Contemporary Christian Music: Why do you want to look so much like the world?

Posted: March 25, 2010 in CCM, Christian living
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Light shows, well rehearsed performances, world tours, screaming fans, fan clubs, groupies, big business pushing sales, effective marketing campaign, and the possibility to earn awards all describe what drives many modern bands in their quest to become legendary in the music world. Today, many Christian musician artists are virtually no different than the world’s counterparts. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) artists have fan clubs, groupies that follow them, professional marketing, big name record labels, online stores, and memorabilia for sale. They perform using the same entertainment format as their non-Christian bands. So what’s the difference between non-Christian and Christian bands? Oh, that’s right, most CCM artists have traveling pastors who speak a word during the show, and they sing/worship God.

I’m a firm believer that with enough mob mentality you can convince many people to say virtually anything. Most CCM concerts are full of entertainment and void of any real form of teaching/preaching the Gospel of Christ. They are big on emotional worship, heart gripping stories from their speakers, and praising God, but are they truly obeying the Lord and His Word? I’ve discussed this subject in the past only to have many people disagree with me because they say “Christians need an alternative to the world’s entertainment; there is nothing wrong with the way that CCM artists worship.” Why do Christians need an alternative to the world’s entertainment that is a mirror image of the world? If you give me the right setup with the right entertainment, I can wear a group of people out to the point where mob mentality will lead them to say just about anything I want them to say including, “Jesus, I accept you.” The emotionally charged environment along with the need to be accepted will lure many to “repeat after me” because they want to be part of what’s going on. If you take the time to break down the format of almost all CCM concerts, it’s easy to see that everything is just part of the show. Everything that is done during the concert is to promote the band so that people will buy their products.

I have no problem with using electric guitars, drums, etc. in our music services. My problem is how CCM is literally no different than what you see at any other concert. Sure, there are no alcohol sales and vulgar slogan signs, but what is the real difference? When these CCM artists come to town they setup their portable store and fan club booths, have photo ops, speak at local Christian radio stations, sale tickets, and set out to make as much money as possible all in the name of Jesus. We must face the truth, and the truth is CCM is big money and big business. Many in this industry only slap the name of Jesus to everything, when in fact they are more concerned about meeting deadlines and getting better contracts. The old saying, “Time is money, friend,” sums up the marketing machine driving many CCM artists. It’s all about the money, the fame, and keeping your record label happy with all the green that is pouring in! It’s not only CCM, many Southern Gospel singers are in the same boat. The Christian music industry is a marketing machine that is driving ecumenical theology and false teachings. Feel good messages of hope, unity presented as the ultimate showing of love, and peace through praise/worship are the hooks that are peddled in order to lure in more customers.

I’m not saying that all Christian music artists fall into this category, but I do believe many of them are lured into this business by fame and wealth.

Ephesians 5:1-21 (New International Version)

Ephesians 5

1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

When does worship become sin?

  1. LC says:

    I agree totally that CCM doesn’t look any different than any other concert. But I ask you, if you don’t have a problem with electric guitars, etc in church, then why do you have a problem with CCM looking like other concerts? They begin in church don’t they. They get recognition in church and feelly-good responses, why not head for the bigger audiences and the big lights? It seems these groups cannot resist the temptation of fame and fortune. Which makes me wonder about them spiritually. But besides that, I think you better think this guitar and drums thing in churches again, please. They do not generate any true worshipful atmosphere in church. And in fact, if they began in “your” (not necessarily yours in particular) church where they were applauded and encouraged by your raised hands to heaven, then you are somewhat responsible for giving them their big start into stardom right? I think all the guitars etc in church and all the moaning and groaning supposedly called worship looks too much like possession of some sort. Sound too strong? Ok, how about fleshly, human responses? Just a thought.

    • glenda dudley says:

      Beside the music isn’t good. There is no talent there; why force us to listen to it when we go to a place to worship. Also, I am now visiting various churches…they all seem to be infected. The “praise music” lasts 35-40 minutes and then the preachers literally rush through their sermons so people can get out and have a half day with family.

  2. LC,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I believe if used correctly guitars and drums can be used to truly glorify God. I understand your concerns and I’m inclined to agree with you. I think one huge tell tell sign is when our church seeks to hire a worship leader and they start elevating the quality of music above the preaching of the Word.

    I personally would not have/hire a worship leader and I would not encourage the formation of bands in the church. This is just my views on this issue. In today’s church this sounds crazy, but it goes a long way in preventing a CCM type takeover of the church.

    • David says:

      You got it right LC. It all started within the church, praising ‘artists’ among themselves, then why not make it big, then ‘concert’ is the next step. The music and sound are mostly overwhelming the congregations. Probably too much of fleshy movement, then because of that probably there is a touch of Kundalini’s effects. Emotions and feelings can be an imposter, and people always assumed the effects as the work of the Holy Spirit. But, when comes to sermon, probably the sermon is either not convincing or not convicting enough. The word ‘I will glorify Your name forever…Amen’ is almost in many of worship lyrics, yet right after they leave the church’s door, they (I’ve been observing) start gossiping, criticizing, some cursing and others having dirty jokes. Can anyone preach about holiness? Sure they can, but you may loose some members…

  3. LC says:

    Once again, I agree with you. I also thank you for being brave enough to post this in a church age where it is very unpopular to take such a view. Praise God for a remnant. Is that too bold?

  4. Brandon says:

    I just stumbled across your website David, looks good! But I need to stand up for the worship music in church, although I agree with some artist taking it to far for fame and money, but that is the world we live in isn’t it, sad.

    I am a drummer in a wonderful worship band in my church and think it’s an awesome addition to our service’s. It’s all God centered and not man centered. It doesn’t trump the message, it adds to it. The music is a God given gift to help people praise and worship Him.

    As a musician, we are to use our spiritual gifts, and if it’s playing an instrument in a worship band, then we need to use it as long as it is all for God. We aren’t signing autographs after service or selling CD’s. We do it because we love to praise our Father in Heaven using the talents he gave us.

    Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading more of your stuff!

    God Bless,

    • David says:

      Hi Brandon,
      We actually don’t want to build a music team in our church. But, when there are so many churches doing it, we realized the need of guidance. So, we formed a body and named it Worship and Arts Ministry. We are not promoting anyone, any team etc. This ministry is under the church board. It is more on discipling the youth. We teach more of true worship that is not related to music and performance. We keep the sound level low and make sure that the congregation is able to here themselves singing. We never let anyone young in faith to take part in the music and arts ministry. We do drama and skits as modest as it can be (occasionally). Hearing sermon is the major thing. We analyze lyrics before we chose to add them into our song list. Discipleship class is mandatory to all members of Worship and Arts Ministry. Those that are recommended to be involved in the ministry must approved by the church committee, and will be introduced to the congregation. If there is no objection, pastor and with the support of the congregation will pray over them. Probably, no one ever think of doing it this way, but that is what we are doing now… any comments?

      • Jesse says:

        I have discovered this site at a late’s been a long Sunday and I am so tired. And yet I was compelled to continue reading. And to respond. Thank you to all the people here who are commenting and contributing who are believers in the Lord Jesus our Messiah…and who are doing so because of a deep concern for the genuineness of our corporate worship. I will read much more before I offer my own comments. But if I may make one small reply based only on my brief encounter here so far…I can sense your sincerity and honesty. So I am saving this site as a favorite and will be returning.
        Thank you

  5. God created music, there are different types of music out there. I know people who have gotten saved, TO THE LORD, by listening to; Tobymac, Skillet, Red, Kutless, Chris Tomlin, etc.
    It doesn’t matter how the message is being played, it matters that there’s a message in the song.
    Just because there are electric guitars, drums, etc; that doesn’t mean the songs aren’t Christian music. it means that its a different STYLE of music. Sometimes you don’t need a slow worship song, SOMETIMES you need something like, Hey Devil by TobyMac. To remind you that WE DON’T NEED HIM! {the devil} Sometimes you do need songs like, Just As I Am, from the hymnals. My point is that some people NEED the ‘wordly’ sounding music to get them saved. {NOTICE i said, Wordly SOUNDING, music. meaning, guitars, drums, upbeat, make you wanna dance, type of songs) If you want to say that, it’s a sin to worship the way YOU want, then I must sin quite alot. I am a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and YES I do listen to TobyMac, Skillet, Red, Kutless, Chris Tomlin, and alot of other GREAT christian musicians. And I have been brought down to my knees, crying my eyes out from at least one of each of their songs.. God has changed me, by listening to those songs. I wouldn’t be the strong christian i am today, if it weren’t for their songs. And I have started my own band with a few of my closest friends, and I am not going to let ANYONE tell me, that because theres guitars and drums, that I’m not worshipping God. I worship him HOW I WANT TO! And if you are blessed by it, don’t stop worshipping!! Welll, I have to go now, God bless all of you.
    love you in the Lord.

  6. Wilson says:

    When you listen to the music, look into the positive meaning of the lyrics, not the people who sing the song. When you listen to a religious speech, realise the meaning and purpose of the words of god, forget about the speaker.

    Well there may be million ways to criticise or find fault on CCM, and you may make people to read your criticism, but that is not gods worship……

    There are many places in the Holy Bible where we can see people like Kind David, soul, Solomon…, chosen by god, end up becoming the worst sinners and i call them bad examples of god, and we still read thier spiritual words spoken for God. And we still accept them as “people from the Holy Bible”. Tell me waht holiness do they have, no issues, just ask any one.

    so my point is if those people are eligible to be in the Bible verses, then the CCM, are far far better than them, because they praise god with their songs, and they get the credit for their work, that may not be 100% perfect, but that is not bad, as i would say it is quite ok. If you think that they shouldnt earn from their Album sales, then how about pastors, who preach and get their salary on 1st of every month, especially protestants, who call them selves as true christian and real beleivers. Protestants are the people, who started this disease, “CHRISTIAN SALARY BASED WORSHIPERS WITH FULL PENSION FACILITY”, and since i am a protestant, i know more about them.

  7. Glenda says:

    People also worship through handling snakes. That’s OK for them, but I don’t have to participate just as I don’t have to listen to the noise that is now being manufactured and called music.
    I visited a church last week that played a CCM selection; it wasn’t bad. Then the choir and audience sang “It is Well With My Soul” an old hymn. It gave me chills it was so beautiful. CCM can be OK in small doses but none of it makes me feel the same as “Amazing Grace”, “It is Well With My Soul” or “How Great Thou Art” Plus it’s not because of guitars that can make CCM so annoying, it’s tuneless for the most part. It seems to be about the “singer” with loud instruments blaring in the background.

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