If you are new to Christian rock, please read this
post about the definition of Christian rock and some of the biggest questions about Christian music.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Secular Christian Rock

For this post, I want to talk about secular Christian rock music. First off, this is not an oxymoron. You can have secular Christian musicians. Secular Christian artists are simply musicians whose music is mainly in the secular market, instead of the Christian market. Most Christian rock bands choose to play music in both markets of secular and Christian. But, these five bands I want to share with you play solely within the secular market of music, without compromising their beliefs and faith.

The first band is Lifehouse. They first came to prominence in 2001 after the release of their first album No Name Face. Their first single, Hanging By A Moment, became the most played song of 2001. In their career, they have released five albums and sold upwards of fifteen million records worldwide.

Their lead singer, Jason Wade, was raised in a Christian home. Both of his parents were missionaries in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. When he was twelve years old, his parents moved back to the United States and soon divorced. This divorce drove Jason to begin writing poetry and learning how to play the guitar.

Instead of simply being labeled a Christian band, Jason Wade and the members of Lifehouse simply want to share positive music and let their listeners interpret songs for themselves. They want to have music that affects everyone, not just Christians.

This music video is of the song Broken. This powerful song is all about coming to Christ broken and empty and then finding healing in His name. The concept of this video is really cool. I won’t spoil the ending for you.

The second musician is Adam Young who is known as Owl City. Adam Young began writing music in his parent’s basement, to help with his insomnia. Before he was signed to the major record label Universal Republic Records, Adam Young released two independent albums. These albums soon became very popular on myspace, which attracted the attention of Universal. His major label debut, Ocean Eyes, sent Adam Young soaring into the spotlight. In the first week of its release, Ocean Eyes sold over 20,000 albums, and the single, Fireflies, sold over 60,000 units. Fireflies eventually sold over 600,000 units.

Adam Young believes his message is to simply bring praise and glory to Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the reason he creates music. “The Lord Jesus Christ is my reason for creating and I have nothing but thanks and gratitude toward Him for being allowed to do what I do, and ultimately, seize my wildest dreams as if they were just there waiting for me. I guess my whole message or goal of this whole operation is to bring glory to Jesus Christ by all that I do and say, not just as it relates to Owl City, but in all areas of my life,” said Adam Young in an interview.

This music video is of the song Fireflies. This song has many different meanings and interpretations. For me, I believe this song is simply about dreaming and how magnificent and beautiful dreams can be. This video is a fun video of Adam Young playing music surrounded by many toys coming to life.

The third group is the band The Fray. This group literally became famous overnight. The band was formed in 2002 and was signed to Epic Records in 2004. In 2005, the group released their debut album, How To Save A Life. This album went double platinum, selling over two million records. Their second record, released in 2009, did very well on the sales charts but not as good as their debut. Their second self-titled album went on to be certified gold, selling over 500,000 units.

The band believes their most important calling is to be relevant to their listeners. When lead singer, Isaac Slade first began writing music, all of his lyrics were Christian oriented. But, he soon realized that all his non-Christian friends did not know what he was talking about. So Slade began a radical change in the lyric writing of the band, so that everyone (Christians and non-Christians) could understand their music. The Fray does not want to be a band that simply just quotes Bible verses, but writes songs that relate to people's lives. “The Pharisees just quoted Bible verses. Jesus related the parables to people's lives. The people were drawn in by the plot development, character and conflict," said Slade.

This video I have for you is from their debut album. The song is the title track called How To Save A Life. This song came from a mentoring relationship Slade had with a kid in a Christian halfway house. This teenager just wanted to destroy himself. But thankfully, with the help of Slade and others, this teenager is on the road to recovery. This song is all about the trials, triumphs, and prayers of Slade while trying to mentor to this teenager.

The fourth group is called Daughtry. This rock band is fronted by season 5 American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry. After being voted off American Idol, Chris Daughtry and the band released their first album in 2007. The album went on to sell four million records and was named the number one selling album of 2007 by Billboard. Their second record, Leave this Town, was released in 2009 and has currently sold over one million records.

Chris Daughtry is a musician that is not openly Christian. With that said, Daughtry is a professed Christian. Before his band Daughtry, Chris was the front man for a band called Absent Element. This group had many songs, including some worship songs like Heart of Worship. Chris Daughtry does not openly share his faith with the public, but his faith definitely comes out in a lot of his songs.

The song I want to share with you is called Home off his debut album with Daughtry. This song definitely has duel meanings. The first meaning could be Daughtry is writing the song about physically going home to be with his wife. He wants to go home to be with his wife and family, where their love is always true and fulfilling. But, I also believe this song talks about an eternal love. This song could also mean that Daughtry has a longing to go home or to heaven to be with Jesus Christ because His love is true, unfailing, and forgiving. The video features many backstage and live shots of the band throughout touring.

The final group is called The Rocket Summer. This is a solo project of Stephen Bryce Avary. On all of his albums, Stephen performs all the instruments and does the vocals. For live shows, however, he does have a band that plays with him. The Rocket Summer has released four full length albums and two EPs. His big break came in 2007 when he released the album Do You Feel. The album debuted at number forty-four on the Billboard 200 and sold 15,000 units in its first week.

Stephen cites the reason for signing with a mainstream label was the possibility of connecting with everyone who hears his music, not just Christians. “It was a deliberate choice to sign with a mainstream label first. I didn't feel it was right at that time [to sign with a Christian label]. I knew that I wanted this to be something to connect with people that didn't go to church or know Christ,” said Avary.

The song and video I want to share with you is called Do You Feel. This song is simply about waking up from complacency and changing the world. It is about having a heart for the world, and a desire to feel and even change the world’s problems. The concept for the video is very simple. It features musicians and ordinary people with different messages written on their hands. 

I hope you enjoyed my look at secular Christian music. These are not all the Christian bands that are in the secular market. There are many other bands including: The Devil Wears Prada, Switchfoot, P.O.D., Paramore, MXPX, The Almost, 12 Stones, Anberlin, Mae, and more. These bands choose to be solely in the secular market without compromising their faith and belief in Jesus Christ.


  1. Wow! What an excellent article. Thank you very much for writing this -- it was exactly what I was looking to read.

    I think it's a great idea for bands to sign to secular music so they don't isolate their listeners and 'pick-and-choose' certain demographics. Needless to say, I guess it's something you're called to do one way or another.

    I actually knew of all these bands except for the The Rocket Summer -- who I'm listening to right now.

    Another band that I do believe is Christian would have to be Good Charlotte; their song "We Beleive" has strong Christian references, as well as "The River"; likewise,Relient K's 'Be My Escape' was a very popular 'secular' song -- because it wasn't specifically on Christian radio, I was able to hear it a few years ago and it eventually lead me to Christ.

    Again, thanks for writing this; it was an excellent read.

  2. First I want to say thank you for reading and commenting! In today's world of music, more and more Christian bands are moving toward the secular market. They believe they can have a greater impact by playing non-Christian shows and touring with non-Christian bands.

    I am glad that I was able to introduce you to a new group. I am a huge fan of the Rocket Summer. Relient K has had hits in both the Christian and secular markets. But, I agree that Be My Escape is definitely their most popular secular song.

    Thanks for sharing with me about accepting Christ. I think that is awesome that a song you heard on the radio led you to Christ. That is why I am such a firm believer in Christian rock. I believe God is really using Christian rock to have a profound impact on this world. Thanks again and God bless!

  3. WONDERFUL ARTICLE!! I have a blog of my own and I was googling articles on this very subject (with many of the bands you mentioned,) when I found your post. I am definitely re-blogging this to add to my post. I am glad someone finally addressed this issue. This is a huge market that we as christians need to support more! We can be influnencing our friends positively towards Christ by listening to the music they already listen too! Thanks again! and my blog is www.divinedatingforgirls.blogspot.com

  4. Thanks for reading and sharing this with me! A big thank you for re-blogging this! I really think this is a lost issue. A lot of Christians today sadly disregard music if it is not solely in the Christian market, or if it doesn't have so many Jesus mentions. I agree that this is a huge market that Christians need to support more. I will definitely go check out your blog! Once again thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. http://divinedatingforgirls.blogspot.com/2011/04/100th-post-give-away.html

  6. Amazing article!!!!! Thank you so much!

  7. Thanks for reading! I greatly appreciate it!

  8. wow it's great to read, always looking to find info on Chritians within the secular media Gpod bless u for this!

  9. Thanks for reading! Yes, that was my purpose for writing this article. I wanted to really spotlight Christian bands who were in the secular world of music. God bless!

  10. Well done. I truly appreciate this article. I'm a senior pastor working on my doctoral dissertation, which is about Christian musicians "salting" their workplace (e.g., studio, stage, "shed", sanctuary, etc.). I am interviewing artists in all genres of music, and hope to produce a book that will be helpful and encourage them to be positive influences in their work environments. To this end, your article was very insightful. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for commenting and sharing this with me! I appreciate it. Good luck on your doctoral dissertation! I love the topic of Christian musicians salting their workplace. As Christians, I think we should always be sharing our faith and having an impact on others, no matter what workplace we find ourselves in. Once again, thanks for reading! I wish you the very best of luck on your dissertation.

  12. Me parece un buen articulo, Soy Colombiano y acá, en muchas oportunidades, no se tiene un amplio conocimiento sobre lo que es cristiano y lo que no lo es en el ámbito musical. Gracias a Dios por aquellas bandas que siendo cristianas entran en lo secular para compartir e influenciar con mensajes positivos a aquellas mentes que lo necesitan!!!

  13. Thank you for sharing with me! I appreciate it. I completely agree with you. Thank God for musicians who are open about sharing the Gospel. It's amazing to see how Christ is constantly winning people all over the world. I hope you can read my message. I did the best I could trying to translate it from English for you. Thanks again for sharing!

    Gracias por compartir conmigo! Se lo agradezco. Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted. Gracias a Dios por los músicos que están abiertos a compartir el Evangelio. Es increíble ver cómo Cristo está constantemente ganar a la gente en todo el mundo. Espero que puedas leer mi mensaje. Hice lo mejor que pude tratando de traducir de Inglés para ti. Gracias de nuevo por compartir!

  14. Thanks for reading! I still love the song Higher by Scott Stapp and Creed.

  15. don't let some of the southern baptist websites see this, they'll be convinced you'll be goingt to hell listening to anything with a good rhythm. good article.

  16. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, sadly some Christians are against Christian rock. I have talked to many Christians who think people who like Christian rock are going to Hell. But, I love it, and I know God is doing great things through it!

  17. What about Switchfoot? I think they are one, if not the, most popular and well know cross over bands. Great article! And thank you for your faith!

  18. They are definitely one of the most popular cross over bands. Since I only picked five, there were so many more great bands that I could of chosen. Flyleaf, P.O.D., Switchfoot, Underoath, August Burns Red, etc. If I ever do a second post of Secular Christian Rock, Switchfoot will be at the top of my list! Thank you for the comments! They mean a lot!

  19. Just read this article. Wonderful, been finding secular Christian Band List for hours, this satisfied me. God Bless you bro, keep rocking for God!

  20. Thank you! Keep rocking for Jesus!

  21. This helped me with my paper for school! Thanks :)

  22. I am so glad you brought this to our attention. It's very important that non Christians here about Crist and this may be the only place they get it, through secular bands. Thank you

    1. Thank you Debbie for your support and comments. I am a firm believer that God uses many different types of avenues to draw people to Him and His truth. There are even secular bands who exist for God's glory and praise.