This post is directed toward all my Christian friends, and those that I have the privilege of posting with on the national message boards, Radio-Info and Radioinsight.
I have long wondered why one style of music is right and another is wrong when they both are used to glorify God?
A little bit about myself, at least as far as my walk with the Lord is concerned, I accepted Christ as my savior on June 6, 1980. Immediately before that I was going to a Southern Baptist church with my wife and her family. My wife's family is from West Virginia, and their favorite kind of worship music is Southern Gospel. I grew up in the Lutheran church, where they played mainly hymns, or traditional music.
Anyways, when I went to church we heard quartet music, and when the congregation sang, it was in four part harmony. Most were blissfully ignorant, and felt that that was most honoring to God.
Most of the people that went to church there were from the south and came to Northeast Ohio to get jobs at Ford, Chevy, Republic Steel, and the like. They brought their musical tastes with them.
Personally, I am as Northeast Ohio as the day is long. My parents and all my Grandparents were also from this neck of the woods. When I went to broadcast school, I wanted to be a big time rock and roll disc jockey. I had a ton of record albums at my house that you only heard on WMMS.
I met my wife in 1977 and as we were going together if I wanted to be with her on Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Wednesday night, I would be with her in church. The church was the afore mentioned Southern Baptist Church. Like everything else I've taken an interest in, I jumped in with both feet.
At the time there were three Christian radio stations in the immediate area-WSUM/1000AM in Parma, WTOF/98.1, Canton, and WCRF/103.3, Cleveland. WSUM and WTOF were owned by Mortensen Broadcasting. WSUM played contemporary music, WTOF played (Southern)Gospel music. I listened to both these stations when I could, and enjoyed such artists as Petra, Imperials, Cathederal Quartet, Kingsmen, Inspirations, Bill Gaither Trio among others. I was very diverse in my musical tastes. I always respected the people I now went to church with, and for the most part their music of choice was Gospel.
Being a "Buckeye" I've had debates with my father-in-law, who is a very good man, but the whole time I've known him has been very set in his ways. He didn't like contemporary music because it "sounded like rock-n-roll". I said that gospel sounded like country. He then corrected me by saying that country sounded like gospel(BTW, he doesn't own a computer).
Through the years I've been on both ends of the CCM vs. Southern Gospel debate. I can give solid arguments for both styles, and I also like hymns. They are all used to glorify God. If we give glory to the artist, then we've lost our focus.
Fast forward to 1996. WTOF was sold to Salem Broadcasting. They dropped most of the Gospel music, changed the calls to WHK-FM and was mainly a teaching/talk station. There was a minor uprising among church members and singers alike. I was told that station management toldd those that called to voice their displeasure that if they wanted Southern Gospel, start their own station. Salwem later relented, putting their "Solid Gospel" package on WHLO/640, until the station was sold to Clear Channel. In all fairness, a big money format it probably wasn't. The demo was aging and moving back to the south. But in fairness to those who remain, they lost a valuable ministry when the format left. My question, rhetorical as it may be, when should a ministry become a business, and vice versa.
I have adapted, as I mainly listen to WCRF, as their focus is to the adult comtemporary crowd.
Some haven't. You can get Southern Gospel on the internet, but there are some, such as my in-laws that don't own a computer.
I've posed the question on the national forums, and I get alot of attitude and alot of finger pointing. Matt Smith, moderator on Radioinsight.com gave an excellent response to a question I posed(however I forget to put a "t" in question, and didn't realize it until I couldn't edit my mistake). Click here for his response.
We have to learn how to minister to others, and sometimes that means going outside our own preferences.