The Gospel Music Continuum – Part 1

Romans 12:2 NKJV

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If you are serious about music ministry and you’ve been to church, bought a Gospel or Christian CD, or turned on the Christian radio station, you already know what I’m about to say.  You hear a song, and suddenly you are somewhere in-between nodding your head (up and down) and shaking it (left and right) with probably a twisted smile because something about it – just – isn’t – right.

Dilemma, Dilemma…

We’re all human and we do enjoy good music no matter what the subject matter. However, because we are Christians we are often challenged to qualify our tastes as we attempt to hold it to the measure of God’s will for our lives.  “Wait!” you exclaim “Is this…? Yes, the classic debate regarding GOSPEL and SECULAR!” Before you go, I wan’t to challenge you to look back at the graphic.

(To the Conservative) “Secular” Ain’t so bad…

Actually it isn’t bad. Look it up. It simply isn’t explicitly God.  It lies somewhere in the middle of the overall picture. Let’s face it, if it has to do we with our purely human existence, it’s mainly secluar.  Eating, drinking, having fun right along with overeating, drunkeness, and riotousness.  Within the continuum of  Ungodly and Godly, secular just means that it might be good, might be bad.

(To the Liberal) “Gospel” music isn’t (necessarily) Godly…

Let’s be real. “Gospel” or “Christian” music is a genre used to qualify music in the largely secular music industry.  It does NOT qualify how “approved unto God” the song or artist is. Further there are artists (Christian or not) that make good music, whether it be entertainment or, dare I say it, ministry, without it necessarily being Gospel.

“So… should I stop listening to music?!?”

Let’s be adults, “The Alphabet Song” is secular but so is “O.P.P.”  “Encourage Yourself” is ministering, but so is “The Greatest Love of All.”  Many Gospel/Christian songs are Godly, but some are simply inspirational.

A better question… is it appropriate?

Somewhere between all of the above, our personal music collections give us our own answer.  We all have our tastes, even if sometimes we are conflicted with why we do or why we do not like a song, artist.  For the minstrel, I believe it is better to draw our lines in the sand using appropriateness as a measurement.  Just think of any controversial songs you may know and answer the following questions:

  • Is it appropriate for me to follow the artist?
  • Is it appropriate for me or others around me to listen to?
  • Is the content appropriate? ever?
  • Is now an appropiate time and place for this song?
  • Is it appropriate for the venue I am at?
  • Why or why isn’t this song appropriate?


continue to The Gospel Music Continuum – Part 2



9 thoughts on “The Gospel Music Continuum – Part 1”

  1. So on point! I can so relate to that initial processing that takes place in ur mind when a song walks that line. While u can never truly kno an artists heart or intent, i think the time and place rule is a great rule of thumb for all believers when it comes on to music choice. For us, there should never b a time to condone sin and that knocks out like 60% of modern music right there. But then there’s a time to glorify God and fix our minds entirely on him (i.e. sunday morning praise and worship, revivals, altar call, etc). And then there’s day to day life. Times when u want music to enhance or reflect a moment…hanging w friends, ur commute to and from work, working out, setting the mood with ur spouse. To everything there is a season and a time for everything under heaven. Cant wait for part 2.

  2. Hello Immanuel!

    This is VERY GOOD. If I may go even a little deeper. a TRUE, BIBLICAL MINSTREL understands the responsibility and obligation they have to be VERY DISCERNING through the Ministry of the Holy Spirit to pay careful attention to what they listen to because YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Even the songs that you casually listen to for the purposes of your own music appreciation/entertainment will invariably have an effect on who you are and subsequently what you do. As you know, in my book, I thoroughly cover the reality of how MINISTRY (this includes MUSIC MINISTRY) flows out of who are, how we live.

    I remember the time in my experience, as I was developing a Biblically-Based consciousness about music ministry, when the Lord directed me to cease listening to a particular group of Gospel/Christian Music Ministry Artists. I was crushed. Why? Because the music (the lyrics and the composition) were so cutting-edge and relevant to my generation’s experience at that time. When I inquired of the Lord as to why, He made it very clear that He did not want me influenced by the lives they were living. He directed me to another set of artists who were not perfect (none of us are) but were nevertheless making a sincere effort to consecrate themselves to LIVE WHAT THEY WERE SINGING/PLAYING ABOUT. When a Minstrel develops the ability to DISCERN what is musically appropriate for their personal life, they will develop that discipline for leading the local music ministry that they shepherd in the same direction.

    There is so much more that I can but thank God for this forum….


    1. I can’t wait to address some of the issues you’ve brought up. Of course, I’m laying the foundation in the first couple discussions. Can you check out the 3rd post in this series (“The Ministry/Entertainment Axis”). Of course, you know I have to give you some credit for expanding my understanding of this entire subject. You are a blessing!!

  3. Preach Pastor Butler! Thank you! I hope you’ll weigh in on this topic and others as I do plan going deeper. I agree, it is a challenge to be a minstrel if you are not discerning.

  4. Amazing article. I desire you up-to-date your blog significantly more often, I just cannot seem to be to acquire adequate of your blog. I preserved your blog in my bookmarks. Would it be feasible to do a guest post sometime?…

Comments are closed.