Honoring the Influence That Rich Mullins Had on Christian Music

Rich Mullins was a Christian songwriter and singer that was originally from Richmond, Indiana. Mullins died in an automobile accident at the age of 41 in September of 1997. He was on his way to a benefit concert in Kansas when he lost control of his Jeep. He and a passenger were thrown from the Jeep. The passenger survived, but tragically Mullins did not. September 19th marked 20 years since his death.

Even though Rich Mullins’ time on Earth was short, his impact on Christian music is still noticeable today. Mullins legacy also lives on through his service and compassion to others.

Mullins grew up attending a Quaker church in Indiana. The Quaker testimonies of social justice and peace inspired much of his lyrics and devotion to others later in his life. Mullins attended the Cincinnati Bible College in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work on his music career.

The musical prodigy later moved to Kansas where he attended Friends University. While in college, Mullins worked in a parking garage to pay tuition. He also performed with the band Zion. He wrote all of the songs on the one album released by the band. Mullins eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 1995.

Mullins wrote 90 songs, including many of the modern Christian classics, such as “Step by Step” and “Awesome God.” He also wrote songs for many contemporary Christian singers during the 1980s and 90s. Third Day, Amy Grant, Caedmon’s Call, Chris Rice, Jars of Clay and Michael W. Smith have all performed his work.

Rich Mullins was known for his emotion-filled music and beautiful lyrics. He was also known for his deep commitment to Christ and the people. Mullins faith was often an inspiration for others. He was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, whose life inspired Mullins to take religious vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. In the nine years before his death, Mullins taught music to Native American Students on a Navajo Reservation through Compassion International.

The Christian musician’s greatest dream was to bring the gospel of Christ to children on Indian Reservations through music, drama and art. His vision continues today through his family and friends. They founded Kid Brothers of St. Frank, an organization that serves Native American youth to this day.

While he was alive, Mullins was never aware of how well his records did. He turned his back on success in favor of giving to others and serving the Lord. Mullins donated the profits from his tours and album to his church. He was paid a small salary but gave the rest to charities, such as Compassion USA and Compassion International.

Right before his death, Mullins was working on an album called “Ten Songs About Jesus.” He made a rough micro cassette records of the songs in an abandoned church right before his death. The tape was later released with guest singers Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Phil Keaggy and Ashley Cleveland.

Since the first tape was released, there have been two more records released. Songs 2 is a collection of the late singer-songwriter’s music. The album gives a greater insight on his love for Christ. Rich Mullins: Here in America was the most recent album to be released. This album features a rare and diverse collection of video and audio. It also features a virtual scrapbook of sounds and sights that go beyond the music into the heart of one of the most beloved and compassionate Christian singers of all time.

In 2014, a documentary film called “Ragamuffin” was released about the life of Rich Mullins. The full-length film was shown across the nation and chronicled his life and legacy on Christian music and service to Christ.

Even though he died at a young age, Mullins left behind a legacy of music that will continue to inspire Christians for decades to come. Mullins leaves behind a confidence in God and dedication for compassion that continue to uplift the spirits of God’s people.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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