Christian Band or Christians in a band?

November 16, 2012 | By: David Michael

Intro:
There are many different opinions on this topic. For example, some will say, if a band has one or more members that are Christian then it’s a Christian band. Others would say a Christian band is a band that preaches the gospel from the stage. Then there are those in between that will base it on an array of different reasoning and ideas.

In this article we’ll take this topic head-on, but before we begin, it’s important to note that this is a subject-article based on one person’s opinion. I will attempt to share my personal view on the issue, but, as I said, you will find many who will agree and disagree. This is not an issue of division or discord, as I have many close friends and musicians that hold differing views, but it’s makes for a great topic of discussion and consideration. So with that said, let’s begin.

Christian Refuse and Buddhist Shoes

Is there a difference between a Christian band and just Christians in a band?….I say Yes. While a Christian is called to be an ambassador for Christ in all aspects of their lives; that doesn’t mean everything they do has to be classified as ‘Christian’. For example: if you are a Christian and you also own a garbage collection company, does that mean every Wednesday morning my wife should remind me that, “It’s Christian Garbage pickup today..”?

There are many well-known companies that are owned by Christians. Now, it’s true that their company policies might be influenced by biblical principles and Christian views, but, that does not make their business a religious business anymore than a Buddhist owning a shoe store would mean they sell Buddhist shoes.

Tacos with a Message

While a company cannot be considered religious simple based on the owners religious beliefs alone, it can, however, be classified as religious if the owner uses the company as a platform to spread their religious views. In other words, if a Christian owns a fast-food taco joint and they decorate the store with crosses, religious pictures and bible messages on the wrappers then it wouldn’t be unusual to call them Christian tacos.

Ummm? Christian tacos? Ok, I take that back, Christian tacos would be VERY unusual but I think you get the idea. A real life example would be the clothing industry. There are Christians that own and sell regular clothing for everyday people and there are other Christians that design and sell clothing with Christian messages specifically for a religious purpose. Both are owned and operated by Christians yet one would be considered a regular clothing company and the other is a Christian clothing company.

It Stands to Reason……

Being in a band is no different than the above examples that I mentioned. Whether band members realize it or not, a band is a business. If you are selling merchandise and/or getting paid to play then you are a business. (Ref: Mixing Business and Ministry with music). Therefore, it stands to reason that the same criteria apply to bands/artists as any other business. There are Christians who have a band solely because they enjoy making music; then there are Christians who also enjoy making music but also want to use it as a ministry platform.

Now, like a Christian who owns a regular business might be influenced by their beliefs, so it might be for a Christian in a regular band. Meaning, they might write lyrics that are positive and promote good causes and so on but that alone doesn’t mean they are a Christian band. It just means they are Christians in a band that allows their religious beliefs to influence how they conduct their business.

A Christian band, on the other hand, is Christians in a band using their business platform to also spread the gospel and biblical teachings/messages and views. They would likely use bolder lyrics, share their beliefs/testimonies from the stage and so on. Therefore, they would fall into the ‘Christian band’ category.

Can a Christian be in a Non-Christian band?

Is it wrong to be a Christian in a non-Christian band? There are some who will say that if you’re a Christian musician looking to be in a band then you should only be in a Christian band. Personally, I think that’s like saying a salesman who is also Christian can only sell bibles.

Here’s the thing, as I said earlier, as Christians we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Our lives and those around us is our ministry (so-to-speak) but that does not mean every Christian musician is called into music ministry. In fact, I would say some Christian musicians have no business being in ministry. If that is not your calling then you could do more damage than good.

Having said that, I think it’s important that Christians are careful not to put themselves into situations where they are compromising and/or being influenced in way that will hurt them spiritually. This can be said of any business, hobby or activity but perhaps even more-so in the music business. The music industry is often filled with negative influences that go directly against a Christian’s core beliefs. I’ve seen a lot of good Christians swallowed up by the music industry via compromise and bad influence. For that matter, this can be said of ‘Christians in a band’ and ‘Christian bands’. Simply put, music is an awesome form of expression and a powerful tool but the business side of the industry can be very destructive if your foundation is not solid.

Conclusion:

As I said in the beginning, this is by no means an issue of division per-say, but I do, however, think it’s important to distinguish the difference between the two types of bands. It’s my opinion that the Christian Music Industry is becoming flooded with so-called Christian bands that clearly should not fall into that category. As a result, half the time you can’t tell they’re a Christian band other than the title itself.

Now, the title ‘Christian music’ is a topic of its own that I have views on, but whether you agree or not with such a title like, ‘Christian Music’ it nevertheless is what it is and we roll with it. Therefore, there needs to be some form of definition to it. In many cases (not all) we see bands going with that title to get signed by a Christian record label simply because they can’t get signed by a secular record label. Then we see many labels (not all) go along with it because those bands can sell more cds because they’re not ‘killing sales’ by preaching the gospel. As time goes on we see the influence it has on future bands and labels. It begins to define what a Christian band and Christian Record label should be and do.

Again, as long as they’re not compromising, there’s nothing wrong if Christians just want to be a positive and/or neutral band but then just state that clearly because that’s not a ministry, and that’s ok. If the new definition of a Christian band is simply going to be ‘A band with one or more members that hold personal Christian views’ then there needs to be new categories to distinguish the difference: Christian Band and Ministry Bands? The last thing we need is more titles and categories.

In CHRIST,
~David Michael
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