The Long Arms of CCM by Alan Scott

The Long Arms of CCM

As CCM listeners, we all come from various backgrounds.   Let’s face it, if we were interviewed during a focus group setting, we would realize we CCM lovers are a bag of mixed nuts.  Our religious and denominational affiliations and history are varied.  It’s safe to say, broad and deep.

CCM is a tool God utilizes to bring us all together under His colorful musical banner, no matter if churched or not.  As a perfect example, one can look no further than the current Contemporary Christian Music artists themselves.  The truth is we all have a variety of church music experiences.

At my church during the late 60s and 70s, CCM was looked upon as counterfeit Christian music. The only musical artists allowed to minister in our church in those days were chorales (small choirs), solo artists who sang soft arrangements of hymns, choral pieces and southern gospel artists. 

I recall in 1976, when I was 16 years old, I had purchased an instrumental cassette of Andrae’ Crouch’s “My Tribute – To God Be The Glory.”  It was a soft ballad with a beautiful orchestral accompaniment.  No resident solo artist in our congregation had ever used an accompaniment track at that point, only using the piano and organ with the occasional acoustic guitar.  When the music director was told I wanted to use a pre-recorded track for my scheduled solo in an upcoming Sunday morning service, I was told the pastor had to hear it for his approval. Before I move on let me state, it gave me a sour feeling in my belly as I was already an accomplished vocalist in my high school, often arranging a live band as back-up.  You can imagine what happened.  The pastor sat in on a run-through in the sanctuary as I presented the, now, classic song.  He didn’t allow it.  After all, it had a brass section in the orchestra and timpani, as well. 

At 16, I knew immediately there was an extreme fear that existed, along with extreme judgment, concerning selected instruments in the worship service.  Of course, I also recognized musical hypocrisy as my pastor and music director listened to Doug Oldham or Bill and Danny Gaither records, all of which had good production with full orchestra and percussion.  Honestly, I could’ve allowed their musical bias to brew deeply into bitterness to the point of leaving the church, but God had other plans.  My love for CCM artists grew as I continued to push updated music in my church.  Ten years later I would be headlong into joining the CCM radio industry serving up the best Christian artists cutting through the music bias in our churches in order to reach our generation on a musical level that could draw the ear.  In 1987, I was honored to be part of the on-air staff of KOJO/Dallas/Ft Worth, which in 1989 would be KLTY, as it still shines today.

In the next couple of weeks we will discover more of how CCM broke out of a rough birthing experience, gaining the ear of the church and who would be the pre-Christian community. 

Needless to say, the CCM infant had long arms wrapping itself around the redeemed and the seekers on their search for God.  The movement continues to grow to this very day. 

When were you introduced to CCM?  Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.

In His Grip,

Alan Scott

CCM Classic

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