Secular Music In The Church

Me and a good buddy of mine who attends another campus of LifeChurch.tv and I had a really good exchange the other day as it relates to secular music in the Church.   This is one of those arguments that people have a wide range of polarizing positions. 

I recently ran across an article on the same subject by Tim Stevens, who is the Executive Pastor of Granger of Granger Community Church and author of new book “Pop Goes the Church, Should the Church Engage Pop Culture?”  If you want to read his article, “Does Secular Music Have a Place in The Church?” in its entirety click here. 

I am going to share a few of Tim’s quotes, a few of my thoughts and then we will let the debating begin:

“Every element in your service doesn’t have to be prescriptive.  Yes, you are trying to teach a principle or encourage people to consider a truth, but you can use certain elements to raise questions and other elements to help provide answers.”  Tim Stevens 

“It’s amazing to me that the same pastors who have never allowed a secular song in their services have quoted secular authors, secular poets, and secular historical figures.”  Tim Stevens 

My buddy that I was talking to asked me “What genius came up with the idea that playing secular music or certain secular music in church was a good idea?”  The abridged version of my response and our conversation was this:  We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ, the bottom line is Changed Lives; both eternally and daily.  It is all a piece of the experience to engage people where they are and open their hearts to hear The Truth.  Jesus just didn’t teach and preach… but he met people’s needs: feeding, healing….     

Anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ means just that, walking up to the line and doing anything short of sin. 

Does secular music have a place in the Church?  Why or Why Not?    

Does your church play secular music or do you listen to secular music?

  • http://isdifferentok.com Heady

    We have had this question presented during our open forum session of a poetry night I’ve been hosting since 2001. I enjoy to watch people debate this topic. I have never used secular music in church; however, I have used secular authors, poets, and so on. I’m not against the idea but I wouldn’t make it a constant use. Music is so powerful and I wouldn’t want to send out the wrong message. But yeah, it can be used for a tool to reach people done in the right way.

  • Little Ray of Sunshine

    Love it when Marcy Jackson sings Black Horse and the Cherry Tree!!!

  • http://charlesshyblosky.wordpress.com Charles

    I think you hit the nail on the head, “anything short of sin”.

  • http://www.kevinbussey.com Kevin Bussey

    Only when it applies to the message. Just to play a cool song with no point–makes no sense. We did THE WHO during Christmas because we were doing a series called CSI (Christmas Scene Investigation).

    Pop music connects with unchurched people.

  • http://cindybeall.com Cindy Beall

    I don’t bombard my mind with secular music, but I do listen to it from time to time. I’m not against it, but just prefer to listen to music that points me towards my Creator. There are enough distractions in my life that keep me from focusing on Christ…I certainly don’t need another and sometimes secular music does that for me.

    God has proven to me time and again that he can and will use anything to bring people to Him. I think that secular music in the church can be a powerful tool to connect with the unchurched or lost person. However, I tend to agree with Kevin that it’s a little more powerful if it has a purpose. To just sing a secular song because it sounds good could get old.

    My two cents.

  • http://tentmakin.blogspot.com Kyle P.

    Here’s another dimension to this topic, possibly the ultimate question behind the question:

    If God is the Creator of talent, and talented people are expressing that talent, is God less glorified if it’s labeled “secular” vs. “Christian?” In some crazy way, could God be glorified by Marilyn Manson’s use of his “gifting” simply because it is God-given?

  • http://tentmakin.blogspot.com Kyle P.

    Not to be a comment hog here…

    I don’t know ’bout the rest of you, but my mind often reflects on Scriptural truths whenever I hear a certain “secular” song. For example, when I hear the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” song, my mind immediately reflects on 1 Peter 5:8 (http://www.youversion.com/nasb/1Pet.5.8). When I think about the devil trying to devour me, or get the “best of me”, I’m reminded to resist him and he will flee. So, I think we can use secular music, like it was stated above, with a purpose. Let’s face it, the majority of non-saved people aren’t listening to The-Big-Time-Full-Faith-and-All Smiles Gospel Quartet on their radios while they drive to work. So not use “their” music and redirect it to make them think?

  • Chris Jackson

    I don’t think there is really one solid answer. I think it really depends on the individual.

    Like Cindy said, for her, secular music can be a distraction, but she doesn’t have a problem with it. Now for me, I don’t really listen to “christian” music. I have found beauty and art and Creation in music that isn’t categorized as “christian”, and that moves my soul and points me to toward the Creator. I think playing a “secular” song in church absolutely has a place.

    Now, on the other hand, I think playing a song in church just because it’s trendy and people know it cheapens us showing others what our relationship with God really means. It feels more like a product than a relationship if we have to sell them something. But that’s just me. It may very well resonate with someone else.

    Pardon my abuse of the “”

  • http://rollmentalcamera.blogspot.com roger

    Music is music in my book and you can learn alot from it all. If I use it to worship it is the best but I can actully learn more about how to connect with people that don’t know Christ by listening to the popular music. It can be a tool and enjoyed at the same time

  • Scott Williams

    Hmmm some varying perspectives. I am curious what my man Jimmy Paravane thinks (grin)!

  • http://arewestillcool.blogspot.com cool dad

    Like said above, I don’t mind it if it’s relevant to a message. And when I say ‘message’, I don’t mean just the sermon. The message of the service or the message of the church.

    But if the band’s just playing a song for fun, I think you’re wasting time. For some people, that 1.5 hours in church is (sadly) the only worship time they have all week. Make every minute count.

    “Anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ means just that, walking up to the line and doing anything short of sin.”

    I know what you mean, but it’s good to remember that sin and righteousness don’t have clean borders that we can navigate. Many who’ve tried to toe a line (myself included) likely crossed it long ago.

  • http://www.mylifeisepic.com Aaron

    I think “secular” stuff can be used to not only connect, but to show a redeeming side of life. If it’s meaningless – it’s just that – meaningless…and why would you do ANYTHING in your service that is just meaningless?

    BUT, if it has meaning, I’m all for it – we’ve used it all to not only connect, but to portray an emotion, spark a feeling, or to have some fun. Church doesn’t have to be a dirge.

    (AA)

  • http://www.floatingaxhead.com michael

    not to quote scripture but “you must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean,”…lev 10:10
    .
    metrasecular…christian…crap is crap, we can tag it anyway we want to…just because a christian reads penthouse in his quiet time doesn’t make it useful…at least for god.
    .
    maturity is when your convictions trump your thoughts and feelings. so be above reproach, if it feeds the flesh, it does not glorify god, and that has nothing to do with tempo but intent.

  • http://thinkinginprogress.com Jason

    I believe Psalm 24:1 when it says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”

    This would include music and those who create it.

    When I hear a sick bass line or an incredible vocal, it moves me. And as a Christian, I know who the source of all good things come from- God. He dishes out talent.

    So can and should churches use mainstream music? If it fits your context, absolutely. Not to mention the evangelistic purpose it can have. All of which can bring glory to God- which is the whole point in the first place.

    • Edward

      so drugs come from God the creator, so are you blaming Him for its use?, and how people kill and do horrible thing because drugs… so lets enjoy drugs everything comes from HIM, WHAT A FOOLINESS

  • http://www.floatingaxhead.com Scott

    Some secular music has spiritual meaning. Our church has played “Best of You,” by the Foo Fighters several times, but it always fit with the lesson content.

    On the other side of the coin, Newspring had someone sing “Friends in Lows Places,” which includes the line “where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away.”

    Maybe there should be an asterisk next to “anything short of sin,” that excludes anything stupid.

  • http://www.unveilinghope.com Hope

    Lifecentre uses secular music, not during worship, but to introduce various topics, sermons etc. Our pastor’s quote secular writers etc. We are part of this world, pretending we’re not just cuts us off from reality. Our walk is a spiritual walk but it is a walk in the world. Many secular people have great ideas, opinions, and so much that add to life regardless of who is the recipient. I think it’s very dangerous when Christians ostracize themselves from the rest of the world.

  • http://foxholeliving.wordpress.com Foxholeliving

    A friend and I were having a discussion about music. I love independent music and listen to spin180.net (the best of indy Christian music podcast); my friend thinks it is a waste of time to listen to all that junk and only listens to “worship” music. It occurred to me – all music is worship music regardless of the genre or moniker we attribute to it – the real question is what does the song lead you to worship. I have jammed to *christian* music that lead no where near God and have been enveloped by *secular* music that leads me to enter His courts. I do not think this is a *new* concept, but worthy of consideration.

    • Edward

      watch out my friend you would be found as guilty as Cain and his offering, God is a God of perfection, when God asked for a lamb as a sacrifice one of the orders was with no defect or imperfection. so God wants us to be perfect, and watch for what we are offering to HIM

  • http://thisismemandy.blogspot.com Mandy

    Hmm…I personally don’t listen to secular music that often, simply because it takes my mind in places it just shouldn’t go. But there are some incredible secular songs out there with great messages to them. So long as there is no sinning involved in the song…I’m ALL FOR IT!!

  • http://patricksievert.wordpress.com Patrick Sievert

    oh…. this is big for me. I love it. If it adds to what you’re trying to communicate. And sometimes it adds to it big time.

    I also think it hits big with unchurched people. It’s different. It’s “unchurchy.” There’s a reason unchurched people are unchurched. Because they don’t like churchy stuff. If secular music can be used to either A)make an impact in someone’s life, or B)get them to come back next week, then it’s very worth it.

    Granger is fantastic at this. Absolutely amazing.

    Everyone should check out their Christmas Eve service:

    http://www.gccwired.com/webcast/ChristmasEve07.html

    • Edward

      oh my dear, how vast is His power to save people,HIS power and HiS arm hasnt shorten to save,music and heart both were created for God, but arent perfect now. devils work it is been destroy everything in God perfect creation.

      God didnt create rock music… this was devils distortion of Gods creation.

      may the Lord bless you

  • http://www.thechrisrogers.com Chris Rogers

    We play a secular song every week at the Wellington Campus and I wouldn’t have it any other way. For those of you who are against this try and step outside of the box for a moment. When someone visits the campus who is unchurched we are trying to break that barrier or any misconceived notions they may have. If we can make them feel more comfortable in opening their hearts to God through worship and a God breathed message by playing a secular song then you can bet that we will do it every weekend. It can bring a sense of realness and familiarity to them in a situation that is likely unfamiliar, and then boom, we hit them with the love and truth of God. At least that has been my experience with it thus far. So yes, if done in the right manner, I do believe that secular music definitely has a place in the church. (sorry for the long comment)

  • http://jaycurlee.blogspot.com Jason Curlee

    Great topic for discussion…my view has somewhat evolved over the years. Upon first committing my life to God I was very extreme. No secular music whatsoever. No one really told me to…it was what I did. I totally immersed myself in His Word as well as in praise and worship music. I really didn’t even listen to mainstream christian music.

    Over the past few years I’ve listened now opened up to music that I feel has a positive message. Only very select songs.

    As far as using it in church I am totally for it if it illustrates the message or even if you put an illustrated message to the music.

  • http://jennifercady.blogspot.com/ Jenn Cady

    Different people get different thing from different songs and they can be Interpreted a million ways! Sure don’t play explicit language songs from Mega Death! Just reach people…

    You don’t have to play only the DOXOLOGY to reach the lost or “I surrender All” when we are wearing our Sunday best…hmmm…ironic!!! Music touches people so use what it takes!

    How about this Sunday…. “You Gotta Be starting Something by Michael Jackson!” AEEE-HEEEE!

    • Edward

      dont give to the pigs the holy!!! Jesus stament…

  • http://patricksievert.wordpress.com Patrick Sievert

    Oh, I forgot about this one:

    NewSpring played Hells Bells in church one time. With fire on stage! It was awesome.

    http://isite78285.intellisite.com/235505.ihtml?ResourceID=1223&type=1

  • Redell Brown

    What difference does it make what music your playing. If what’s being played does not glorify God it shouldn’t be played. Why would you force MUSIC that does not glorify God on a follower of christ. For people who hold postions in there church and have control over what music is played,asked your self is this what the members or partners want to here when they come to church. Ask your-self what angle was over MUSIC before he was kick out of heaven? For the people who say it should be play to reach the sinners and make them feel more comfortable and break the ice. Help me out, were in the world did you get this information did you make this up your self or did you round up some sinners and ask what they thought about hearing the same MUSIC they heard at a party or riding to work. Did they say man, this makes me want to give my life to christ after listening to this MUSIC. Did you ask the people in your church what they thought. We all need to be more like Bereans!!!!!! When it comes to anything being said to us by Music or the pulpit.

    • Edward

      wharever you are, I want to thank you for been in the right side of this topic.

  • Redell Brown

    Please forgive me for my bad grammar, but you get my point.(lol)

    • Edward

      Im really happy for you… keep on going meet you in heaven to worship the true God who lives for ever and ever amen.

    • Edward

      Im really happy for you… keep on going meet you in heaven to worship the true God who lives for ever and ever amen.

  • http://www.thechrisrogers.com Chris Rogers

    Redell,
    I have actually had numerous people approach me about the secular songs we play that have greatly appreciated it, including those who are Christ followers. So no, I don’t have to ask them…they just approach me. Probably because I am the one singing the songs. Also, for some of our partners/members that is the only way they have been able to get some of their friends and even family to come. When someone tells me that they have been working on bringing somebody to church for years but couldn’t get them in the doors until they were told we played a secular song (or more specifically a song they recognized) every weekend then that makes it worth it to me. Even if they don’t come to know Christ that day, it opens the door for future interaction with them. We play our secular songs prior to the experience time, so if someone in the church doesn’t want to hear it then I guess we have got a great plan in place for them not to be subject to it. As someone who holds a position in the church I guess something that solidifies our decision even more is the fact that we get requests for secular songs from our partners/members on a weekly basis.

  • Scott Williams

    Good stuff! I personally like to listen to Sports Radio when I’m rollin’ in my car. WWLS The Sports Animal :-)

  • http://www.floatingaxhead.com michael

    i personally feel many are missing the point. it is not a secular versus christian music issue because that is something record labels determine.
    .
    the issue is whether it is holy and pleasing to god…not whether it gets a rush out of people and helps them identify and feel comfortable with their worldly behavior.
    .
    i like perry noble, he gets the feed to our blog but hells bells was too much…there is nothing in the song that brings out god’s best…it was a carnival attraction, and they know it.
    .
    we need to stop deceiving ourselves that to reach the world we have to look like the world; how about this…we need to risk trusting god with the things we know to be pleasing to him.

    • Edward

      michael im with you brother

    • Kev

      Micheal, you are dead on. You are correct and stay strong on your stand.

      On another note, I am VERY dissapointed in Rob Beckley of Pillar singing Hard to Handle at Lifechurch.tv. There is nothing in that song other than sexual lyrics. If that is how you portray a Christian, then the end is very near. Last song I heard him sing at Lifechurch was Purple Rain. There is no reason for that music to be in a holy place unless it isn’t holy.

  • http://www.thechrisrogers.com Chris Rogers

    if i am able to take a song that could possibly bring someone in the doors that would not otherwise come and they then commit their life to Christ then i would say that song then became very pleasing to God. not to mention the fact that my intentions in playing the song was to ultimately please God. don’t try to pretend that the “world” hasn’t become a part of the church in some aspect. the technology alone is “worldly”, that is how we are able to reach thousands of people across the globe every weekend. i have every bit of confidence that if Jesus himself were sitting in our experience he would be on the front row clapping to our secular song. i’m sorry if i come across intense or rude i guess i am just very passionate about this and will always believe that if someone finds Christ through my “worldly” actions then i am doing what God has called me to do.

  • Redell Brown

    Chris, I took some time and thought about what you said. When it comes to a topic like this, your going to have some different opinions on the subject. So much that people will lose focus on what’s what! The great thing about being a christ follower,we don’t have to get to deep about who’s right and who’s wrong it’s already in black and white. No, disrespect but if we all read are bibles with are Greek glasses and are bibles right side up(lol), I think are opinions would go oneway, and that’s Gods way. Chris, I was going to put some scriptures down, and it hit me that we all need to search Gods word for are self. To find out if how we think goes against Gods word or not. Chris, please pray for me that I continue to grow and have a better relationship with God, because to read your word is to know God and his will.I will pray the same for you, take care!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.thechrisrogers.com Chris Rogers

    Redell, you are very right. There will be many different opinions and I seriously doubt we will all come to an agreement. Thank you for your prayers and I will be in prayer for you as well. Maybe I’ll catch you later on another topic. :)

  • http://christianranter.wordpress.com The Christian Ranter

    This brought back a really good memory for me when I was attending a church in California. The church school was putting on it’s Christmas concert with a band a choir. During the first half, it was only sacred songs that they performed. These were done in the sanctuary. During intermission, we packed everything up and made our way into the fellowship hall where the so called secular songs were played. I thought that this was a great way to show the kids (and adults) that there was a difference between how we treat the place where we come each week to meet with God and where we meet with each other.

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  • againstsecular

    There is a way unto man that seems right. Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25.

    Hello Christians of all denominations: What do you think God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will have us singing and playing in Heaven? Secular music to honor and worship Him? Christians have become too intellectual when the answer is easy. If it’s too hard for modern disciples of Christ to listen to Holy music, then there’s something wrong with our walk with God. Be ye holy for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16.

  • MsKandi

    I know that I am posting this comment sooooo late but I just discovered this blog, so here goes. (My apologies in advance for the length of this comment :-P )

    There is a difference between what is holy, what is common, and what is unclean. God is all about what is holy, I don’t think He minds what is common, but we cannot present the unclean things to Him and call it worship. I think we all can admit that some lyrics are simply unclean. The earth is the Lords…. BUT He has also given us free will. People are free to do adn create things that do not glorify God. I agree with the comment that simply going by the categories of “secular” or “Christian” is not a great approach because there are some secular songs that can be used to glorify God, but I have also heard some so-called “gospel” songs that were completely self-serving and biblically inaccurate. We can also differentiate between songs of worship that we offer to God and songs that we listen to for entertainment or encouragement. Bottom line: Everything permissable is not beneficial.

    In all of this, I think the most important things to remember are:
    1) Ask yourself what the spirit is behind the song and if God is glorified by it.
    2) Certainly God can use ANYTHING for His glory, but let us never forget that God has called us a peculiar people. We should never base our standard of living or ministry on what is considered normal, acceptable, or desirable in the world.
    3) Finally, let us remember that it is the Truth that sets people free…. God’s truth…. God’s truth that He empowers us to minister in many different ways to different people. Let us never be too quick to judge someone else’s ministry. God is the more creative that we think. He is always doing “new things”. (Is. 42:9) Are we listening?

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  • HallieA.

    This is an old post, but I’m a newby so I will reply.

    Is it not a sin to feed our minds with impure thoughts?

    For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly (Mark 7:21-22).

    Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:14-15).

    It is in our best interest to keep our minds pure by not entertaining thoughts that do not glorify God. If we constantly listen to music (not all secular music is so) that glorifies premarital sex, adultery, greed, perversions, murder, and hatred, we are in turn tempting ourselves into lives that will eventually give birth to sin! We need to guard our minds just as we guard our eyes and hearts.

    Changing lanes for a moment…Does anybody actually listen to the words to and meanings behind the music played during ‘SWITCH’? It can be sickening! THINK ABOUT SHAPING OUR YOUTH PEOPLE!

  • Alastair

    Hey guys

  • Alastair

    this is an upsetting topic because different peoples hearts can be all over the place. I find myself sitting here, and thinking of the people I know who seem to really love God AND his ways. His instruction. his good, loving guidance. I think of only a few who seem to really be thirsty for God, and righteousness. I feel like those people seem to read and know the word better, and have less in common with the ways of the world. some of the men I know that attend my church I think would have been quite excited about the church I go to playing Back in Black by ACDC for their series on “bailout” pertaining to managing money, what is said in the Bible about it, and so on. I noticed that the only thing the one guy I work with said about the service was something LIKE this, “You couldnt find many churches that would play ACDC’s Back in Black.” (I was given the impression that he may have enjoyed it, judging by knowing his radio selections when we work and drive. Its just one of those situations that I ask myself of myself… what kind of fruit is in my life? what kinds of fruit are in my church’s leaders lives? what kind of fruits are in the lives of anyone i meet professing to be a christian? I feel that more often than not, there can seem to be a lack of fruits of the spirit in the lives of those that seem excited when the church seems to be “reaching out to people” by incorporating pop culture things or not being “churchy”. I dont know guys…. what do you see?

    • Edward

      Im totaly agree with you, this is a shame of cristianity, Im really concerned about m y kids life , we are going to a church where, this topic is really controvercial.Im hopine and it is my prayer God will have a way for this, without hurting nobody. pray for me

  • http://jasonshaferresume.blogspot.com jason

    we have a responsibility to do things with His praise in mind, but i absolutely thing we should be engaging pop culture in our church services.

  • ClaytonTyner

    I am a young music minister and listen to a WIDE variety of music. I have used secular music in church worship settings and have found a lot of success in it. So many secular songs have beautifully written lyrics that if sung to God have immense meaning! A few weeks back we sang “Softly and Tenderly” and after focusing an extra chorus on the “come home” part of the song we broke out into the chorus of Chris Daughtery’s song “Home”. The crazy thing was it was the loudest the congregation (a mostly young group of new believers) sang all day. Needless to say i see great opportunity to use ‘secular’ things to bring people closer to God.

  • Just*A*Thought

    It seems like this post has been recycled so I will add my two cents to the conversation.

    I know there is a trend for many churches to be more “culturally relevant” so that souls can be won. But to me, this notion suggests that “churches” seem to believe that they are the ones that actually draw people to Christ…when they are not. God draws people to Him so if the “church” believes that she has to do anything special (i.e. culturally relevant) to win people to Christ, I can’t help but wonder what God she is really serving? Jesus drew people to Him because of the miracles He performed and the teachings he did. It was His power that caused people to be saved. I don’t believe there was ever a mention about music or culture in the Gospels. It seems like we are doing a lot in our own strength rather than being the vessels that God works through. People shouldn’t have to visit the church to get saved. We are ALL called to preach the Gospel. Our friends, family, co-workers should never have to set foot in a church building. Jesus met the people where THEY were; not in a church building. The church (i.e. Body of Christ) was actually for people who were already believers to be built up in their faith. It was not a place for the unsaved like we try to make it today.

  • http://www.metacognician.com Kendra Golden

    This issue illustrates to me something that is very disturbing about the modern church. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. It doesn’t matter what anyone likes. It isn’t something to celebrate that we are so wonderfully tolerant of the wide variety of people’s opinions. Only one opinion matters. The answer to this question is in the Bible (although God can and does speak differently to people through it). You can only find truth in His revealed Word, the life of Christ, and His Spirit leading you from within. We don’t get to vote. We don’t get to pick and choose. We will stand alone before God one day, so make sure you can back every choice you’ve made (especially if you lead a church) with the Word of God, not with a popular assumption or even anecdotal feedback from lots of people.

    A great illustration from one of Craig Groeschel’s messages was about him creeping closer and closer to a squirrel to try to pet it until he finally got attacked. The question is not how far can we go or how close to sin can we draw our line, it’s to flee from sin and run toward Him. Don’t pet the squirrel.

  • http://jibbooo.wordpress.com/ Jibbooo

    I can think of 2 examples for and against secular music in church. 1. Paul said he would become all things to all people so that some might be saved. (FOR) 2. Do not eat or drink anything that may cause a brother to stumble (AGAINST) So, just because there’s a great secular song which may seem fine on the surface, it may have been “offered” to demons just as the food was in example #2 … which could be detrimental to a brother.

    For me, I believe the key is to hear God’s voice on the matter. If God is giving you a strategy to use secular music, then you better do it. But if you’re just doing it because you can and you don’t want anyone to be offended with Christian-ese, then you may want to reconsider your motives for using secular music (or poetry or quotes for that matter).

  • http://www.crosstownokc.org Mike

    Though there’s much to speak of on this topic, there’s one thing to be careful of… not to apply our own “Christian” interpretation to a song to justify using it in church. It would be good practice to investigate the meaning behind those secular songs you’re thinking of using during times of praise and worship.

    Take Elton John’s song “Philadelphia Freedom” for example. One could read the lyrics and conclude it’s a great patriotic song about the origins of all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The real meaning of the song? It was a tribute to Billie Jean King (a tennis player for the Philadelphia Freedoms) and her coming out as a lesbian.

    More importantly, we need to approach reading the Bible the same way, lest we make it say anything we want. It’s the potential danger of doing this that I advocate application of the same principle to the music we use in church.

    Context, context, context!

  • http://www.Twitter.com/derrickhenslee Derrick Henslee

    Why do we get caught up in still believing that there’s something sacred and holy about a building? WE are the Church! God will bring glory to Himself in spite of us. I know that I was once secular, yet God redeemed me. I know He can redeem a song by someone who doesn’t know Him.

    When I was searching, I remember loving “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. I believe God used that song *gasp, to draw me to Him. It is a horribly secular song that God used to break down barriers in my life so that I’d seek Him. We do this every week in Tulsa. God has confirmed it on several occasions.

    If secular music isn’t for you, no big deal. Please don’t be so close-minded to think God can’t/won’t use it to draw people to Himself and bring glory to Him. Ok…rant over! Fire away.

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  • evanlineberry

    christians could learn a lot about writing incredible worship songs from secular artists and producers. Music is created to move our mind bodies souls and senses. God created every person and he created the minds and hearts behind every song. Don’t we recognize that Christians who won’t listen to secular music close themselves to an amazing inherited blessing. Christians fear too much to step out of man made religious doctrines and ideals that limit the freedom to see God in everything created. Some of the most creative people on earth are not christian because they do not want to limit themselves to the standards christians have. Jesus came to liberate people from traditions that held us back from walking in our ultimate callings as sons of God. Christians should be the most creative people on earth because we trust in the Ultimate creator to give us ideas but we limit ourselves to a religious box that will not allow certain things which mean nothing to God. Do we think that God doesn’t like secular music? or secular movies? Does he seperate himself from them. No. I don’t think so. We could learn a lot from them. We have a long way to go to express jesus and who he is and what our faith is about in music and movies. Our portrayal of jesus in movies and christian music sucks. We need to move past our limited christian mindsets and pour our resources that so many people give into making historical films that rock peoples worlds. Movies and technologies far beyond what is available now, like 3D. We should be ahead of the secular movie industry in graphics and technology not behind it.

    People who don’t listen to anything but christian music limit themselves to a whole realm of amazing melodies and moving music that takes people into a different realm.

    Why is it that so many people go to bars and concerts and music halls and dance halls? Because people love the music and it is a physical experience of emotion and sound that pentrates their whole being in spirit mind soul and body. Why do clubs with loud sound systems and lots of bass get people to dance. Why is it that church’s with loud sound systems and rock bands draw so many youth, because it is different. Church is loosing its flavor through continued hymns and contemporary music that is dry and has no experience attached to it. Music styles change over the course of time and if the church doesn’t move with the times it will continue to be relevant to the older generation not the younger generations that are going to come. God never said to be a christian you have to listen to a certain style of music or have a certain type of worship experience. Church should be a place to worship through experience. If God is not tangibly experienced then people do not want to be apart of it because he is not real to them. Music is everything to me and without it i would not be able to be who i am in this world. #justsayin

    • Edward

      the bible also teaches that there is a remanent a small group of people who is faithfull to God, while the whole world it is living only this life, those who really know in what field are won’t contaminate themselves with such things that dont glorify God.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffHolton Jeff Holton

    I agree with you, but there’s a little voice in the back of my head saying, “Didn’t Paul say we’re supposed to avoid the APPEARANCE of sin, too?”

  • sineadroy

    It has always amazed me how many people will cry out against the evils of secular music, yet promote classical composers such as Mozart as somehow godly influences. Only a very few of the well-known classical composers even confessed faith in Jesus Christ – Bach is one who did. Several others – including the famous Handel who wrote the Christmas Cantata “Messiah” were simply born in a time when they were paid by commission to write religious works. As a Christian, I listen to the “Messiah” and worship God through that. Same goes for “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”, “I Can See Clearly Now the Rain Has Gone”, and a host of songs by Hillsongs.

    The time has come when the Father seeks those who worship in spirit and in truth. Never mind which mountain top you use.

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  • http://ihatechurch.com ihatechurch

    check out your boy in singapore http://KongHee.com and his series on the cultural mandate.

    we need to take a peak at influencers in the Bible and understand How and Why they achieved those positions. You obv know about the following :: Nehemiah, Joseph and Daniel and how these boys leveraged a (explitive) load to achieve many things for God.

    you think these fellaz wore their Jesus tshirt with dockers and refused to listen to the beats the king was into?

  • http://markriddle.net markriddle

    there is no such thing as secular or christian music. in my mind it’s irrelevant.

    there is only is this song appropriate for this context at this time.

  • http://jonwellman.com @jonwellman

    If we are at church to glorify God, the music we sing there should do just that. “Secular” = of this world.

    Music impacts our innermost beings unlike other forms of expression. And music that honors God is, by definition, better. Why would we use anything else?

    As far as using secular music to reach the unchurched… are we trying to show the unchurched that what we have within the church is basically the same as what is in the world, or that Whom we worship is greater?

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  • David

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. When Jesus came to this earth, He used holiness,cleaniness,rightousness in the beauty of God to do everything He did..knowledge about the truth is in the word of God. Anything not biblical is false. If u are a christian then u should be christ-like. God is too powerful to convert anybody through His word and might. We should glorify God in all ways. Jesus didnt short-sin to save anyone.. It was the power of God manifested through Him.. DOES SECULAR MUSIC GLORIFY GOD? It doesn’t.. We shouldn’t be mislead by intellectual knowledge of so-called scholors,etc. Let us not follow the teachings of the NICHOLAITANS. Jesus didnt accept it then it means God didnt too.

  • Wendy Minshall

    For those of you who do use secular songs in worship service… Can you give me some examples of songs you’ve used?

  • http://twitter.com/luisvalenzuela luisvalenzuela

    Three years later,
    someone is still reading this post; awesome!

    I am NOT comfortable with secular music in church. However:

    1. As Christians, we
    need to stop being so condescending when referring to others
    who don’t agree with our interpretation; it looks bad
    and doesn’t show the love and humility we are to show to the world.
    We need to learn to discuss respectfully with Biblical arguments first and
    feelings second.

    2. So far in
    my analysis I notice that there is no one Bible verse that orders, allows or
    prohibits secular church in church. Some verses may be interpreted as such but
    then subjectively can mean “no Christian should use any expression of art at
    all at any time”, given the fact that we are the church, not the building and
    we are to have the same behavior in or out of the building.

    3. There is no clear cut
    definition of secular music. Is a country song about being a dad as bad as
    Metallica’s ‘live or Let Die’? I don’t think so, but the Bible doesn’t speak about
    either.

    4. Therefore what we
    have is a very subjective matter of choice and conscience. Some think is
    wrong and don’t even listen to secular music in the car –that is great and respectable,
    but it doesn’t seem to be a clear cut commandment to be laid upon everyone.

    5. The problem with this is that we seem to sound in a
    sense, like a man-made law that though it may be good for some, it may not be
    intended for everyone; sort of like the man-made rules that Jesus criticized of
    the Pharisees laying on the people.

    6. When we criticized, condescendingly put down those who do
    what we don’t agree with (ie. “well, the ABible says that there would be false prophets”),
    we could be guilty of slandering ministries that in God’s eyes, are bringing people
    into their buildings to hear the gospel and apparently many are being saved.
    “But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My
    name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on
    our side” Mark 9:39-40

  • rose

    hey me and my band( the moutan hloeys) need a place to play ower christian music. i am the manger my name is rose ann fryer.  i am 12 an my partern michele are a good band bt no place to share ouer music. plase e-mail me back at sponge1234526@yahoo.com! i am looking fowered to you e-mailing me back see ya 

  • Jratzsch42

    Jesus didn’t preach??? There was this amazing and greatest sermon of all time called “Sermon on the Mount”. You should totally check it out. 

    • Jratzsch42

      OK i sounded like a jerk there, but i was a little blown away by the Jesus didn’t preach comment. How do you think the 12 learned? Why did they call him teacher? Cause he was preachin all da time. 

      • Coffee Jones

         You also quoted him wrong.  “Jesus just didn’t teach and preach…”  The operable word there is just.

  • Thatwastaken_2

    I fear the,church is starting to conform to the world to reach people. Many people go to church b/c they want something different then what the world has been offering. When they walk to bits and peices of the world what are we offering as different. Why not use artist that sound like popular secular artist and give an alternative. We are supposed to shine our light b/c we are different. Jesus was contempary with how he taught but never conformed even a little bit to seem inviting. Life Church.Tv moto of Anything short of sin. Jesus says abstain from all appearances of Evil not walk in the grey area to reach people. I love lifechurch and I am grateful for what I was taught there and the people I served with. I fear the church is becoming more worldly and less discipleship orientaded. Churches everywhere not just Life

    • Thatwastaken_2

      I dont believe all secular music is bad some secular artist write very spiritual songs but you still have to be careful. And I dont think church should super stuffy. Just every minute should glorify God. I have heard some songs I would not let my neices and nephews listen too being played at church. I have heard people wanting something different at church and being disappointed they heard the same thing they heard on the way in by the world.

  • Elder Greg

    First, I will say that to use a secular song at church (in my humble
    opinion) is problematic. To me it sends a wrong message (or at best a
    mixed message) to both the Believer and the unbeliever. Second, if it is
    used as a part of an illustration (like Paul when he quoted secular
    author of his day on mars hill) then I can see that. Thirdly, some
    “secular songs” are “amoral”. By that I mean there are neither evil nor
    virtuous. Many love songs are like this, and all patriotic songs are. So
    if we sing the national anthem during church it would be alright. The
    context and words would dictate whether this type of secular song should
    be used. Lastly, the real issue here is the incorporation of secular
    songs/music as a part of a praise and worship time. Since this issue was
    brought to my attention a few months ago, I’ve done some research and
    found that most churches who do this say it’s to help the “seeker” find
    God. Come on! Kinda like pointing in the wrong direction! The second
    reason these churches give is the part that kinda makes me sick…. just
    because the leadership likes those songs. Really? In summery, praise
    and worship is the most interactive part of the entire congregation
    during a church service (bar none). We all sing together, we all lift
    our hands to a holy God together. It is the most unifying time we as a
    church have. So why would we even want to water down, dilute, and
    contaminate that with a Queen song “We Will Rock You” or Garth Brooks “I
    Got Friends in Low Places” (yes, really happens, do a YouTube search).
    Honestly, it grieves my spirit.

    And I agree that everything we do isn’t always, 100% “Christian”. But, I
    think the problem is when secular music is used in conjunction with
    Christian praise and worship (read my previous post). What we are seeing
    now with this is something that has never happened in the entire
    history of the church: that is to bring in something that is entirely
    secular (in this case secular songs) and using them for no other reason
    than “It helps the seeker feel more comfortable” or “We just like it”.
    Now the church has in the past taken the “secular” things and
    transformed them into something good (ie, Christmas, Easter, ect). They
    took pagan things and made them into something that pointed to Christ. I
    get that, I agree with that! We do the same with video clips, jokes,
    illustrations. But not with this latest fad. Now
    churches will actually start a service with a secular song. The
    spiritual implications here are staggering my young brother. This does
    “set the tone” for the entire service. Just as a symphony conductor will
    have one instrument play a specific note so that the whole symphony is
    on pitch, so the same thing happens when a church “band” plays and sings
    (without changing one word) “I’ve got friends in low places”. The
    spiritual tone is thus set, and everything else will follow suite. Also,
    understand that I am not against different styles of music.

    I just think the time we set apart to worship God on Sundays should be just that!

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