Jonathan May

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Stephen Groce, Joan Krenzin, Amy Krull


Access granted to WKU students, faculty and staff only.

After an extensive unsuccessful search for the author, this thesis is considered an orphan work, which may be protected by copyright. The inclusion of this orphan work on TopScholar does not guarantee that that orphan work may be used for any purpose and any use of the orphan work may subject the user to a claim of copyright infringement. The reproduction of this work is made by WKU without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and is made for purposes of preservation and research.

See also WKU Archives - Authorization for Use of Thesis, Special Project & Dissertation

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This research examines the perceptions of sixteen musical artists who are Christians in order to gain an understanding of how being a Christian affects one’s music and one’s career as a musician. Being an artist in contemporary Christian music has historically implied having religious ministry goals. However, artists enter the music profession for primarily nonreligious reasons. These conflicting implications are resolved by artists in three manners: 1) artists compartmentalize the roles of artist and Christian, 2) artists embrace the role of Christian and subjugate the role of artist, and 3) artists redefine the ministry goals implied by being a Christian artist in a way that fits into their role as an artist. The artists in this study believe that contemporary Christian music has a reputation of being unoriginal, uncreative, and mediocre, portraying an unrealistic view of reality, and being music to which non-Christians cannot related. This reputation that contemporary Christian music has serves as an antithesis for the artists whose goals for writing music are the exact opposite of this reputation.


Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Music | Musicology | Music Performance | Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Sociology of Culture | Sociology of Religion