Faith-based music doesn’t just exist in the Christian Music Industry. In fact, many Billboard charting artists share a message of faith and love through their songs. Whether an artist purposefully sidesteps the label of being a “Christian musician,” or simply aims to make music that is authentic to them, there are some brilliant songs that have entered the Billboard charts either individually or on albums. Here are 10 of the best faith-based hits.
Number Ten: One Republic, “Preacher.” Ryan Tedder is one of the most prolific songwriters in the industry, and here we see him envelop his own values within his songs. In this track from Native, which piqued at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, we see him reflect on his upbringing and the faith of his grandfather as he sings, “He said / ‘God only helps those / Who learn to help themselves’ / He was a million miles from a million dollars / But you could never spend his wealth.”
Number Nine: Owl City, “My Everything.” When we chatted to Adam Young earlier this year, he talked about making his faith more prominent in his latest album, Mobile Orchestra. We see this no more clearly than in the track “My Everything” where he sings, “Hallelujah, my almighty God divine / Hallelujah, I am yours and you are mine.” Talking about his decision to follow God and trust him, this is a blatantly honest and raw track from the man who gave us “Fireflies.”
Number Eight: Switchfoot, “Dare You To Move.” In truth, any of the tracks from this San Diego band led by Jon Foreman would make the cut. But “Dare You To Move” stands out because it became an anthem for people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs when it appeared on the soundtrack for A Walk To Remember and charted at No. 17 on the Billboard 100. Singing, “Maybe redemption has stories to tell / Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell…Salvation is here,” it is an electric retelling of the mercy and second chance available to all of us.
Number Seven: NEEDTOBREATHE, “Wasteland.” Penned about his own journey through brokenness, front man Bear Rinehart spoke to us about why faith plays a significant role in his life. We find this no more apparent than in this riveting song taken from their No. 3 charting album Rivers in The Wasteland, where they sing, “Oh if God is on my side, Who can be against me?”
Number Six: TobyMac, “Like A Match.” Reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts, Mac’s album This Is Not A Test is chock full of faith-based anthems. In the opener, he prompts listeners to be open and honest in their faith, urging them to be authentic and love others as he says, “If it’s real, we gotta show it / ‘Cause if it’s not, they sure gonna know it.”
Number Five: Danny Gokey, “Hope In Front of Me.” The poignancy of this pop single from American Idol finalist Gokey is relevant because you know he’s lived every word of the song. Saying, “Even when I don’t believe it, I’ve got to believe, I still have hope,” the album charted at No. 40. The moving video clip is also worth a watch.
Number Four: Carrie Underwood, “Something In The Water.” Charting at No. 24, this country superstar tells a blatant story about brokenness and redemption. If not for the title, which is a direct reference to the religious tradition of baptism, she says, “Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees / Saying, ‘God, if you’re there come and rescue me’ / Felt love pouring down from above.”
Number Three: Relient K, “Forgiven.” Taken from their album Five Score and Seven Years Ago that charted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, this track is a plea for forgiveness from a friend. Talking about the fallen nature of humans and how we all need forgiveness and mercy from God and each other, the catchy song reflects Biblical teaching when it says, “Cause we’re all guilty of the same things / We think the thoughts whether or not we see them through / And I know that I have been forgiven.”
Number Two: Thousand Foot Krutch, “Glow.” The final track on their 2014 release Oxygen: Inhale, charted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and is a no-holds-barred approach to faith, recognizing the presence of God through life as they say “My heart has grown right next to you / Your steady hands, have pulled me through.” Ultimately, this is a prayer of sorts, asking God to use the singer in an all-or-nothing manner so he fulfills his purpose in life.
Number One: Lecrae, “Outsiders.” The first track of this rappers’ No. 1 album is a shoutout to anyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in. And, if you delve into the lyrics, you soon realize that it is about his choice to be an ‘outsider’ due to his faith and belief that he was made for more than this world. We see this as he says, “Something’s bigger than you and I.”