Different Types of Christian Music: A Look at the Genres

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Christian music is an expression of our faith in the trinity and is an outlet to praise and bring glory to the Father.  Christian music also is written to encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in their walks with the Lord.  What makes a song Christian is simply the lyrics.  The content of what is sung must be congruent with the principals of God and His Holy Word.  So, let us look at some of the different styles of Christian music that bring glory to God.

Praise/Worship Music

This well-known type of music is used widely in church services.  This style is dedicated to beautifully arranged musical themes and lyrics that help us focus on God as we sing to Him.  Most praise music today uses drums, electric guitars and acoustic guitars with some piano too.  This style is widely accepted by Christians abroad.  Some of the artists you may sing songs of in church include: Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, The David Crowder Band and Michael Gungor.  These are just a handful of the many talented artists that have impacted the kingdom with praise/worship music.

Genres of Christian Music

“Lift up your hands to the Holy place and bless the Lord!” (Psalm 134:2)

Gospel Music

Gospel music has really upbeat tempos or very somber, “soulful” tempos.  It is full of piano, organ, drums and vocal harmonies.  There is much to appreciate in this style for it is sung with such admiration to our Father.  I have been to churches predominantly attended by African Americans and I always love it!  The gospel choirs make you smile for the joy that they radiate.  You cannot attend a gospel choir without feeling that joy welling up inside of you.  Some gospel artists include: Marvin Winans, Andrae Crouch, and Marvin Sapp.


Rap music is widely known for its emphasis on lyrical expression and rhymes with the use of synthesized sounds and bass.  When coupled with the life of a Christian spreading the gospel, it is a wonderful genre of music.  An artist that is worth looking at is Lecrae.  His song “Don’t Waste Your Life” is an honest one about living a genuine Christian life and not wasting the time we have here on meaningless stuff.  When you watch the video for this song (In The Upper Right Corner of this page), you can see how authentic for Christ he is and how talented he is too.  This is why I have chosen this lyric video on this article.  It also features UK’s Dwayne Tryumf in the song.


Christian pop music is heard all over Christian radio today.  It features a wide array of instruments including: synthesizers, piano, drums, drum machines, bass, violin, guitar and many others.  Most songs are very catchy and have upbeat tempos to draw you in.  Some artists worth checking out are Britt Nicole, Rachel Chan, Tenth Avenue North, Brandon Heath, Matthew West and Sanctus Real.


Blues music is well known but not as well known in Christian music.  Blues music doesn’t change a whole lot and you can always tell when you hear it.  Songs are always very upbeat or very slow and sorrowful sounding.  Blues music uses mostly drums, elec. Guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals.  Blues music incorporates the “12 bar blues” in many songs.  One band that I must mention is “The Rex Carroll Band”.  Rex Carroll made his debut through a band called “Whitecross” back in the 80’s.  There he established his unmatched guitar playing.  After “Whitecross”, he formed “The Rex Carroll Band” where he really brought the blues into Christian music.  An artist of old is Rev. Dan Smith.  He is a gospel blues artist that started in the early 60’s.  He was one of those “tell you how it is” guys, and he does just that in his music.


This is by far my favorite genre.  Christian metal is one of the bigger influences in junior highers and high schoolers of the church today.  The music is very heavy and incorporates mostly elec. guitar, drums, bass and vocals.  There are many kinds of metal, but they all incorporate intense drumming and guitar solos, along with awesome heavy breakdowns in between.  Kids want to see real Christians.  When kids find out I love metal, they already share a bond with me.  It is like bikers when they wave to each other.  They have a bond over motorcycles.  There are so many bands to choose from, but here are a few worth checking out: Living Sacrifice(1997-present), As I Lay dying, Becoming the Archetype, August Burns Red, and The Devil Wears Prada.


There are many genres of Christian music.  I hope this article has helped you see the broad spectrum of Christian music out there.  God is so good, and there are many talented musicians/bands out there to showcase the Father’s love in musical form.  If you have any favorite artists or bands, please feel free to mention them.  “Lift up your hands to the Holy place and bless the Lord!” (Psalm 134:2)

Here are some other articles that talk about truth:


Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV)

www.youtube.com Lecrae song “Don’t Waste Your Life”


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Miller October 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Great article, Derek! Of course, you already know my preferred genre, lol. Here are some recommendations for those who would like to find some new Christian music:

Metal (clean vocals):

Theocracy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3TsVaFR870
Sacred Warrior (thanks Derek!) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcCQCIs5Tdw
Golden Resurrection (again, thanks Derek!) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8rEbNJqqMA
America Gomorrah – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3jJOtsiqLw

Metal (with all or some screamed/growled/etc. vocals)

Demon Hunter – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvQa1SywbXI
Becoming the Archetype – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F00f7NgzS80
MyChildren MyBride (need to explore them more myself) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej_OiP_Hbn8
Underoath – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrG3nXvFeJ8
Mortification (Need to listen to more of these guys myself) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmuxmtiK06o
Wolves at the Gate – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFoOn_2XHUg
To Speak of Wolves (need to explore them more myself) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr4nxiuuvpw
Blessthefall – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9SsXaiUFuo&feature=related
As I Lay Dying – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHXmHssCHY8


Pillar – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgfMigOMEO0
Third Day – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmVxRl5bc4Y
Casting Crowns (technically CCM, but I’m including them here) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2HwtWLokSc


Derek October 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Hey there brother. Thank you for all of the links to the songs! You have put together a good collection to look at. Just so you know, I listen to “30 Pieces of Silver” by Theocracy at least once a day! I love that song. Thank you for showing them to me for they are an amazing band with a heart for God. God bless you brother!


Robert Miller October 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Ironically, that’s the first Theocracy song I ever heard!


Pamela Rose Williams October 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Great article Derek! Let’s not forget the Great Hymns of Faith. While many of these come from Negro Spirituals, Psalms and other poetry, there is a genre of lovely hymns that even when sung a capella are praiseful and honoring to our Father. Some examples include those written by Fannie Crosby, Philip Bliss, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley and Eliza E. Hewitt, to name a few. many of these great hymns of faith have been remixed by today’s contemporary artists as well.


Derek October 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Thank you Pam. You are absolutely right! Hymns are a must. I am not sure why I didn’t include them in this article, lol! Hymns like “It is Well” were written in utter obedience and thankfulness to God in some of the most tragic of times. Horatio G. Spafford wrote this song when his life was spiraling out of control through tragedy after tragedy and he remained solid through it with God. It is one of my favorites!


Jack Wellman October 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Kutless is among my favorites but Third Day too.


Derek Hill October 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Kutless is very good. I had a chance to see them in concert once and it was amazing!


Steven Sexton October 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Man, I freaking love Christian Metal. I can’t imagine a world without distorted guitars and double bass drums.


Derek Hill October 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Amen Steven! There is so much power in Christian metal, from the lyrics to the amazing music. The world would be lacking without Christian metal. God bless you!


Robert Miller October 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm


Here’s another Christian band for you to check out: Barren Cross. Their singer almost sounds like a dead ringer for Bruce Dickinson.



Anna Boateng May 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Hi Derek, thank you for this article….very helpful. I am an assistant leader to the praise and worship team in my church and I’m looking for articles and anything at all to inspire our team.we are lacking in a lot of ways especially when it comes to choosing the right songs. Example I do sometimes hear some sing songs which are not worship songs but they actually do think they are…..I’m not sure if you get what I mean? What advice can you give please. Thanks.


Derek Hill May 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hello Anna. It sounds like there isn’t a gameplan for you really. At my church, the worship pastor plans out the songs months in advance to co-relate with the sermon that will be preached. It has always worked well for us. Some songs that aren’t praise songs can still be sung as long as they are Christian by nature. For instance, maybe use those types of songs for “specials”, like solos or duets. I recommend getting your team together and specifically focus on a gameplan that will work for you. Start your meeting off in prayer and let everyone pray. Pray for specific things like having God lead you in the direction He wishes with your worship. After prayer, talk about the upcoming sermons and get songs ready that relate to them. I hope this helps you. God bless you and your work at your church!


pocahontas June 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

well this is a very good website you have here and I love it


Derek Hill June 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Thank you so much Pocahontas! Please come back soon! God bless you!


Joel August 21, 2013 at 3:42 am

Great artcle sir Derek, I dont really know those bands and artists you have mention. But thank you for this article, I have a chance to know them and their musics. I mostly prepare a Hillsong music in my schedule to lead our praise and worship. I really love to sing this song “Lord of the Heaven” of Hillsong. I used to sing this song sometimes in my devotion.
With this article. I could have more options now in preparing a songs for our praise and worship.
Thank you and have a great and worderful day. God bless you sir!


Derek Hill August 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

Thank you Joel! I am a HUGE fan of Hillsong! We sing their songs all of the time in church! Inside Out is my favorite song that they sing. Thank you for stopping by our site and God bless you!


Portia January 30, 2014 at 1:36 am


Thanks for this post! A few other lesser known worship bands that have been a real blessing to me by ushering me into God’s sweet presence are:

-All Sons & Daughters
-Bethel Music
-Bryan & Katie Torwalt
-Rend Colllective Experiment
-United Pursuit Band

I hope that you have the opportunity to discover/explore their worship music. God bless!


Derek Hill January 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Hi Portia! Thank you for your kind words! I love love LOVE All Sons & Daughters, especially their song ‘All The Poor And Powerless’! It is so beautifully written and performed by them. I have shed a few tears to that one. I haven’t heard of Bryan and Katie Torwalt or United Pursuit Band, but I’m always looking for new music so thanks! God bless you!


christi August 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

I just found this website. Just being curious, I was looking up different genres of christian music. We listen mostly to southern gospel which is another genre. The website is very interesting and full of information. Thank you for what you do for the glory of God.


Kevin July 10, 2015 at 4:40 am

One of my favorite groups is Dc Talk. The genres of gospel music I like are Christian rock, and gospel jazz. Great job with the list.


Gabrielle January 19, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Um, why is Underoath not on the list for Christian metal??? They toured with all those bands listed, and were one of the biggest bands of that scene during that time. TDWP open for them like, several times. Even though they weren’t declared “Christian” toward the end, the band always had Christian roots.


Shawn Hicks January 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

Derek Hill,
I would like to introduce you to another new voice and a new genre: Inspirational Soul Recording Artist Temika Moore.
Temika Moore created the Inspirational Soul genre because she felt led to remove potential barriers to access. Inspirational Soul can be categorized as a sub-genre of Contemporary Christian/Gospel music. When asked about the new genre that she champions and uses to describe her craft, Temika will tell you, “Inspirational Soul is organic. This music is built on the premise of vocal, instrumental, and lyrical freedom undergirded by spiritual truth.” Essentially it means she walks in freedom to approach the music as she receives it, and believes it comes through her from God as part of His promises to His people (Romans 8:38). Check the video it out. https://youtu.be/OiG7_h-VskM


Jonathan April 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Let’s also not Forget the riches of Gregorian chant and polyphony. Gregorian Chant is the only music that came from the heart of the Western Church and polyphony which was its derivative. All other genres were adopted from secular styles.



Jack Wellman April 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Hello Jonathan. Thank you for your comment but please think about this; some Christian music did have roots in the melody of secularism but that doesn’t make them secular because the words have meaning and so not all Christian music originates from secular styles as you have said. Many were written outside of the realm of their own culture, but even if they weren’t, it’s not the music itself that holds the value in worship music but in the words, right?


Don R. April 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

gosh, where do I begin? Most of these artists have on their album covers all sorts of satanic images…and if they don’t know any better, they should. They will have Pyramids, the one eye covered/darkened, as above/so below, mandalas, desert and ocean imagery, etc. plus the lyrics follow the same patterns of deception. I know, I know things change, right? But Truth does not. If a Christian artist is popular nowadays…they use the same things to sell themselves as the other artists do….


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