Music has touched the souls of its listeners for as far back as anyone has been able to determine. It is at the center of so much that is meaningful and important to our lives. We choose songs carefully for weddings and reception dances, songs that represent relationships and express our feelings about those we love. Music becomes the soundtrack of our lives. I can remember songs that played in the car on trips we took, songs I sang to my babies, and songs I danced to with my husband.
I was introduced to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) in the late 1980’s during my teenage years. My youth group leader tried to get us to listen to Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and Petra instead of Michael Jackson, Van Halen and Madonna. Although I did come to like a few of the artists, like most of my generation I considered the majority of CCM music fairly lame and of lower quality than what I heard on top 40 radio.
In the mid 1990s, CCM music made a huge leap forward in quality and variety. DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys and Jars of Clay were a few of the groups that bounded onto the scene with music that sounded every bit as good as top 40 (at least in my opinion). Jars of Clay even had a huge top 40 hit (remember “Flood”?). I got my husband to go to Creation Festival (www.creationfest.com) with me and we discovered dozens of new bands over the next several years.
We have been listening to CCM music for almost 20 years now. There are bands in almost every sub-genre of music, from punk to rap and everything in between, who are on a mission to honor and glorify God through their music. This music uplifts the soul rather than contaminating it, as some artists outside the CCM genre can do.
The praise music I listen is a powerful force in pushing me closer to God on a daily basis. It keeps my mind and heart focused on the things of God all throughout the day. Many of the songs are based on scripture, so it is a way of learning God’s Word, too.
It doesn’t take much some days for me to start worrying about something or feeling down about something that happened or that I saw on the news. Rather than getting stuck in this pattern of negativity, I can choose to listen to music that shows me how great my God is or reminds me about what is important in life and Who is in control.
Below are some of my current favorite CCM artists, with links to their web sites. Youtube.com and Godtube.com are two other web sites where you can access videos to this music. Feel free to post your favorites in the comments section below.