The ’90s Albums Every Youth Group Rocked

A look back at your old Wednesday night soundtrack

The ‘90s were a wonderful time to be a teenager attending youth group every week. There was finally Christian music geared toward your age group, so your options finally extended beyond Ray Boltz and the Gaither Vocal Band.

There was an explosion of Christian rock and roll that, for the first time, actually seemed like it was having some fun instead of just pushing out tame, auto-tuned sermons. And while there's no way every youth group had every album, there were a few albums every youth group definitely had on regular repeat.

Here are the seven essential albums every ‘90s youth group proudly rocked.

7. Newsboys – Take Me To Your Leader

“Shine” may have been the Newsboys song that was played the most, but when you took a road trip to go to an Acquire the Fire event, your youth pastor knew he could pop in this bad boy and the whole van would enjoy every track.

“Lost the Plot” may be the best Newsboys song you missed.

6. Third Day – Third Day

Before Third Day became your mom’s favorite band, the group put out this gritty southern rock album that felt like a hip combination of Hootie and the Blowfish and Bob Seger.

The follow-up Conspiracy Number 5 album was also a solid entry, if you can get past Mac Powell’s bleached blonde hair.

5. Kirk Franklin – God’s Property

God’s Property and The Nu Nation Project go hand-in-hand in launching Kirk Franklin’s career into the stratosphere, but for youth groups “Stomp” might as well have been the National Anthem.

Franklin found a way to still keep his message front and center while also making music that everyone would enjoy. He was basically the Christian P. Diddy, except he actually sang instead of just nodding in the background of Mase videos.

4. Audio Adrenaline - Bloom

If dc Talk didn’t exist, Audio Adrenaline would have been the biggest Christian band of the decade. Not only was every track worthy of being a single, it finally allowed you to listen to an Audio Adrenaline album without having to worry about “Big House” coming up in the rotation.

Yes, I know you and your friends came up with motions to the words of the chorus. So did every other Baptist and Pentecostal 14-year-old.

3. Jars of Clay – Jars of Clay

When Jars of Clay crossed over to mainstream and “Flood” would play on MTV after Montell Jordan and right before Alanis Morissette, you knew you were witnessing something amazing. You felt like you were an uppity hipster that had been listening to a popular band long before the crowd fell in love with them.

Best of all, as great as “Flood” was, it’s far from the best track on the album, making you even more hipster-y when you name dropped the deep tracks you heard in youth group over the singles everyone heard on the radio.

2. The O.C. Supertones – Supertones Strike Back

Remember back in the simpler times when all you needed was a hypercolor shirt, a stack of POGs, and a 36-piece ska band? I don’t know if the term has ever been used to describe a ska band, but Supertones Strike Back can only be described as epic.

The opening track deserves to be on a Jock Jams album and played when football teams run onto the field.

1. dc Talk – Jesus Freak

Seriously, was there any doubt that this would be at the top spot? Jesus Freak changed the culture of Christian music and made it cool. It wasn’t just songs about God, it was stories of struggling with your faith, of finding your identity in your religion, and the line between doing work for God and letting your work praise God.

It’s perfectly flawed and that’s the greatest compliment you could possibly give it.

Honorable Mentions:

These are albums that you may not have listened to as much—or at all—but they were ridiculously good and criminally underappreciated. Most still hold up quite well and you can get them on Amazon for like $2.

Jennifer Knapp – Kansas, Seven Day Jesus – Seven Day Jesus, Joy Electric – Christiansongs, Skillet – Skillet, Johnny Q Public – Extra Ordinary, Five Iron Frenzy – Upbeats and Beatdowns, Grits – Grammatical Revolution, Plumb – Plumb, Sixpence None the Richer – The Beautiful Mess.

Top Comments

Joey Cottle


Joey Cottle commented…


I guess everyone forgot about bleach....

Shawn Stinson


Shawn Stinson commented…

5 of 7 of these albums are on my iPhone right now and I'm not embarrassed by that.


Jacki Cunningham Mayer


Jacki Cunningham Mayer commented…

Of the many good choices for music, I'm surprised that Delirious wasn't in the mix.Rock n Roll Worship Circus was pretty creative, though not long-lived.

Bill Tackett


Bill Tackett replied to Jacki Cunningham Mayer's comment

I was scrolling down just to cast my vote for Deliriou5? They absolutely represented a nexus of worshipful/devotional lyrical content wrapped in rather culturally hip tortilla of sound. Delirou5? along with Matt Redman (IMO) really blazed a trail for young, rocking worship music that groups like SonicFlood and eventually Third Day, Newsboys, etc. tread upon.

Shawn McLaughlin


Shawn McLaughlin replied to Bill Tackett's comment

I think what Youth Groups listened to had a lot to do with the leaders and the personality of the group. Ours was weird because we had several leaders who were VERY into alternative Christian music and one in the business writing reviews and promoting shows. We were in Washington State and would travel to see Poor Old Lu everywhere. Lots of 5 Minute Walk bands, Michael Knott, Adam Again, 77's Daniel Amos (at least the guys) definitely a lot of Rich Mullins in our group. Starflyer, Stavesacre, Sometime Sunday.......Sixpence was huge amongst the girls and the smart boys!

Dave Roberts


Dave Roberts commented…

How is PFR not even an honorable mention? Jars of Clay got their break opening for PFR!



Tocon commented…

Where is Petra - Beyond Belief??? 8-o

Stephen Hale


Stephen Hale commented…

I think you mean "THIS Beautiful Mess" by Sixpence.

Will Pruitt


Will Pruitt commented…

I remember a lot of those as well as Grammatrain, Slick Shoes, and MxPx.

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