Friday Fives: The Top Five Music Videos That Will Preach

When I told someone that I was planning on writing this post, their comment was, “Aren’t music videos kind of a lost art?” I think, on some level, they are, after enjoying a heyday in the 80’s with the dawn of music television. I haven’t watched MTV in years, but I think it’s been that long since the network aired an actual music video. My guess is that now MTV and VH1 are more about reality television and other cheap script-less garbage.

Yet the genre can be a very powerful preaching tool. A well-produced music video is 4 minutes of drama, conflict, message and resolution – for some, the music is almost a bonus.

So I’ve kept my eye on music videos through the years and keep them in my video library. Even older ones can be very effective in preaching and teaching.

And, with that in mind, this edition of Friday Fives presents the top five music videos that will preach. (And please note that I leaned toward meaningful secular videos, assuming you might already be familiar with those from Christian music.)


#5 Mutemath/Typical

First, I have to confess that I have a particular affinity for Mutemath, the band from New Orleans that is sometimes referred to as “Christian” and sometimes not. I think a lot of their music is actually thoughtful. The video for the song “Typical” is wonderfully creative and illustrates the lyric because the video is actually played backward. You’ll just have to watch it to see what I mean.

I used this video in a message on John 18:36 about the otherworldliness of God’s Kingdom and our attempts to sometimes try to normalize what is not “normal” – and I of course mean that in the best sense.

(If you’re interested in seeing the video backwards, which would really be forward, go here.)


#4 Casting Crowns/Just Another Birthday

Yes, I realize Casting Crowns is a Christian group and I just wrote that I would lean toward secular artists in this countdown. However, I’m including “Just Another Birthday” on the list because it’s one of the lesser known songs from one of the most dominant groups in Contemporary Christian music. And, it’s a video I think is particularly real and powerful.


#3 Sawyer Brown/They Don't Understand

No, the song wasn’t a huge hit and I don’t have much Sawyer Brown music in my library. But I think the video for 2005’s They Don’t Understand is a wonderful modern-day illustration for Matthew 25-40. I’ve actually used the video in a non-church environment when I was asked to do a “motivational speech” in a corporate setting. It allowed me to incorporate Biblical truth artfully.


#2 Nickelback/Saving Me

Nothing raises eyes more than when I tell people I’ve used Nickelback in my preaching. If you’re unfamiliar with secular rock music, I’ll tell you that the Canadian group is one of the most polarizing in music. They are either loved for vilified. In fact, ridiculing Nickelback is almost a cottage industry for music publications.

With that said, I love the concept of this video and think it makes a wonderful illustration of what presence evangelism is all about. I have used it and would use it again.


#1 Tim McGraw/Live Like You Were Dying

Several years ago I preached a message on Luke 12 and closed with this classic, the #1 country song of the year for 2004. People still mention that message and I think it was partly because of the relevance of Luke 12 to 21st century life and the poignancy of this video, which is made even moreso in light of Tim’s Father, baseball player Tug McGraw, and his death that year of brain cancer at the age of 60 year.

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