Meet Keith Green

Born into a musical family, Keith Green was destined to make music himself. He started singing and playing the ukulele by age three. By age six he had progressed to the piano, and by the time he was eleven years old, he had written his first songs. His work was so impressive that he became the youngest member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and actually landed a record deal. (CDnow) And when Keith grew up and became a Christian in the early ’70s, he approached his faith with the same conviction.

"From the very beginning of his Christian life, Keith felt an overwhelming desire to grow," says his wife, Melody. "To him, being a Christian wasn’t just agreeing with a set of doctrinal statements. It was growing in love and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ."

Keith naturally combined his musical talent with his newfound faith, and eventually set out share the gospel through song and inspired witnessing. With both of his passions united, Keith was a driving force.

"[He] always seemed to be rushing somewhere," says Melody, "on an intense journey spiraling upward. Whether he was pounding his piano, pouring his heart into a song, or preaching a message that pinned you to your seat, Keith was always electric—stirring strong emotions in all who listened."

Many who listened belonged to the churches Keith visited throughout California. News of his public ministry began to spread, ultimately leading to television appearances on shows like Barry McGuire’s Anyone But Jesus. The day for Keith Green to be heard by a mass audience had come. In 1977, his first album—For Him Who Has Ears to Hear—was released. It was a history-making Christian debut, selling over 300,000 copies. Profits from record sales and concerts were used to support the Last Days Ministry, a program the Greens founded to reach southern California’s street people.

Other records—including So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt and No Compromise—followed with equal success. Songs such as "Until That Final Day" and "A Billion People Starving" dealt with serious spiritual and social issues, striking a chord with Keith’s ever-expanding audience. His dream of reaching souls with the good news had become a reality. His ministry was flourishing. But on a solemn day in 1982, his personal evangelism came to an end. Keith and two of his four children died in a plane crash. The Christian music world, and the world at large, lost a beloved witness. The songs, however, would live on.

Keith Green’s music still impacts listeners in a significant way. His lyrics cut to the core of the great spiritual conflicts within all of us. As Melody says: "Many of Keith’s songs are not exactly ‘easy listening.’ A few of them are even unsettling—but Keith never thought that what made a song Christian was the amount of sugar coating it had to make it easy to swallow." That’s the precise reason why his songs are as powerful today as they ever were . . . and why they’ll continue to minister for years to come.

(Melody Green’s quotes appear in the booklet that accompanies the CD Keith Green: The Ministry Years, Volume 2.)

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