What Christian Music Do Today’s Kids Actually Like?

Teenagers-SmartphonesOkay… it’s time for me to give something away. A Christian CD of your choice to the winner. Here’s what I want– answer this simple question:

What Christian songs (I want song and artist) can you play that today’s young people actually enjoy?

I could expand the question like this: What Christian music would they not be afraid to play around their friends?

I want song and artist.

Chime in my comments below. I’ll randomly choose 2 winners in 1 week’s time.

  • First prize– the Christian CD of your choice.
  • Second Prize– your choice of any of my books.

The serendipitous result of this will be a nice list you guys can use- from this comment section- of songs/artists to add to your playlists!


CD WINNER- Jacob Newton from Meridian Friends Church in Meridian, ID (choose any Christian CD)

BOOK WINNER- Zach from Christ’s Church in Hastings, MN (choose any one of my books)


About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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71 Responses to What Christian Music Do Today’s Kids Actually Like?

  1. Carl Eliason says:

    Rend Collective, Skillet and Crowder

  2. Melissa Long says:

    Church Clap by KB

  3. Scot Davis says:

    Church Clap, KB
    Chainsaw, Family Force Five
    Alone, Hollyn
    Hero, Skillet
    Monster, Skillet
    Stars, Skillet
    Feel Invincible, Skillet
    I’m Turnt, Lecrae
    Fakin’, Lecrae
    Go Hard, Lecrae

  4. Ryan Jantz says:

    Lecrae, Rapture Ruckus, Leagues, Andy Mineo

  5. Matt Miazga says:

    “Live on Forever”, by The Afters; “Burn it Down”, by Skillet; “Love Won’t Leave Me Alone”, by John Schlitt.

  6. Brent Aiken says:

    Float – Switchfoot
    Live It Well – Switchfoot
    Brother – NeedtoBreathe
    Multiplied – NeedtoBreathe
    It Is Well – Bethel Music
    Rise – Housefires II
    Tell the World – Lecrae
    River – Jordan Howerton Band
    What You Want – Tenth Avenue North

  7. Cameron Pedicord says:

    To be honest, I am not sure anymore of what “Christian” artist most of my students would not be embarrassed to play around friends (especially really non-churched). Even as a youth pastor, I struggle at times with enjoying a lot of Christian music beyond maybe lecrae (especially his newest work).

    • I think you’re not alone in this struggle when it comes to reaching out to the unchurched (and I know you have a lotta unchurched kids in your ministry). But I think there are some artists out there (not a lot, but a few) that pull it off. Lecrae is a good example, and I know there are others.

  8. Amy Wilch says:

    “Forgiveness” by Toby Mac (actually, everything by T Mac)

  9. Erick Totanes says:

    Hillsong United songs cuts through and my 15 year old daughter is not ashemed to share it with her friends.
    Touch the sky is a good example.

  10. Ben Lazcano says:

    Lecrae- go hard
    For King and Country – Shoulders
    Lauren Daigle -first

  11. Barbara says:

    My daughter loves anything Jamie Grace… Hold Me, Beautiful Day, Big. She also loves Matthew West… Grace Wins, Do Something, Hello My Name Is… Hawk Nelson Drops in the Ocean

  12. Ruben Regalado says:

    Tobymac – Me without you
    Jordan Feliz – The River

  13. Tamara says:

    I could go on and on…but these are songs just off the top of my head…

    Andy Mineo–Vendetta
    Kirk Franklin–123 Victory
    Tedashii–On Ten
    Derek Minor–Until The End of Time
    Kierra Sheard–Flaws
    The Walls Group–High (featuring Lecrae)
    Israel Houghton–You Found Me (featuring tony mac)
    Fred Hammond–Take Me to the Water
    Myron Butler and Levi–Set Me Free
    Todd Dulaney–The Anthem
    Anthony Brown and Group therAPy–Worth

  14. Emily says:

    Monster, Skillet
    I will add that they love anything by Skillet! Everyone’s favorite right now is Twenty One Pilots..ANY song from the Blurryface album. I know that isn’t “Christian” music but the kids like to tell people that the members are both Christians.

  15. Jerel says:

    NF – Mansion

  16. Timothy Quigg says:

    “Money & Fame” by NEEDTOBREATHE
    “Where the Light Shines Through” by Switchfoot
    “Bummin'” by Relient K
    “All I Need Is You” by Lecrae
    “Rise Up” by Andra Day

  17. Todd Pounds says:

    Real Love by Hillsong Young & Free

  18. Scott says:

    Lacrae – All I need is You

  19. Zach says:

    Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains) – Crowder

    We have had a couple students use this as a walk up song for sports, and nearly every time the other players on the team are like “dude that’s a sick song”.


    (By the way, stellar timing for this post as I am currently putting together a playlist for our youth group)

    • Thanks Zach… I thought the timing might be good.

      And note: that Crowder song/video is amazing. Crowder always pulls it off. It’s mind boggling. He unashamedly worships and produces a sound good enough to go mainstream. I can see why some young people would use this as a “walk up” song.

  20. Deanna Lane says:

    Anything by Matt Maher, but especially “Love Will Hold Us Together” and “Lord, I Need You”

  21. Kristen Ratajczak says:

    NF – Wake Up
    LeCrae – Tell the World
    Hillsing Young & Free – Alive
    Flame – Start Over

  22. Benji says:

    Say Something – WorshipMob Its a remix that takes the perspective from guy and gal to person and God. My youth are crazy about it.

    Also, since that might be cheating 🙂
    Skillet – Hero, Stars, Feel Invincible (ok, lets be honest, literally anything.)
    Lecrae – Used to Do It Too, I’m Turnt (once again, literally anything)

    Twentyone Pilots has no a huge following and is open about loving Jesus, but they aren’t classified as ‘Christian” in the traditional understanding. Doesn’t mean they aren’t an awesome choice for youth group tunes.

    Hope that helps.

  23. You Can’t Stop Me – Andy Mineo
    Victory – Hillsong College
    Sideways – KB
    Most of It – King’s Kaleidoscope

  24. Joshua Johnson says:

    Our football team has Monster by Skillet in their warm up music.

  25. Chad Blackman says:

    1)Dust, 2)Most of it, 3)Defender: Kings Kaleidoscope
    Spotify has a bunch of Hillsong Y&F techno remixes that we play a bunch too

  26. Rodney Stock says:

    Monster by Skillet. I have heard it played at several football games.

  27. Sande says:

    Switchfoot – whole album ‘Learning to Breathe’
    Skillet – Hero
    For King and Country – Shoulders, Fix My Eyes

  28. Sid Ware says:

    Thanks for doing this… I am looking forward to the compiled list.

    Practically any For King and Country song
    – Ceasefire
    – Run Wild
    – Shoulders
    – Without you

    Toby Mac
    – Backseat Driver
    – Till the Day I Die

    Matthew West
    – Mended
    – Grace Wins

    Family Force Five
    – Cray Button

  29. Brian Whitaker says:

    These are the songs Ive played at youth group that have gotten great response (and some uncontrollable singing and/or dancing)

    21 Pilots – “Ride” (at our back to school party almost every kid was singing this one)
    Britt Nicole – “Holiday” (the remix)
    NF- Turn the Music Up
    Trip Lee – “Manolo”
    Tobymac – “Feel It”


  30. Karen Berry says:

    My 23 year old daughter in the past has mostly listened to secular pop songs. When she was younger, she didn’t but as she got older 16+, she still kept her Christian songs, but never added new ones much and she moved towards the more secular music. She informed me a couple months ago that she was tired of the content of so many of those secular songs. So, now she has started listening on a regular basis to Christian music and has her car radio tuned to a popular Christian station. Needless to say, I am overjoyed and it is an answer to prayer. I say all this to say that her favorite song right now is Jordan Feliz’s, The River. She also texted me the other day and said, have you heard the song, Fream For You, by Casting Crowns?
    I love it, she says. So, there it is.

  31. Andy kratzer says:

    Twenty one pilots
    Stressed out
    Although twenty one pilots are not considered a Christian band in mainstream the two singers who make up twenty one pilots are Christian.

  32. Bruce Jardine says:

    Anything by skillet
    Rend Collective

  33. Todd says:

    Invincible by Skillet

  34. Jonathan McKenzie says:

    Anything by Kings Kaleidoscope but for good measure try ‘A Prayer’…it’s got kids talking.

    Also anything by Hillsong United.

  35. Carl Redding says:

    Anyone that says Skillet does not know your young people they are so 2009. I’ve been doing full time Youth Min for 20 years and see the secularization of our students happening before my eyes. However, there are some amazing artists out there, and even though I love the new Skillet album, have a conversation with your students to see what they are into. Mine love the:

    Mansion – KB
    Manolo – Trip Lee/Lecrae
    For King and Country – Fix My Eyes

    • Easy now, Carl. Don’t slam on your brothers in ministry now. Yes, the songs you recommend are definitely good ones (and I prefer most of those over Skillet personally), but to say that today’s young people don’t like Skillet at all??? (Better tell that to the Denver Broncos who literally walked out to a Skillet song last week.) Music taste can be regional and vary by tribe. For years I’ve heard youth workers tell me that “today’s kids don’t listen to…” and then I’ll fly to a city where I hear a bunch of “today’s kids” listening to…

      Just food for thought.

  36. Penny says:

    My son is a regular Christian music listener. Lately – Fix My Eyes – For King & Country and Priceless – For King & Country will cause my son to stop all conversation so he can sing along. Just last night I got a Shhh… I love this song! We were able to see For King & Country at Lifest and he has been hooked ever since.

  37. Louise Jagessar says:

    TobyMac MOVE

  38. Jacob Newton says:

    Know That’s Right and You Can’t Stop Me by Andy Mineo.

  39. Candi says:

    Worship until I pass out- Uncle Reece, I’m Turnt- Lecrae

  40. Faith says:

    You can’t stop me – Andy Mineo
    Backseat Driver – Toby Mac
    Dum Dum – Tedashii
    Ready Set Go – Royal Tailor

    • I was the keynote speaker at an event where Royal Tailor was the band. Got to hand with them. They were probably one of the “best received” bands I’ve EVER seen at a youth event. Very young and current… and they really knew how to perform! (and they were easy to work with- a nice bonus)

  41. Joses Tirtabudi says:

    Real by NF

  42. Matt says:

    Beautiful Eulogy (Songs: Anchor and Beautiful Eulogy)

  43. Matthew Gasperson says:

    TobyMac – Lights Shine Bright ft. Hollyn
    Tobymac – backseat driver
    Lecrae – I’m Turnt
    Heard Lecrae’s song at about every youth event in the past year. We love it, the kids love it.

  44. Tyler Johnson says:

    As a 23 year old, I listen to:

    Family Force Five
    Casting Crowns
    Thousand Foot Krutch

    just to name a few! 😀

  45. This is a great contest! Lots of great ideas for my playlist!’l thanks everyone.

    My response is “Real Love” by Hillsong Young and Free on the Youth Revival CD.

  46. Jason Huffman says:

    Our you had a couple of local Christian bands play at our Church (The Exchange & The Skeleton Keys)

    Heartbeat – The Exchange
    Not Giving Up – The Exchange
    Back Seat Driver – Tobymac

  47. Rob Hale says:

    On My Momma-Benjah
    Neighborhood HOPE Dealer- Wordsmith,Bizzle, Sevin
    Jump Out the Whip-Tedashi
    Social Club is NOT Dead- Social Club
    Stop the World- Rhema Soul
    Carry Me Down- Demon Hunter
    I’m Turnt/Down for What- DJ Promote
    Move- Toby Mac
    You Cant Stop Me- Andy Mineo
    Caught a Glimpse- Blindside
    Black Tattoo- FM Static

  48. A.R. Raphaël says:

    No hater – Bizzle
    You should know – Jor’dan Armstrong
    The paradigm – Capital Kings
    International – Travis Green
    Allelujah all day – Datin
    We gon’ reign – Flame
    Can’t help myself – uncle Reece
    Crown and thorns – KB

  49. Mumcy Mahomed says:

    Fight of my life – South African artist J Jo (Jolene Joseph)

  50. Lisetta Layer says:

    Shonlock – “I like to win”

  51. John Bernardini says:

    Music plays a HUGE role in our ministry. I try to find “relevant” music for our students & am constantly putting together playlists for them to sample (esp. on youth group nights). Here’s a sample of what they’re listening to… in “Christian” music (anyway):

    “Desperados” by Andy Mineo f. Mali Music
    “I Can’t Quit” by Capital Kings f. Reconcile
    “Live For the Drop” by Capital Kings
    “Party People” by Derek Minor f. Social Club Misfits
    “BZRK” by Family Force 5 f. KB
    “Chainsaw” by Family Force 5
    “Zombie” by Family Force 5
    “Priceless” by for KING & COUNTRY
    “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong UNITED
    “Sideways” by KB f. Lecrae
    “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle
    “Sidelines” by Lecrae
    “Next Level” by LZ7 f. Soul Glow Activatur & Family Force 5
    “Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE f. Gavin DeGraw
    “I Just Wanna Know” by NF
    “Intro” by NF
    “In Crowd” by Rapture Ruckus f. Soul Glow Activatur
    “Mr. Roboto” by Rapture Ruckus
    “Breathe Into Me” RED
    “Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective
    “Awake & Alive” by Skillet
    “Feel Invincible” by Skillet
    “Not Gonna Die” by Skillet
    “Jumped Out the Whip” by Tedashii
    “Lights Shine Bright” by tobymac f. Hollyn
    “Car Radio” by twenty one pilots
    “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots
    “Tear In My Heart” by twenty one pilots
    “Am I Trending” by V.Rose
    “Strike Back” by We As Human

  52. Jennifer Oswald says:

    Skillet and Hillsongs young and free

  53. Amy Garvel says:

    Elevation Worship- Here As In Heaven
    Leeland Mooring – Lion and the Lamb

  54. Miller Gibbs says:

    It Is What It Is – Lecrae
    Closer To Love – Mat Kearney
    I Wouldn’t Know – Lecrae
    All I Need Is You – Lecrae
    Gone – Switchfoot
    Be My Escape – Relient K
    In Love With The 80s – Relient K
    High of 75 – Relient K

  55. Shawn Kreiser says:

    Our kids are listening to Jordan Howerton Band right now and they are certainly not ashamed of it. We have a huge summer youth conference for the kids throughout our fellowship and this band has led it for the last 8 years. Jordan is so down to earth and totally sold out to Jesus. He ignites the flame in these kids and they are so drawn to worship with every song he leads. He and his band members even play sports with the youth during the conference week. Amazing musical role models for our teens in today’s world.

  56. Melissa Poindexter says:

    God is on the move – seventh time down

  57. Great idea! I noticed a ton of the Reach Records guys on here, so I’ll leave them off the list, and include some that I haven’t seen come up yet:
    Cover Girl – The Ongoing Concept
    Devastation and Reform – Relient K
    Don’t Blink – Relient K
    Song for the Broken – Close Your Eyes
    Heir in the Air – Skrip
    When the Beat Drop – Skrip
    I’m Good – The Mowglis (not a Christian band, but super positive lyrics)
    Two Left Feet – 3 Shades of Blue
    Feel It – TobyMac
    Provision – August Burns Red
    Mariana’s Trench – August Burns Red
    1994 – B. Cooper
    Panic Room – Silent Planet
    Writing on the Walls – Underoath
    The Shepherd – The Walking Tree
    And I know he got mentioned already, but literally anything by Propaganda is good stuff.

  58. Jesse says:

    Say by Skrip Featuring Andy Mineo
    You Can’t Stop Me by Andy Mineo
    Kaleidoscope by Urban Rescue

  59. Werner says:

    Empires by Hillsong United
    Any by TobyMac
    Any by News Boys

  60. My students (I teach 7th and 8th grade theology) LOVE just about anything by Lecrae. Lecrae is my big hook into the world of Christian music that I use with my new 7th graders every year. 🙂

  61. Diane Bish, the Blackwood Brothers, and the Pfeifers