The Explosive Potential of Music

Featuring Paul Baloche Posted on February 1, 2010

Now, here’s the point of all this: If secular music can change the world, can you imagine the explosive potential of genuinely Holy Spirit-anointed music to change the world for God? What does this mean for the Christian musician seeking his or her role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the 21st century?

There has never been such a time as this for Christian music. News-week magazine said in a 2003 cover story, “Contemporary Christian Music is now the hottest” (fastest rising) “genre in the entire music industry …with more than twenty major Christian music festivals a year, some drawing up to 100,000 attendees … for every ten country albums sold, seven Christian CDs fly off the shelf…Sales topped the combined numbers of jazz, classical and New Age.” Isn’t that interesting? People are listening to Christian music… Whoa! Rewind! Did you catch that? Sales topped the combined numbers of  jazz, classical and New Age!” People are listening to Christian music!

But let’s take it one step further: Worship music is now the most vital sector of Contemporary Christian Music. In one recent week numbers 1, 2 and 3 on Billboard Magazine’s CCM chart were live worship albums. After 19 years, two Grammies, 34 Dove awards and an American Music Award in the pop category, Michael W. Smith’s first worship album topped all his previous efforts. Many CCM artists are now making worship albums.

Time/Life, who for years have sold music collections through TV ads—favorite artists, hits, rock, jazz, country, all kinds of pop—were amazed when their first Worship collection turned out to be the fastest selling item they had ever had.

Now, on the surface all those numbers may sound crassly commercial, but please understand our motivation in citing them. It isn’t to tempt you to try and become rich and famous, but to encourage you—now is your time as a Christian musician! This is your call, your challenge! Do you see what is happening? The whole pop music phenomenon of the past forty years and more has been a setup for you—a giant sting operation! The devil may have meant it for his purposes, but God in His higher purposes has allowed it to prepare a generation throughout the world for what is perhaps the final harvest. A.W. Tozer said, “God’s purpose in redemption is to make worshipers out of rebels.” And modern worship music has become a powerful evangelistic tool. People being won to the Lord today through worship music start right out in their new lives as worshipers!

So here we have a modern-day “missionary” phenomenon: In all of these different places, tied together by a common musical culture, the harvest field is ripe for sold-out musicians. What an opportunity! What a responsibility!

Let your music change minds and lives and cultures. Learn to write great stuff, full of imagery, hooks, emotion, energy…and God’s truth. Then, if you have a mandate from Him, go sing it on the street corners, in the parks, in the churches, the halls, the arenas. Don’t wait for some hot agent to get you big money for a “gig;” go where the needs are, whenever you get a chance. We’re not saying you shouldn’t make a living from your songs and your ministry if God allows; we’re saying, don’t let that be your goal or your guide.

Go for it!

Remember that your gift is a trust for which you must give account.
But enjoy it.
Revel in it.
Thank God for it.
Worship with it.
Practice long.
Listen a lot.
Jam hard, as hard as an athlete exercises.
Master your music, don’t let its seductive power master you.

Do you want to be a star? “They that turn many to righteousness (shall shine) as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3). Do you long to be the greatest? Try Jesus’ method: be a servant (Mark 10:43,44). If God is calling you, throw yourself into the harvest field where your gift will count for eter•nity. Get yourself trained and prepared both musically and spiritually, and go for it!