Publication Date

Spring 2015


School of Music


Worship and Music Ministry


Church, Worship, Christian Music, Contemporary Christian Music, Christian Radio, Jesus Movement


Liturgy and Worship | Other Music


Music has been used for millennia to worship God. Today the words worship and music are almost interchangeable in American Evangelical churches. Christian music has become a growing genre with its own radio stations, billboard charts and awards, and recording artists who exclusively sing Christian songs. Church music has also changed drastically in the past century. The musical portion of a church service used to consist of hymns led by a choir and music director who is accompanied by a piano or organ. Now many churches have a worship leader who plans and leads the musical portion of the church service. The contemporary service consists of a full praise band performing Contemporary Christian music with added lighting effects, video, and amplification through a sound system. These changes, both in popular Christian music and in church worship music, are intrinsically linked. The Christian music industry and church worship music have become interconnected – as the industry continues to change with its surrounding culture, church music changes with it. This thesis will explore the history of contemporary Christian music and its connection with the church.