Are you aware of the fact that a revolution occurred in Christian music in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s? And are you aware of the fact that it ultimately impacted churches all across America?
I want to introduce you to two of the people who were involved in that revolution. These are musicians who became pioneers of Contemporary Christian music.
I don’t know if you were around in the late 1960’s, but it was a very exciting time in the history of modern day Christianity. Shortly after the Six Day War in Israel in 1967, the Holy Spirit began to move mightily on the hearts of young people all across this nation, including young Jews in their teens and twenties. The result was a massive wave of evangelism that resulted in tens of thousands of young people giving their lives to Jesus. This mighty move of the Spirit came to be called the Jesus Movement. It ultimately impacted churches of all kinds all across America.
Worship music before that time was provided almost exclusively by pianos and organs. Suddenly, churches started introducing other instruments like guitars and (horror of all horrors) drums. Unfortunately, this led to church splits when some people dug in their heels and said, “You are going to introduce guitars over my dead body!”
One of the Christian leaders who saw the significance of the Jesus Movement and seized onto it at its early stages was Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel Churches in California. He began reaching out to the thousands of hippies who had migrated to California and started telling them that the greatest high in life was not drugs, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They responded with enthusiasm, and he began holding huge baptismal services on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean.
Many of these young people had great musical talents, and they were eager to use those talents to praise the Lord. One of those persons was the featured musician at our 2016 Bible Conference. He is a living example of the amazing, and miraculous power of God to change lives. The person I am talking about is Chuck Girard, a legendary figure in Christian music. Chuck is a singer, songwriter, recording artist and worship leader. He was also one of the pioneers of Contemporary Christian music.
When Chuck Girard appeared on the scene in the late 1960’s, there were basically only two forms of Christian music. There were the Southern Gospel quartet groups like the Blackwood Brothers and there were individual singers like George Beverly Shea, who specialized in singing hymns.
Chuck was born in Los Angeles. He was raised in a legalistic denomination and had burned out on religion by the age of 15. That’s when he discovered rock and roll and decided to devote his life to it. In his teens, he formed a group called The Castells, which had two national top 20 hits.
This led to a successful career as a studio singer and musician, which included singing the lead vocals on The Hondells first two albums and their biggest hit, “Little Honda.”
In his early twenties, Chuck became disillusioned with life, and like so many of his generation, he began experimenting with drugs. This led to a five-year search for God through LSD, eastern religion, and a committed hippie lifestyle. His search ended in 1970 at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa where he found true spiritual reality through accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior.
His band members came along with him on this spiritual journey. Previously playing night clubs, preaching peace and love and LSD, they now had a new way to find God. They now had a new message, and with this change helped blaze the path for the beginnings of what would become known as the Jesus Movement and Contemporary Christian music. The group was called Love Song, and Chuck sang with them for three years before launching a solo career with the first album simply titled, “Chuck Girard.” It was this album that contained his most renowned song “Sometimes Alleluia.”
While Chuck Girard and others like him who had come out of the Hippie Movement were creating new forms of Christian music in California, the same thing was happening in the central United States in Cincinnati, Ohio. Young hippie Jews were accepting Jesus, or Yeshua, as they called Him as their Messiah. One of those young Jews was Joel Chernoff, who was a very gifted songwriter and singer. He and a Jewish friend of his formed a group called Lamb, and Joel began to create a whole new genre of music called Messianic.
I had the privilege of interviewing Joel back in 2007, and in that interview, he told about how the great move of the Holy Spirit occurred in the late 1960’s following the Six Day War in 1967.
To learn how the Six Day War caused a sudden explosion of Messianic Judaism, watch Christ in Prophecy!