I remember the moment perfectly. After all when you are 7-years-old, have just been introduced to Doctor Who and there is a boom outside your house, you think the worst. Was it an earthquake? Was it a bomb? Was the world ending? But no. It was the first beat of the bass drum of the Salvation Army band that was about to march up my road.
Now, when you are 7-years-old and feeling bored on a Saturday morning, you think that a marching brass band is the coolest thing you have ever seen. I begged my mother to take me to wherever they came from, and pretty soon I was attending Sunday school at the local Salvation Army corps on a regular basis.
Sometimes I say that Christian music saved my soul because there was a causal chain of events between that brass band and my coming to understand the gospel message. William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, supposedly asked the question "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?" (the quote has also been attributed to John Wesley and Martin Luther).
Booth wanted The Salvation Army to take inspiration from the music halls of their day and synthesised a new way of connecting the never-changing gospel with the ever-changing culture. It has prompted all sorts of responses, but God made sure that it worked for me, aged 7-years-old.
Perhaps that's why I was excited to hear about a new documentary film from Lionsgate exploring the origins of contemporary Christian music.
The film traces the journey from the hippy counter culture and its impact on churches in the US in the 1960s. It highlights the impact of people like Larry Norman, Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, DC Talk, all the way up to the current impact of Hillsong.
I particularly like the way the film helps to contextualise the changes in culture, music and politics with the Church's worship, and the whole thing is shot beautifully.
If you are someone that appreciates Christian worship music you will enjoy the backstory to some of the songs you love and the artists that created them.
If you are someone who doesn't know much about the scene then maybe, like me, the little boy listening to the Salvation Army band outside of my house, this film might help you to encounter the God that can inspire both the musical genius of Mozart and Handel but also the crashing guitar chords and pop-based worship songs.
The Jesus Music is available to stream on all good digital platforms from December 13th.To explore further, the themes in this film, then consider downloading this free Faith Guide.