Author mug
On Faith
Jack Waters

Christian music is faithful
in its message

I remember my first experience working in Christian radio in 1981. It was quite different from my few years at the old KPOI over on Ala Wai Boulevard. That's where I found what I knew I wanted to do in life: play the music, the music of a generation, my generation. Music of that day portrayed and, to an extent, helped shape those decades of the '60s and '70s, and I wanted to be right in the thick of it. But then something happened in 1975 that forever changed by life and how I looked at everything, even music: I become a Christian.

Slowly at first but surely, I began to realize that the message just didn't reflect or encourage what I now wanted most, to know God. It's not that the music wasn't good. It was GOOD. It's just that it didn't reflect who I was anymore or what I believed was most important. I had learned that God calls us to be a "chosen generation," following His son Jesus Christ and living by the principles of faith, hope and love. And few of the songs I knew even came close to such sentiments.

So, after a short hiatus from radio, I found myself at the old KAIM AM & FM building over on Harding Avenue in Kaimuki playing a different kind of music. I have to be honest with you, Christian radio in those days was a far cry from what it is today. It seemed like it was still trying to find its way. We played sort of a hodgepodge of musical styles at times, ranging from contemporary quartets to groups that were really excellent and rivaled the quality of almost any group in the secular world. There was the Second Chapter of Acts, the legendary Keith Green, Amy Grant and more. But back then, Christian radio still had a way to go to compete with what was on the rest of the radio dial, and for the hearts of the generation of the '80s and '90s. Still, it had this one great advantage. It was faithful in its message to bring glory to God, and that was enough.

Today's young people have the great advantage of having almost every musical style represented in Christian music. And it is GOOD! From jazz to rock to alternative to adult contemporary and even Hawaiian. And in the past decade a new "genre" has arisen peculiar to Christian music -- praise and worship -- music designed to not only appeal to the large crowd, but be sung by large crowds. I suppose you could call them modern hymns. And though still a small percentage of the overall market, each year, Christian music in all its forms continues to grow in appeal and diversity.

Music has always had the ability to speak to the heart, to express the deepest thoughts of the soul. I guess that's why the largest book in the Bible is a book of songs or "psalms." Christian music of today is still moving, motivating and challenging this new "chosen generation" with the faithful message that God is love, and His forgiveness is full and free to anyone who trusts in His son. And it's great listening to it, as well. My hope, my prayer is that they would take that message, live it and share it with their generation.

Jack Waters is operations manager of Salem Media of Hawaii radio stations, including 95.5 the Fish Christian music station, and an organizer of the Summer Youth Worship Bash next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Kualoa Ranch.

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