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Intersection of Life and Faith

Listen for God in Secular Music

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 27 Jul
Listen for God in Secular Music
When you switch on the radio or pop in a CD of secular music, you can hear a surprising amount of thoughts on relating to God. Contemporary Christian music has long been popular among the faithful, but secular music often broadcasts the musings of people who are searching for God. When you listen carefully to secular music, you can discover clues about how to reach out to them.

Here are some ways you can use secular music in ministry:

  • Take secular music seriously. Realize that even though some of it can be offensive, people are singing about genuine thoughts and feelings that reflect the views of many other people who are searching for God. Don't ignore secular music just because it's secular; listen with interest and objectivity.

  • Whenever you hear a song that mentions some aspect of relating to God, take some time to ponder its message. Consider what needs underlie the thoughts and feelings the song expresses. Then ask God to bring to mind other people you know who are struggling with those same thoughts and feelings. Ask God to help you better understand those people and to reveal ways you can help point them to Him.

  • Listen to how secular music portrays God. Compare each song's portrayal with the truth revealed in Scripture. If a song portrays God inaccurately, think about why that might be so. Ask God to show you how to sensitively guide people who don't truly know Him into a real relationship with Him so they can discover who He is. Actively seek to know God more yourself each day. Think about one thing you've recently learned about God that surprised you, then consider how you might share that insight with others.

  • Think about the social issues that secular songs address, such as war, greed, hunger, racism, and disease. Then consider how well the worldwide Christian community is responding to such issues, and resolve to make a positive contribution yourself.

Adapted from Facing the Music: Faith and Meaning in Popular Songs, copyright 1999 by Darrell W. Cluck, Catherine s. George, and J. Clinton McCann, Jr. Published by Chalice Press, St. Louis, Mo.,, 1-800-366-3383.

Darrell W. Cluck is pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and conducts "Facing the Music" seminars throughout the United States. Catherine S. George is a student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. J. Clinton McCann, Jr., is Evangelical Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

What is a secular song you've heard recently that presents thoughts and feelings on relating to God? What message does the song present? How could you use that song to reach out to someone who is seeking God? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.