The Power Of Ambient Sound

Our church recently installed what could be called, for better or worse, Christian Muzak.

Which means that throughout our hallways and lobbies and bathrooms there is a continual stream of contemporary Christian pop music.  Subtle yet unmistakable.

Whether it’s the Newsboys, Jars Of Clay, or even some old school Steven Curtis Chapman, it’s all inspirational music, all the time.


Well, a couple of reasons. First, our facility is a large one with a number of high ceilinged rooms and long hallways.  During the week, when there is much less foot traffic, it can feel sterile and institutional.  The music automatically warms it up.

Second — and even more importantly — consider this scenario.  Someone from our church makes an appointment with a pastor.  They’ve had a dark day, and the reason for the pastoral appointment is a crisis at home.

Yet as soon as that person walks in the building, what’s the first thing they hear?  He Reigns by the Newsboys or Love Song For A Savior by Jars of Clay.  (Or Jesus Freak by DC Talk if the programmed music is feeling feisty.)

It might well be the first moment of spiritual uplift that person has had all day.  And then as they are escorted to the pastor’s office (in my case, that’s a long walk), the entire stroll is accompanied by the sounds of voices praising God.

It’s a heart opener and a mood changer.

And that’s why we do what we do.

Probably the only way I could like it better is if the program threw in an occasional Led Zeppelin song, but I don’t think that’s happening.