Last weekend I was working in my yard, listening to Pandora set to “shuffle.” Because one of my stations is “60s Oldies Radio,” I wound up getting Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” drifting into my earbuds.
I couldn’t reach into my pocket fast enough to hit the thumbs down icon on my iPhone. I hate that song and everything it stands for. Plus, since I was about 25, I’ve been committed to guarding my heart with my entertainment choices, and that includes the music I listen to. I strongly believe that to honor the Lord, my musical choices should be either positive or neutral. Nothing objectionable. But as I mentioned, sometimes problematic tunes slip in.
I don’t just listen to secular oldies. If you were skimming through my Pandora stations you’d notice Chris Tomlin Radio and Hillsong United Radio, too. As you can tell, I don’t listen to Christian music exclusively, but I do listen to a lot of it. While jogging recently, I closed out my run with Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons.” I love that song because it reminds me that there are an infinite number of reasons why our loving Heavenly Father deserves praise!
I hope you listen to Christian contemporary music, too. A lot of it. If you don’t, I’d like to encourage you to do so.
When I started working for Plugged In here at Focus on the Family almost 25 years ago, our team was the new kid on the media-discernment block. Although there weren’t many voices encouraging the Body of Christ to make healthy entertainment choices (and there still aren’t), there were a few. One of those was my (now) good friend Al Menconi.
Menconi has championed the concept that, as believers, we’d be better off if we listened to Christian music. In his 35 years of ministry, he has spoken to more than a million people and closed nearly every message with a challenge for his listeners to consume CCM. In his book, The Christian Music Challenge, he spells out why he’s such a fan. He believes that listening to Christian music might cause a revival of sorts, both personally and nationally. I can’t do justice to what Menconi spent an entire book unpacking, but here’s what he writes:
The Bible promises us peace when we keep our minds on Christ.
When we, as Christians, start listening to a lot of Christian music, we begin to focus on life from a biblical worldview.
Our lives will begin to change when we’re led by the peace of God. We can start to see all of life from His perspective.
Others will notice the difference in our lives and will want to know how they can attain peace in our chaotic world.
I think Menconi is on to something.
Knowing that many of us need a tangible goal to propel us toward listening to more (if not exclusively) CCM, Menconi developed something years ago that he calls the 30-Day Christian Music Challenge. In a nutshell, he encourages fellow believers to listen to only Christian music for a month and at the end consider if the experience has been a boost in one’s spiritual growth.
Al has collected a boatload of testimonies from the many who’ve taken up his challenge and found the experience life-changing. I’ll close with one from Ray in Rochester, New York:
Your [Christian Music Challenge] not only changed my entertainment choices but it opened a whole new path where my spiritual life grew. I had no idea of the options (especially in music) that were available! Suddenly there were relevant songs, lyrics and artists! Your information came at a crucial point in my spiritual life. My faith was being stunted. With these new outlets I found myself spending more time in prayer, everywhere. Speaking to God, singing to God in the car, between meetings at work, a lot more than I believe I ever would have. All of that because of your challenge.
How about you? Are you ready to take up the challenge? If you do, email me in a month and let me know how it went. (firstname.lastname@example.org)