The 10 Most Popular Christian Bands In The Mainstream

The 10 Most Popular Christian Bands In The Mainstream


Believe it or not, being a Christian band can mean many different things to many different people. With that being said, there are also many different kinds of Christian bands with many different kinds of audiences and that means different kinds of attention. There are those bands who have garnered considerable attention within the church community and there are those that have seen their fan base grow considerably in mainstream/crossover/secular fields for whatever reason. So I have created this list of those Christian artists who currently have a powerful reach into an unbelieving society and not just within our church buildings. When you’re all done reading through the list, come back here and let us know what you think of the list and who you think should be added!


About Tyler Hess

Tyler Hess has been running Christian Music Zine since he created the site in 2008. His favorite bands are Relient K, Bleach, Emery, House of Heroes, The Classic Crime, Children 18:3 and Anberlin. Twitter = @tylerscotthess More Posts

49 Comments to “The 10 Most Popular Christian Bands In The Mainstream”

  1. Very good list, however I would have put Needtobreathe on there somewhere. With the success of The Outsiders and their tour with Taylor Swift a year ago, I think they have garnered enough mainstream success to warrant a listing in the top 10. I disagree with placing As I Lay Dying on the list…although they are an amazing band that I enjoy, I’m not sure they have seen the same level of mainstream success as the others listed. Nice list overall though!

  2. Wouldn’t have counted UO, but if I did I’d have put them higher on the list. Skillet is more popular than The Fray? O_o I don’t even think they’ve had a top 40 hit yet. Or…am I just really behind the times?

    Definitely agreed on the rest of the list though, especially Owl City. His popularity may be very recent but it far transcends the others’ (except maybe The Fray).

    • Top 40 isn’t everything, The Fray’s music fits well with making hit songs, but Skillet’s album Awake sold amazingly well and they have a huge fan base right now…so there are a lot of different ways that one can look at this and make a case either way :)

    • UO is not in any way christian anymore. they have lost sight of it all, and the person in the band who was most trying to maintain the bands calling as a ministry left and is now pursuing a different project.

      • Actually, they are in no way a band anymore, as they have broken up, but yes I understand that they did decide to not be called a Christian band anymore, though I did not know it at the time I wrote this article nearly a year ago.

  3. Robert Shell // March 19, 2012 at 10:43 am // Reply

    Glad to see harder stuff getting some love on this list. Be interesting (at least to me) to talk with fans about the connection between style of music and popularity outside the “Christian” circle.

    Also, as Tyler already noted AILD is very well known in the secular field of music. So much so that a certain Christian bookstore stopped carrying their albums for a while because they thought they didn’t care about the “Christian” market.

    Although I don’t think they belong on this list yet, it’s pretty intense the amount of mainstream love For Today has been getting. The last three times I’ve seen them in the cities the show has been over capacity. It was apparent with talking with many that they are drawn to their music but not their message. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard something along that lines. But something about the way the music and the guys in the band interact with the crowd they keep coming back.

    • i think For Today will be on a list such as this in the coming years…the first few times I heard about For Today it was via tweets of that very nature, saying things like “why are people so mad, did you expect anything different from For Today?” haha

      • Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 11:37 am // Reply

        I think its cool to see how far For Today has grown in popularity beyond the normal amount of success that a Facedown artist has (A Plea For Purging, War Of Ages). It will be interesting to see how Immortal does for them.

        • Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm // Reply

          Another thing is that For Today has had the privilege to be on some great tours as of late. TDWP’s Dead Throne tour, their current headlining tour, and Warped this summer. Thats a great marketing strategy for the new record.

  4. How haven’t you listed the best band everrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Thousand Foot Krutch on number 1????? Now i know this is your opinion and not what the reality is!! This list is just a joke man!!

    • And i know that due that you listed Reliant K on the list ’cause u liked the band!! Man there’s no objective reasons on here!!! TFK all the way!!!

    • many reasons, one simple reason is that Owl City has over 7 million likes on facebook, Relient K at #10 has nearly a million, TFK has just over 1/2 million. That means they have a very high amount of popularity, though not that much in the mainstream except for some spots at some sporting events. I probably would have included TFK in a top 20 list.

      • IDK listen to any hard rock radio station and let the sparks fly is on all the time. TFK is boss and unlike owl city they talk about their faith and how they love God. I went to the owl city concert lat yr at CNE and they never mentioned God in any of their songs or even preached at all. So I guess their popular but if you can’t clearly tell if a band is christian that speaks volumes

    • Fanboy mentality while ignoring the fact that TFK isn’t near the mainstream success that the other bands have that Tyler listed….

  5. Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 11:18 am // Reply

    I would’ve put Underoath higher. Heck, they had two Gold records and Define The Great Line debuted at Number 2 on Billboard. But both Underoath and Reliant K’s popularity have decreased in the last couple of years so I can understand their placement. What’s sad is that Reliant K is releasing their best material ever and its going unnoticed for the most part in the mainstream arena.

    • you nailed the exact reason that both bands are lower than they could have been…this was written in 2012…i think UO lost a lot of popularity when Aaron left…and Relient K just doesn’t have the major label backing they had back when MMHMM and Five Score released…FANSD was a brilliant album that could have gained them more popularity if they had a major label push and if they still wanted to do things like make music videos and stuff

      • Exactly

      • Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm // Reply

        Do you think Reliant K’s decrease in popularity is by their choosing by not touring as often? Or is it because their off of Capitol records?

        • not having the capital records is by far the main reason…they have still done some really big tours, even if they arent on the road all the time

          • Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm //

            Did Capitol drop them, or was it a mutual agreement for RK to leave?

          • i dont know exactly, it was a deal they had with gotee to where capital send it to the mainstream market and gotee send it to the Christian market i think, not sure the extent of the situation or how/why it didn’t get maintained

          • Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm //

            Both those bands would’ve definitely taken the cake if this was 2006.

  6. I would have included Mumford and Sons in this list (maybe a top 20 list). While I get some of the reasons not to include M&S (blatant F-bombs and all) I think that their music has reached a wide audience, and they have definite Christian themes in their songs. Maybe if they release another album, their popularity will increase a bit.

    • i think winning some grammys got them to be pretty popular, but i dont know anything about how “Christian” they or their music is or isn’t and i don’t think they’ve had any association with the Christian music industry so it would be hard to put them on here, though I’m willing to be proven wrong…but F-bombs don’t generally help such a cause

  7. Logan Flaming // March 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm // Reply

    Do you think Anberlin belongs on this list? Their last two records have charted pretty high, not to mention The Feel Good Drag and Impossible did great on rock radio.

  8. ?no love for David Crowder Band?

  9. Ronnie Hamilton // March 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm // Reply

    What about The Civil Wars? They have a quickly growing fanbase, and unless I’m mistaken, they are Christian, or at least half since Joy Williams is part of them.

  10. Sad that Anberlin and Thrice missed this list.. but I guess they’re not quite as popular as said bands.. although Anberlin has gotta be close. I’m also surprised not to see RED.. I thought they’d gained A LOT of momentum lately.

  11. I would have put Switchfoot as number 1 and had MUTEMATH in the list.

  12. I love how christians think anberlin, red and thousand foot krutch are huge in the mainstream! Get off your butts and out your churches. O and PS skillet is not that huge in the mainstream (mad disagree with its place on the list)

    • Anberlin actually is pretty big in the mainstream, they get serious love from secular mags/sites AltPress and AbsolutePunk and they have toured with some pretty big bands as well
      I disagree with Skillet as well, they’ve done some huge tours including one with Creed (joke all you will, Creed is huge) and theyve done really well in the rock scene

      I don’t think TFK is huge in the mainstream outside of some songs being played at sporting events and stuff…their best chance was back when Phenomenon came out

      I think Red will make inroads on that front, though I don’t think they are quite there yet

      And I don’t think the solution to any problem is to not have people go to church, we need the fellowship to encourage each other in Christ.

  13. people can be hating how TFK doesn’t have any mainstream fame…. Fire It Up was played at the SUPER BOWL!!!! TFK should be commended and praised for standing by their love for God and not changing their music and ministry for the world around them. They have always have had a rapcore Nu metal rock sound and that will never change.

  14. Maylene and the Son’s of Diaster and Anberlin are two of my favorites. There are numerous metalcore/screamo christian bands that are all over the place.A Day to Remember, Devil Wears Prada, D.R.U.G.S etc… Why do so many in the Christian community and Christian music almost shun or tend to look down on that kind music?

  15. I wouldn’t say this is a very good list. For example, where’s TobyMac, Newsboys, Switchfoot, Chris Tomlin, Natalie Grant, Third Day, Audio Adrenaline, and others? I’ve never even heard of a couple bands on your list, and I’ve heard many bands.

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