What is Contemporary Church Music

In today’s society there is a controversy regarding the type of music used in the church. This controversy stems from the use of traditional verses contemporary music. This has stirred up quite a bit of debate. In this article I want to share with your some thoughts and ideas regarding contemporary church music.

Music has always been an important part of many cultures since the beginning of time. Music mirrors culture. It reveals important issues and themes. It conveys the implications of various world views. Music tells us a great deal about our culture. Song lyrics are often used as a means for reflection, praise, disapproval, questioning, revolution, and many other beliefs or emotions.

Church music is intended to be a part of our worship. It is an important part of the worship service. The content of the songs are primarily based on the Bible. Now when you combine this concept with modern music, which is music that belongs to the present day and age, we get contemporary church music.

Contemporary church music is a genre of popular music. It is identified by the lyrical content and music style. What this new music provides is up to date music style that appeal to the current population. It offers the listener modern lyrics with a traditional biblical message. In fact this genre of music is more defined by the lyrics rather than the style of music. Keep in mind there is a wide variety of musical genres. Rock, jazz, country, rap, Broadway, folk, and classical provide us with a variety of listening and performing options. However a common theme common to contemporary church music is praise and worship to God and/or Jesus.

All through the Bible there are many examples of the importance of music. The Bible reveals that David played music for King Saul. This music soothed Saul and at other time the same sounds enraged him. Either reaction was purely based on Saul’s attitude.

Now part of the controversy is this. In the church today there are some who prefer more traditional hymns over the newer more modern songs. Some congregations try to blend the new with the old. Keep in mind that the content of the lyrics in either case is based on biblical scripture and doctrine. In reality the differences between contemporary and traditional really comes down to the style. And by style I mean the way the music is played and the type of instruments used as well as the song structure and melody.

Regardless of the style here are three things to keep in mind when considering song selection for your church.

* The songs must proclaim God’s Word
* The songs need to be appropriate to the worship service
* The songs need to mirror the belief of the congregation

When selecting songs for the worship service the most important thing to consider is not the musical style but the appropriateness of the lyrics in conjunction with the sermon topic.

Now the hope here is to help you understand that there are different styles of music. In the church that can range from traditional to contemporary. But the bottom line is that no matter what style the music it is the content of the lyrics that should be your primary consideration. What contemporary church music provides is a package that will appeal to particular cross section of today’s society.


John Pape from El Cajon California, an independent, self-managed Christian songwriter who creates worship and praise music for seekers and believers in the church. His music ministry mission is to create songs that will encourage a closer relationship to Jesus. The songs are crafted to encourage Christians in their daily walk. The songs provide a positive soundtrack for people’s lives. John’s songwriting drive is to honor God though words and music. His experience has grown over several years of honing the art of songwriting. In addition to writing songs, John also uses his musical gifts to lead worship in local churches. Currently John is working on a project to release several new Praise and Worship songs that were written to build and encourage Christians in their daily walk. John has loved music all his life. His first musical experience was playing the violin at the Bostonia Elementary School Orchestra and singing in the Glee Club. During high school John got a guitar. This began a new venture that has continued to this day. Learning all he could about the guitar and music John became a very competent musician. The enthusiasm for this instrument led him to become involved with various rock bands. At first these groups played popular cover tunes. Eventually, John’s desire to express more artistic creativity led him to collaborate with others to write original music. Out of this a home recording studio was created and at the same time the songs were being performed with a music group. Most of the venues were at local San Diego establishments. John is also author of the book “Building a House of Worship”. The book was written as a guide to Christian church worship leaders to better minister to the people they serve as they use their gift of music. “Music is a wonderful thing.” says John, “It has the unique ability to invoke emotions without any words. Add Lyrics and the words meanings are enhanced tenfold.” John continued to say, “Music is such an integral part of life. I love the creation of a new song.”

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