The Call of God: Keith Green

If you’re not called to stay, you’re called to go. ~Keith Green

I come from the Keith Green generation. Anyone familiar with him knows that he was a no-holds-barred brand of Christian. All or nothing. In or out. Hot or cold.

And he utterly fascinated me.

Not only was his ministry wildly appealing to zealous Christians like me in the late ‘70s, but his messages and music moved me to tears and spurred me on toward greater surrender to God.

After Keith Green’s death in a plane crash, his wife began touring with his last concert on video. We attended one of the Memorial Concerts with another couple. I was about 20 at the time.

After the concert, I was never again on board with his ministry.

Keith Green’s final message was true to his form. His words were bold and unwavering. When it comes to Jesus’ command to go into the world and preach, Keith said: If you’re not called to stay, you’re called to go.

Here it is if you want to watch it.



I was MORTIFIED by his message. Terrified, actually.

His delivery hit me like an ultimatum. Heavy handed guilt and manipulation played on my emotions to such a degree, I felt a near panic. At that age, I was utterly unprepared to leave my family and friends for a foreign land. And yet, I did NOT know what God’s call on my life was at the time. Did that mean I was called to GO?

Melody’s words of caution don’t go far enough in my opinion. “Don’t go unprepared” could mean anything depending on the listener. Without detailed instruction, one has to wonder: how many of these people had Keith stirred into a frenzy? How many thought 2 or 3 weeks was enough prayer and fasting to consider themselves prepared to board a plane for Africa?

The many dangers of his message are painfully clear to me now. But frankly, they were clear to me even during my crazy Christian days. Hopefully, his message doesn’t pack the punch it once did.


2 thoughts on “The Call of God: Keith Green

  1. When I was a kid in the late 70s or early 80s Keith Green played at a local college auditorium (Tacoma, WA). It turns out that my wife-to-be was also there with her family.

    Shortly thereafter, we heard that he died in a plane crash. We were a Catholic family. So my dad’s take on the plane crash was that Keith had recently said blasphemous things about the Virgin Mary causing God to take him out.

    My wife’s family on the other hand (being Protestant) felt that “God called him home”.

    I wasn’t old enough to understand a lot about him other than I wasn’t into piano music and I thought the concert was kind of like church!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith Greens death was such a big deal among my fellow Christians. For weeks we engaged in endless dialog asking how god could let it happen or even cause it. It all left me in a mental frenzy. Nothing made sense when viewing this through my almighty god lens. Green had a couple of his kids with him and that really added extra sting to the wound. Take god out of the equation and it was a tragic accident. But when god is a part, it’s a supernatural clusterfuck.


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