Fixing "Christian" Radio

Chris Tomlin - Gifted Worship Song Writer As a worship leader, it is sometimes assumed that all I listen to is worship music, or at the LEAST, "Christian" music. Closely related is the assumption that I listen to K-Love or Air 1 whilst in my car.

Without bursting any bubbles or crushing people's thoughts of me, I emphatically say that I listen to all sorts of music, and rarely does my dial cross Air 1 (and never does it land on K-Love).

Now please, don't think that I'm "against" either of these (or other "Christian" stations), it's just that they're not really for me. I'm not particularly inspired by much of the music (by inspired, I mean both spiritually moved and/or encouraged or pushed to something new and different "musically.") and I tend to get bored of hearing the same artists and the same songs.

However, I don't think all is lost. And so, I propose the following changes to Christian Radio. And if something like this WOULD happen, I would be a dedicated listener of "Christian" Radio.

1) Separate the music that is created for "worship" in a corporate setting with music that is created for the sake of good music. What I mean is this: I don't find it particularly healthy to blend so closely together a song that is written for and meant for use in public worship with a song that is meant for the purposes of entertaining/inspiring/encouraging/convicting/etc. I'm constantly frustrated by how "worship" has become so marketable, as though it's just another genre of music. When we hear, on the radio, "Made to Worship" by Chris Tomlin, followed directly by Jeremy Camp's "There Will Be a Day," it evokes confusing feelings. On the one hand, we want to jump in and sing along and enter into meaningful worship. On the other, we want to sit back, watch and listen, and be lifted up by powerful vocals and moving lyrics. Then, we get to church on Sunday, we half-expect a show, or concert. To be entertained and inspired, like the songs on the radio. We switch in and out of "engaging in worship" and "watching a concert" modes. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely the potential for genuine worship to occur in simply listening to and soaking in a song. We do it often (i.e. "special music" pieces). But the juxtaposition of "worship" music (music written for and intended for the purposes of singing together in corporate worship) and non "worship" music (music written by songwriters and bands for the purpose of entertaining/encouraging/etc) can lead to fuzzy thoughts and expectations about worship.

So, my thought is to have different "Christian" radio stations with different purposes.

Let one station be all worship music all the time. And let another station be devoted to all those singer/song writers and bands who aren't trying (and don't want to be) the next Chris Tomlin or the next David Crowder Band. A lot of bashing on Christian music as a genre, by various music snobs, is in regards to the poor level of creativity and originality of songs they hear on the radio. But the problem is that songs written for the purpose of "worship" are written DIFFERENTLY than other songs. They're written SO THAT they can be somewhat simple and easy to remember. Relatively un-complicated melody lines and song structures. Somewhat plain or ordinary production and arrangements. This is all intentional so that thousands or millions of people can play and sing them. But if songwriters and bands who do NOT write like this were given a separate station to be played on, I think many of those "snobs" who bash Christian music would think differently.

Wanna listen to worship music? Tune in to 107.1 for artists like Matt Redman, Hillsong United, Brenton Brown, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Paul Baloche, Rita Springer, etc.

Wanna listen to original, creative, unique, and great music that happens to be written by Christians? Tune in to 107.7 for artists like Andrew Peterson, Matt Kearny, Brandon Heath, Brooke Fraser, Logan Martin, Phil Wickham, Jimmie Needham, etc

That would be great. I would listen to both at different times, depending on what I'm looking for.

I think this could help the perception of Christian music, increase the number of listeners, and work towards a more healthy view of worship in the church.

2) Hmmm... Re-read the first idea, because it's a good one.

What are your thoughts? Do you listen to Christian Radio, and if so, why? Do you agree that there are different types of "Christian Music," songs written for the purpose of worship and songs written for the purpose of making art? Am I just paranoid about thinking these different types should be separated?

Culture, Music, WorshipColby Martin