We play quite a lotta secular stuff at church, often with lyrics changed to Christian content. Which is great as many people recognise them and enjoy them

I see a lotta people here don't listen to secular music. So i just want to see what people feel in general about playing secular stuff in church?

Any comments welcome :)

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Your view is not Biblically sound. Jesus was fully man, but He was also fully God. The New Testament is quite clear regarding this. It is the very foundation for the Christian faith.
I am very curious what faith you belong to, and how you happened upon this site.
We have and still do use secular songs in worship. What we have done is use those as a pre-service song at times, or even during the service as a special if its something that works. One of our worship leaders has a voice that sounds like Martina McBride, and she can rip "Anyway" just like her, and what we have found using songs like that, when people hear those secular songs that they have heard us cover at church, then it brings them back to that point in time, kind of like a hook of a song. Sticks in your head. So, for many people now that hear the song "Anyway", they remember back to hearing it at church. For those who may have not been to church in a while, might prompt them to return. For those struggling, now even secular radio can remind them of what happened the day they heard that song at church.

A few weeks ago one of our teams did a U2 song. Same kinda thing, when that song is heard now out on the radio or wherever, it will have that hook to remind the people of the service they heard it at our church.

God can use anything he wants too! He created everything.

I agree with you on the concept. I do wonder, however, if the first time the people heard a particular songs was in a wild party full of booze, sex and drugs, and they hear the same song in church... Wouldn't there be a chance for the hook to work both ways?

Anyway, as I said, for my two boys 'sexyback' is now 'babyback' in their minds. And Eminem's 'Without me' is my elder boy's personal motto... at least until the day I sit him down and explain to him what the rest of the song says. :) But that's OK (at least for me) because I have full control which way the hook goes with my two boys at least.

I am not disagreeing with you, Mike, but I'd like to see if you have found some way to make the hook operate one way, the best way. :)
Thanks for the reply, and funny with the choices that you used for the "sexyback". My pastor just did a series a few months back called "Lets take sexy back". It was a incredible series about Gods intentions for marriage and the sexual relationship. Another way to flip your choice about the "what if they heard a particular song at a wild party full of booze...." What if they had... .and this song brought it back to mind and since that song had something to do with the series (which is why we pick the songs we do, as they relate to the series) then perhaps it will remind them of that so that it can lead them to repentance in area's that need it.

Good conversation though. THanks.
Hey everyone,

I just read all of your replies and thought this was a pretty interesting topic...it's actually one that interests me more than most!

So, I'll jump on in here...

What bothers me most about the discussion so far are the terms "secular" and "christian" music. I can't help but ask what the difference is and why this segregation was made??

Does everyone not have a story to tell through their music? Or does everyone not have something in their life that's so important that they want to express it using more than words...?

For example: Chris Tomlin has been so moved by the work that God has done in his life that he writes songs like "How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise?", where at the same time Usher has spent his life in a "celebrity lifestyle" hanging out in high class establishments with all kinds of women and, therefore, writes songs saying "I wanna make love in this club."

If an artist that's a Christian who writes a good song that gets airplay mostly on a "secular" radio station...is that artist "of the devil?" Ex: The Fray, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Lifehouse, Daughtry

I think I agree with Mike earlier who said that music is "amoral." I think the difference is what we do with the music. I think for songs like "Love in this Club" by Usher, when we listen to those songs and start making those lyrics words from our own mouth, that's when the song becomes more than just an "amoral" object. If I start singing that song and it starts becoming true words out of my mouth, then the song becomes my song and not the songwriter's. But, on the flip side if I hear the Chris Tomlin song and I start making those words my own and singing them to our God or professing them in worship amongst my fellow Christians, then the song becomes my own, but it's a good thing!

Either way, the songs are just a tool...

We've been working on a sermon series in Job that we're calling "the unfinished faith" and we're using Natasha Bedingfield's "unwritten" as the theme music for the series. The lyrics portray the exact meaning that we're trying to get across in the sermon series. So, are we "of the world" by using these lyrics?

Another song that I listened to recently that really surprised me (mainly because I've never actually paid attention to the lyrics before) is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. It's been labeled an explicit song and we tell everyone in the church not to listen to music like this because it's a "secular" song from a crazy secular band, but check this out...

"I walk a lonely road, the only one that I have ever known
don't know where it goes, but it's only me and I walk alone
I walk this empty street on the boulevard of broken dreams
where the city sleeps and I'm the only one and I walk alone...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometime I wish someone up there will find me
Until then I walk alone..."

Is that not powerful? It shows that even the "idols" in our world are crying out for help from God or from his church to find them.

I guess I'll wrap up by saying that I understand where pretty much everyone is coming from in all the replies previously, mainly because at some point in time I've probably felt the same way on all ends of the spectrum. But what I've come to realize is that it's our motives and heart behind the use of these songs, "christian" or "secular," that really determine whether these songs are right or wrong, or have a place in the church.

Thanks, to all of you who read my full response...I look forward to some more good discussion.

- Tyler
The "Jesus is my boyfriend" theory... Interesting, never thought about that before! :) You do know that is only a short step from saying "Jesus, you are my best friend". I seem to remember a song with that as the chorus... :) And what would you say to that? You can be blunt here.

Personally to me I'd say that is damning with faint praise. My 6 year old still can't understand why I feel so pissed when he says that I'm his best friend. "It's something good, Daddy! Why cannot?"
I think I should clarify... I don't know that I've ever considered using a song out of context (i.e. taking a song intended for a girl and singing it to God), although I don't know that it's necessarily a bad thing if it's really coming from the heart. But, for the most part, I only consider using songs (secular or christian) for the written intent. If it's a song written to worship God, then it's a song we will sing straight to God. If it's a song telling a story and it fits with a sermon series we're doing, we'll use it as either a fun or powerful way to emphasize the series (after all, music can say more than what words alone can say).
If you want one I'll sing in church anytime and totally unabashed, it's "I need you" by Leanne Rimes. :) I'm trying to memorize the lyrics, love them! It's just that the vocal range is too large for the average congregation member, otherwise it's a great worship song... :)
OK...not to sound stupid-obvious, but we've used "Turn Turn Turn" by the Byrds during a sermon series on Ecclesiastes.

When our mission team did their report on flood relief work a couple of weeks ago, the part of the slideshow showing the "after" photos was accompanied by U2's "Beautiful Day."

I'm not going to use secular songs all the time, but there can be a time and a place. They must be chosen judiciously. In some ways it's no different than using clips from popular movies as sermon illustrations...choose wisely, and don't go overboard.

My 2 cents worth (less taxes and inflation)
I see you are well-informed in this area. Thanks for sharing this information! How about writing about these artists and posting it up on your blog on this site? This way we'll have a handy reference. :)

Music is a creation and a gift from God, and Satan has perverted that gift. Music in it's self is not evil, it's the lyrics that change the meaning of songs. It's the intent of the heart and the message that must be scrutinized. I play alot of secular songs and there are some that I won't play because of the message in the lyrics. I have also changed lyrics to Christian lyrics. I recorded a version of "You've Got Another Thing Coming" by Judas Preist and changed the lyrics to "Jesus The King Is Coming". A lot of people that I have shared this version with seem to really like it because they recongnize the song.

God has given us a powerful way to share our faith and His Word with a lost a dying world. By using popular songs and changing the lyrics to lift up the name of Jesus is powerful. God's Word will never come back void and He will use us and music in any form or fashion to accomplish His Will.

Mark Kozma
This is a great question. Personally I don't see a problem with using secular songs in a service and have infact used them many times myself. However hpw they are applied is the key in my opinion. We use these type songs as "kickoff songs" fun songs designed to gather everyone's focus from the chattering and fellowship to the fact that the service is beginning. We also use these songs as "specials" to enhance the message of the preacher and applications like that. for example, a few weeks ago our pastor was preaching a salvation message and was going to talk about how Jesus's death and ressurection will "fixed" our problems, so jsut before the pastor came up to preach we did the song "Fix You" by Cold play because it focused everyones's attention on the message they were about to hear.

I don not however like using these songs as part of the quote "worship set" I feel like this is a time that people should be fosucing on God and if you throw a secular tune in the middle of that, everyone's focus is shifted from Him and now they are focusing onteh music. We shoudl be creating an environment during that time that allows for a little distraction as possible. we should do eveything in our power to become invisible to the congregation.

Just my thought.


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