Praise and Worship
In the 1990s, as Sunday morning praise and worship songs grew more contemporary and "hip," slipping discreetly from the pulpits to the charts, Christian music couldn't have guessed it was beginning one of its largest transformations. Darlene Zschech, music director at Sydney's Hillsong Church, hadn't even recorded her songs when millions of people were singing them in thousands of congregations around the world. When she finally did hit the studio, she went platinum almost instantly. In the U.S., David Crowder noticed that more than half of his fellow student body at his Baptist college were not attending church at all, so he started writing songs to inspire worship in a generation not being addressed musically or spiritually. When Crowder joined Passion Worship Band on tour, they ignited a "passionate worship" musical era so notable that the trend itself was dubbed the Passion Movement. All throughout, worshipers were crying, "Turn it up!" Acoustic guitars and choir robes made friends with driving, wired guitar riffs and modern lyrics projected in PowerPoint presentations. Drum sets on church platforms grew Plexiglas soundboards, and genres collided as worship leaders branched out beyond P&W refrains to become hot charting artists and Dove nominees (like Mark Schultz or crossover phenomenon MercyMe). Conversely, established artists began recording P&W songs, or entire P&W albums, in their own styles; it was a foolproof expansion of worship, artistry and ministry. The praise and worship experience breaks out beyond the church service and marks new era of Christian contemporary music.