by acts such as Jars of Clay, P.O.D., dc Talk, Plus One and Stacie Orrico.
No longer is Christian music relegated to the choir rooms behind the sanctuaries of America.
It is no longer just the music of little old gray-haired ladies in their Sunday best.
Suddenly, it is showing up on mainstream charts in every genre from heavy metal to pop, and it seems to have no intention of going anywhere but up.
There are two possible reasons for this upsurge in popularity.
One is that Christian labels are pushing their bands further into the limelight and lining up opening slots with many of today’s biggest music stars.
Christian bands are actually sounding more like what you would hear on the radio, and not like the tunes you would hear coming from the church pipe organ.
For instance, P.O.D. recently came off a stint with Ozzfest while Stacie Orrico toured with Destiny’s Child. Jars of Clay opened for Matchbox 20 and Jewel.
Christian bands are invading the mainstream.
The slightly less obvious answer to the explosion of the Christian music genre is simple.
God declared that he has “set eternity in the hearts of men.”
He formed us with a desperate need to have someone bigger than us protecting us. We need someone with peace, someone with answers.
When September 11th came and left its indelible scar on American history, church attendance soared. The American people were suddenly faced with their own incapability to prevent death.
Many of their worst fears became reality in one single blinding moment.
There was nowhere else to reach but up.
They were looking for answers, but not just candy-coated sound bites with no significance.
For many, Christian music provided those answers and provided the completeness their souls hungered for.
It invited them to surrender their deepest problems and allow God to work in their lives. God spoke to them through Christian music, and they responded.
Christian music shot up the charts as a testimony to its redeeming power.
One can only hope it continues.
Lynn Renee Richter is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.