Keith Green’s Message Continues to Encourage a New Generation! KEITH GREEN PASSED 40 YEARS AGO TODAY!! Plus 25 things you didn’t know about Keith!

Keith Green’s Message Continues to Encourage a New Generation!

Written by Carl Hamper | 15 Jul 2022

It was July 28, 1982, exactly 35 years ago to date (at the writing of this blog post), when Keith Green and others took off from an airstrip, almost in walking distance from where I am sitting now, and left the earth behind never to return. The airplane accident that took the life of singer-songwriter Keith Green, shook the lives of the evangelical Christian community around the world.

KG Tombstone.jpgIf you are in your 50’s or older, and you were a Christian in those days, you may remember where you were when you heard he had died. You may have sensed it then, and surely it seems true now, that there would never be a Christian evangelist and singer like him again.

His songs were filled with a direction, passion, and challenge that would seem out of place in today’s Christian music. His lyrics, which told of ‘pledging his head to heaven’ for the gospel, pledging his wife to heaven, and then even pledging his children to heaven for the gospel, have no real equal in today’s music. He even had the radical policy of giving away his albums for “whatever you can afford.”

Remember, this was in the days when records were pressed onto vinyl, or on the newer media of cassette tape. Even today in the digital era when Christian music could be given away entirely free, we simply do not see it happening as Keith used to do it at a cost to himself. It was a radical ministry that is still by today’s standards, ahead of its time.

God blessed his ministry to the point of having a huge multi-color web press, sending millions of tracts in dozens of languages around the world. Many of those messages were revolutionary to the Jesus people movement, a revival that crossed cultural boundaries around the world, led by no discernable person or group. These messages would become pillars in the church culture of the day and some are still  fundamental teachings that you receive in any YWAM Discipleship Training School.

They were one of the first ministries that awakened a sleeping church culture to the horrors of abortion, when most church denominations were still naïve to the real problem. Other teachings included the Father heart of God, and the great commission as a calling on every Christian, not just a few believers. Some of us who remember that era, if we are honest, need to admit a sinking feeling we have had over those years. It is this: it seems that when Keith died a whole generation of Christian revival died with him.

The revival of our youth seems to be washed away in the sands of time, and we never would have predicted our present day culture of rampant immorality would have taken its place. Several years ago, when I first was considering working with Youth With a Mission, I found myself in Texas visiting family who had just moved here from Michigan.

I felt the urge to drive an hour out into the countryside, to this little town of Garden Valley all by myself. I passed by the Twin Oaks Ranch YWAM base, and headed to the little cemetery where Keith and two of his children were buried together in one casket. I asked the groundskeeper at the small church where the grave of Keith Green might be. I was surprised that he did not know nor did he recognize the name at all.

This musician, known throughout the Christian world, was now unknown, even by the groundskeeper of the little graveyard where he had been laid to rest. When I found the gravesite I felt a restlessness and a deep sadness. I spent time in prayer, and asked God hard questions that many of my generation tend to have.

I realized it wasn’t Keith Green I was grieving, but the loss of everything he meant to my generation. I was grieving my own loss of a sense of calling, now feeling disqualified through divorce, physical injury, and other trials of life. I was also grieving the fact that many of my closest friends had lost their faith in Christ.Through social media, I had reconnected with some of my most zealous Christian friends from decades past, only to find that they had left God entirely.

In that time of prayer at the gravesite, I began to realize as long as we are still here, the “revival generation” is not gone. If we want to know where those passionate believers went, we need to look in the mirror. We are those same kids, those same zealous dreamers who could not even imagine a life without serving God as our main pursuit. Even though much has happened to us, we are still the same people, and more importantly He is still the same God who called us.

I know as King David said, that our days are numbered in God’s book from the beginning, even before we are born. God called us before we had ever sinned or done right or wrong of any kind. Christ died for us before we sinned our first sin, the solution was given before we knew we had the problem. We are not disqualified by age, or events, good or bad, intended or accidental.

FullSizeRender 6.jpgKeith Green’s last message was a plea for more people to enter the mission field. He confessed he had been clueless as to the great need for missionaries until he visited several  organizations working for God in many nations.

Nobody could have predicted or anticipated his sudden death, just like many of us didn’t predict or anticipate how life would develop for us since those days. Yet, we are still here, and God has called many of us back to His work.

Then the next time somebody asks, “Whatever happened to all those Christians from the 70’s and 80’s Jesus movement?” We can say, “We are right here. God has been preparing us, but now we are ready. We have aged, we may have more bumps and bruises, but we still have the passion we used to have. We were the Christian youth of the 70s, but now, we are the Christian leaders of today, and we are calling a new generation to answer the call to missions!”

Read Keith Green’s final Message here. 

This year is the 40th anniversary of Keith Green’s graduation to Heaven. In partnership with Melody Green and Last Day’s Ministries, YWAM Tyler is hosting the Keith Green 40 Years in Heaven event to honor his legacy and call a new generation into missions! Please follow the link to register for the event to on July 30th or watch the Livestream on our Facebook Page.

This blog was originally published in 2017.

Keith Green: 40 years since his untimely death, the music lives on

The American singer-songwriter famous for his outspoken evangelistic style died in a plane crash in 1982. Derek Walker looks back on his life, faith and music ministry


Keith Green narrowly missed out on joining the infamous 27 Club. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse – along with many other talented musical stars – all died aged 27. Green survived an extra year.

Unlike other rock stars, the American songwriter’s death wasn’t the result of drug or alcohol abuse, but a tragic plane crash that also claimed the lives of eleven other people, including the artist’s two young children.

This month marks 40 years since his passing. Green was undoubtedly one of the most talented Christian songwriters of his generation, although ‘There is a redeemer’, the song most associated with him, was actually penned by his wife, Melody. Throughout his short life, his uncompromising lyrics echoed the all-consuming passion for God that birthed his radical lifestyle.


Green’s mother noted that he could hum ‘Rock-a-bye baby’ with perfect pitch at nine months old. His career arguably began at two-and-a-half, when he won a talent show. By seven, he was taking piano lessons and appeared in his first TV commercial; at eight he wrote his first song, and by eleven he had signed a five-year recording contract.

Although his family were culturally Jewish and practising Christian Scientists, there was nothing spiritual in his music at this stage; his early singles were about girls. Green was the youngest person to ever be signed to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

This led to television shows and a phone call from the music entrepreneur Colonel Parker, who said that if he wasn’t fully tied up with managing Elvis, he would have taken Green on.

In his own words:


“No compromise is what the whole gospel of Jesus is all about. In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer…Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him!”

“Why do we idolise Christian singers and speakers? We go from glorifying musicians in the world to glorifying Christian musicians. It’s all idolatry! Satan is getting a great victory as we seem to worship these ministers on tapes and records and clammer to get their autographs in churches and concert halls from coast to coast.”


Time magazine called Green “a pre-pubescent dreamboat”. But although his first single made the top ten in Hawaii, the fame he seemed destined for went to Donny Osmond, who arrived on the scene shortly after. The failure hit Green hard. While his classmates were looking to their futures, he was already an ‘almost-was’. At 15, he began running away from home, keen to explore the drugs, mysticism and free love of 1960s America.

On one occasion, after Green was picked up by police, his parents declined to bring him home thinking a night in jail might teach him a lesson. But he just wrote songs in his cell. Having no paper, he used the heel of his shoe to write on the wall.


While absconding again, Green discovered LSD and rang his friend, Todd Fishkind, to tell him: “I’ve found God!” Green had long been curious about spiritual things and thought LSD was key to knowing more, but after a frightening trip, decided taking hallucinogenic drugs was not the way.

Green knew about Jesus, but feared organised religion. By 1972, he had tried various different things in his search for meaning, including vegetarianism, Buddhism, tarot cards, astrology charts, Eastern mysticism and the occult Rosicrucian order, but nothing really satisfied.

The previous year, he had found out where Joni Mitchell lived and – finding her gate open – played a song outside her home with Fishkind. She opened the door and invited them in, letting Green play her piano.

Although he was thrilled to meet such an iconic singer-songwriter, he was deeply concerned that even she had questions – so what chance did he have to find answers?

As the year ended, Jesus was the only option left on Green’s list. So he spent some poker winnings on a 150-year-old cross, worn smooth by a monk’s prayers. Driving away, he found himself sobbing deeply and praying – although he still didn’t feel he knew God.

A year later, he bumped into an old friend, Harmony. When their conversation drifted onto Jesus, Harmony said: “I am Jesus Christ.” Green surprised himself by shooting back from Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Harmony’s usually mild face convulsed into a sneer.

He leant towards Green, teeth bared, and let out a feral growl that ended with a snake-like hiss. It was as if he had been momentarily taken over.

The intensity of this experience startled Green and his then-girlfriend Melody, revealing the possibility that there were both light and dark sides to the spiritual realm.



Green was drawn deeply to Jesus, although very wary of his followers. Musician friend Randy Stonehill invited Green, and his now-wife Melody, to a Friday night Bible study at pastor Ken Gulliksen’s house. The couple cornered Gulliksen afterwards, asking questions. That night in 1975 they prayed to become Christians.

The transformation was instant and immediately reflected in Green’s songs. To find relief after years of searching meant that his lyrics were potent with evangelical zeal, captured well in the album title No Compromise. He had always sought to bring a spiritual message in his songs, and now that he knew where to direct listeners, he wasted no time.

keith Green

Source: Kev Jones

Unfortunately, as Stonehill put it: “His zeal quite often got ahead of his emotional and spiritual maturity.” Having found the truth, he wanted everyone else to discover it too, but his tactless way of urging everyone to live a radical life riled even his closest friends.

Melody later recalled: “When we got saved, it was just like we were shot out of a cannon into another universe. We hit the ground running, and our whole mindset was: ‘This is the truth we’ve been looking for all of our lives; all our friends don’t know this.’ So we had a mission in our hearts.”

They would travel to parks or the beach, Green would play guitar, preach and together they would lead people to God. In the film The Keith Green Story, Melody recalled: “Everywhere we went, we were witnessing to people.

We found people with needs…Keith started saying: ‘Here’s a pregnant girl. She doesn’t know what to do. Let’s bring her home with us. Here’s this guy we picked up hitchhiking. He doesn’t have a place. Let’s bring him home.’”

Their three-bed suburban home housed 14 people, with another in the garage. As numbers grew, they bought the house next door. Then they rented another five properties, housing 65 people at one stage. More than just accommodation, this was a community focused on sheltering the needy and growing disciples. Requiring more space, the community eventually moved to rural Texas.


During this time, Keith secured a recording contract with Christian music label Sparrow, and released the album For Him Who Has Ears to Hear, which quickly sold 100,000 copies.

Green drew huge crowds, but saw himself not simply as an entertainer but as a messenger of God. He disliked charging for concerts, not wanting to be seen as profiting from ministry.

By 1980, Green’s give-what-you-can policy (beating Radiohead by decades) extended to record sales. Via his 100,000-strong mailing list, he released his third album, So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt? for whatever people wanted to pay. Nearly a third were given away free.

His fourth album, Songs for the Shepherd was a worship album. Just weeks after it was released, Green hosted a missionary family at their community and promised their kids a plane ride.

The Greens’ charity had a single-engine plane, but their ex-military pilot was insufficiently trained on civilian aircraft. All four adults and eight children on board died instantly when the plane crashed shortly after take-off.

In his final conversation with his wife before taking that flight, Green said: “If I don’t come back, raise Rebekah to be a woman of God.” Melody said the comment came “out of the blue”.


Green’s uncompromising life was an inspiration. Evangelist Winkie Pratney called him: “One of the most amazing men of this previous century.” A fellow artist called him: “abrasive, but anointed”. Stonehill said: “Most of the time, Keith acted as if he knew his time on the earth was short and he wanted to make the most of it for the kingdom.”

Green once said: “If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing him, sharing his cares and his burdens, weeping and rejoicing with him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in his presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!”

Privately, he was passionate about serving others, fiercely hungry for God and prepared to lose the comfortable domestic life he could have had. Publicly, he was unstoppable in his witnessing and indefatigable in his support for mission. We might have lost his life, but his values and evangelism can be found in his visceral, timeless music – and that lives on.

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green.

Keith Green passed away on July 28th, 1982 almost 39 years ago to the day!!! I want to remember him with a series of posts!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Keith Green – (talks about) Jesus Commands Us To Go! (live)

Uploaded on May 26, 2008

Keith Green talks about “Jesus Commands Us To Go!” live at Jesus West Coast ’82

You can find more info on

If you want to buy this DVD go to the online shop on his website.

And if you want to know more about this man and why he followed Jesus look at my profile for the video about his life.


You are called to go
Keith’s concerts were evangelistic and exhortational. He was the Lecrae of the 70’s. Here is what he has to say about the great commission:

“The world isn’t being won today because we’re not doing it. It’s our fault. This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth. And no where in the world is the gospel so plentiful as here in the United States. No where. And I don’t want to see us stand before God on that day ans say, ‘but God I didn’t hear you call me.’ Here is something for all you to chew on, you don’t need to hear a call, you’re already called. In fact, if you stay home from going into all nations you had better be able to say to God, ‘You called me to stay home God, I know that as a fact.'”

Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live)

Uploaded on May 26, 2008

Keith Green performing “Asleep In The Light” live at Jesus West Coast ’82

You can find more info on


Keith wasn’t messing around, watch his biography and see how he backed up what he said with his life:

The Keith Green Story (FULL)

Uploaded on May 14, 2009

Keith Green was an intense and radical man of God. He was taken from this Earth at a relatively young age. His legacy lives on through his music and his sermons. This video is about his life.

25 Things You Never Knew About Keith Green

Wayne and I were very close to Keith from 1978-1982. We both served on the leadership of Last Days Ministries, and have many wonderful memories of Keith and those developing years of Last Days Ministries. Here are some inside Keith-facts.

1. Did you know that Keith wore flip flopseverywhere he went?

2. Did you know that Keith always had to share his food with everyone, because if he liked it, he knew you would too? It was the Jewish mother in him.

3. Did you know Keith was a real family man? He couldn’t stand to be separated from Melody or his kids for long.

4. Did you know that Keith was very soul searchingand could be harder on himself then he was on others?

5. Did you know Keith would sometimes cut his own hair; and even played barber shop with some of the other brothers at the ministry?

6. Did you know that Keith was a real night owl? He often got his best revelation late at night and would commonly call people at 2-3am to share his fresh insights.

7. Did you know that Keith used to mow the grassin Texas on a big tractor as a way to relax and to clear his head?

8. Did you know that Keith invited so many family and friends to witness the birth of his children, that it nearly became a public event?

9. Did you know that he always had a team of people praying while he was in the studio? Along with his talent, there were hours and hours of intercession that went into each album.

10. Did you know that Keith had a deep love for people and would get really involved with people he was ministering to?

11. Did you know that Keith would read the bible in the bathroom and got some of his best revelation in there?

12. Did you know that he loved to play racket ball? He also played tennis and ping pong, and was very competitive.

13. Did you know he loved to try new things? He learned to milk a cow, drive a tractor and run a printing press.

14. Did you know that he loved to go to auctions, and was able to furnish our facilities in East Texas saving thousands of dollars?

15. Did you know Keith shaved his beard when we moved to East Texas from California, to avoid offending the locals.

16. Did you know that Keith could type faster with 2 fingers than most of us can with 10?

17. Did you know Keith was really close friends with the famous revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, and often went to him for counsel and advice?

18. Did you know he was the same off stage as he was on stage? With Keith, what you saw was who he was, he was genuine, sincere and real in all he did.

19 Did you know that Keith once drove the bus off the road in Hell’s Canyon, Utah leaving it dangling over a 2000 foot cliff? It took 2 bulldozers to lift it back onto the road.

20. Did you know Keith borrowed money on his house to sponsor the “So You Wanna Go back To Egypt”album so we could make them available to people for whatever they could afford?

21. Did you know Keith never received a salaryfrom the ministry?

22. Did you know that in spite of his success and popularity Keith lived a very simple life?

23. Did you know Keith loved to walk when he prayed? He could often be seen in an animated prayer walk going along the edge of our ministry property.

24. Did you know Keith led worship every Friday night at a prayer meeting led by Leonard Ravenhill near our ministry in East Texas?

25. Did you know Keith had a vision to do a restaurant that would offer food for whatever you could afford as a ministry outreach to the community?

Did you know Keith wasn’t perfect, but he held nothing back in serving Jesus and bringing others into God’s Kingdom.

Related posts:

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green.

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green. Sunday, May 5, 2013 You Are Celled To Go – Keith Green Keith Green – (talks about) Jesus Commands Us To Go! (live) Uploaded on May 26, 2008 Keith Green talks about “Jesus Commands Us To Go!” live at Jesus West Coast ’82 You can find […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 4)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 3)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 2)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green’s article “Grumbling and Complaining–So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?” (Part 1)

Keith Green – So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt” live at West Coast 1980 ____________ This song really shows Keith’s humor, but it really has great message. Keith also had a great newsletter that went out […]

Keith Green Story (Part 9)

Keith Green – Easter Song (live) Uploaded by monum on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “Easter Song” live from The Daisy Club — LA (1982) ____________________________ Keith Green was a great song writer and performer.  Here is his story below: The Lord had taken Keith from concerts of 20 or less — to stadiums […]

Keith Green Story, includes my favorite song (Part 8)

Keith Green – Asleep In The Light Uploaded by keithyhuntington on Jul 23, 2006 keith green performing Asleep In The Light at Jesus West Coast 1982 __________________________ Keith Green was a great song writer and performer and the video clip above includes my favorite Keith Green song. Here is his story below: “I repent of […]

Keith Green Story (Part 7)

Keith Green – Your Love Broke Through Here is something I got off the internet and this website has lots of Keith’s great songs: Keith Green: His Music, Ministry, and Legacy My mom hung up the phone and broke into tears. She had just heard the news of Keith Green’s death. I was only ten […]

Keith Green Story (Part 6)

The Keith Green Story pt 7/7 I remember when I first Keith Green. He had a great impact on me. Below are some quotes on Keith: Quotes   “It’s time to quit playing church and start being the Church (Matt. 18:20)” — Keith Green, as quoted by Melody Green in the introduction to A Cry […]

Keith Green Story (Part 5)

The Keith Green Story pt 6/7 When I first heard Keith Green in 1978 it had a major impact on my life. Below is his story: LEGEND   Keith Green – When musician Keith Green died in a plane crash on July 28, 1982, the world lost a special man whose heart was aflame […]

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