Rediscovering CCM

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Contemporary Christian music (CCM)…

I used to be an avid listener of CCM back in the early 90’s. In those days, I was drawn to the wonderful lyrics of Petra, and how Michael Card’s songs allowed me to have fresh expressions of my faith. When I started teaching youth Sunday school classes in church around the same time, I used to give weekly CCM listening assignments to the youth and we would share about the songs we heard.

But the mid to late 90’s were not so kind. Some high profile Christian artists went through affairs, some had divorces, and some were found to be dishonest in handling money. Also, the lyrics started getting stale. At the same time, I was growing in my bass playing skills and I needed to listen to songs by better bassists. At the time, CCM music were not of very good quality. It was hard to find good bassists there. So I stopped my subscription to the CCM magazine, tuned my radio away from Christian radio stations, and switched to listening to Jazz.

Later, I did get involved in playing with many Chinese Christian musicians, mostly in worship settings. I even listened to worship songs to keep up with the latest. But my disappointment with CCM and that subculture never changed.

That’s why I’m at a loss to explain why I’m suddenly having more faith again in CCM these days. Maybe it’s because now that I’m in the iPod/iTunes era, I’m no longer listening to CDs but just MP3s, it’s easier for me to sample the best songs by a variety of artists. Also, it turns out the eMusic subscription service actually has a good selection of the latest Christian alt rock and hard rock bands’ music. So I think I’m starting to turn around. Maybe if I teach youth Sunday schools again, the whole thing will come full circle.

BTW, here are some good CCM bands/artists I’ve discovered recently via eMusic. Maybe you’ve already heard of some of these, but they’re relatively new to me, and they sound pretty good and have good content:

My Music (part 2): Digital Music
The Best Is Yet To Come

5 thoughts on “Rediscovering CCM

  1. Let me share some of my frustration with old Chinese Christian songs.

    During our recent trip to Florida, we have a chance to listen to some old ACM (Hong Kong) Christian songs on CDs. We have found the lyrics to be so self-focused (contrary to the focus of Moses’ Song in Exodus 15, Mary’s Song in Luke 1, etc.) that we are laughing at it. Comparing to the traditional hymns that are rich in theology, doctrines, and declarative contents, these songs are mostly focusing on “me” and “us”: my response, my feeling, what I/we need to do, etc. It is only now that we found them to be so self-absorbing. Rather than focusing on expressing ourselves, I wonder if you have found newer Chinese Christian songs that are less so and paying greater attention to the biblical expression of our faith?

  2. YES! MICHAEL CARD! haha he was one of my favorite! His songs were very “different” from many other CCMs with songs like “to the mystery” and “abba Father”.. I remember I taped one of his interviews on KLove too

  3. oh yea…..Michael Card is my favorite, too. He is different because, as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, he is committed to live and express Reformed Theology. His work is enriched by biblical-theological, historical, and confessional resources in his tradition. You can find his videos on YouTube, too. I like Rich Mullins, too.

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