Christian Music Industry Remembers Rich Mullins
     His untimely death impacts friends, industry, fans and Christian music

     "God used the music of Rich Mullins -- from the No. 1 hits to the most
     obscure album cuts -- to reach beyond denominations, age and race."

     That observation from KFTA-FM's Jeff Roberts in Beaumont, Texas, echoes the
     hundreds of sentiments heard nationwide as Christian music learned of its loss-what
     Steven Michael, music director for WFTN-FM in Elkhart, Kan., called the "most tragic
     loss in the Christian music industry in 15 years."

     For listeners in areas with Christian radio, the news of Rich Mullins' death on Friday
     night, Sept. 19, quickly found its way onto the airwaves and quick-acting stations with
     Web sites. By Monday, stations had opened up lines to allow listeners to tell about the
     impact Mullins' music had on their lives.

     KJIL-FM in Meade, Kan., took song requests all week, letting listeners introduce the
     song and share its personal significance. "We've also been encouraging listeners to
     send Email and share these notes on the air," said KJIL's Michael Luskey. "The
     response has been good and healing."

     Mullins, 41, and band member Mitch McVicker, 24 (vocalist on "Heaven Is Waiting"
     from the independent release, Canticle of the Plains), were coming from Elgin, Ill.,
     where they had been recording McVicker's debut album. The two were traveling
     southbound in Mullins' Jeep on I-39 near Peoria, Ill., to a benefit concert in Wichita,
     Kan., when, according to Illinois Highway Patrol Sgt. Gregory Jacobsen "the Jeep lost
     control for no apparent reason, causing it to roll and eject the two men." A semi
     tractor-trailer driven by Gregory V. Lea of Newkirk, N.M., also traveling southbound,
     approached the accident shortly after it happened and swerved to avoid the Jeep in the
     middle of the lanes. "The rig then struck Mullins, who died instantly," Jacobsen said. It
     is not known who was driving or what caused the Jeep to fishtail. "Indications are that
     the two were not wearing seatbelts," Jacobsen said. The police report cited no
     witnesses. Jacobsen, a reconstructionist, will continue investigating the accident.

     McVicker was taken to a nearby hospital, then airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical
     Center in Peoria, Illinois. At press time, McVicker's condition had been upgraded from
     "critical" to "serious" but he was still in the neuro-care unit, said hospital spokesperson
     Chris Lofgren.

     McVicker's family has been inundated with people wanting to extend help, said Chuck
     Pryor at WCIC-FM in Peoria. "This is a real opportunity for us to really be a Christian
     radio station," Pryor said. "The community has rallied around them, cooking meals,
     doing their laundry, prayer."

     WCIC was by far not the only radio station who attempted to provide healing through its
     airwaves. Bob Thornton with KTLI in Wichita, Kan., quickly became the point man,
     updating stations nationwide through mass Emails and daily Website postings. Radio
     stations and their listeners around the country were clearly impacted by Mullins' life
     and death, and time was spent remembering:

     Mullins had recently signed to Myrrh Records [The CCM Update, Aug. 25]. He was
     scheduled to go into the studio in October with producer Rick Elias to deliver an album
     slated for June 1998. A video and book was also anticipated, said Mullins' current
     manager, Jim Dunning, Jr., who has served as Mullins' CPA since 1989. Mullins had
     already written and, singing into a jambox, had crudely recorded the new songs on
     tape. "A lot of us believe this record needs to be made," Dunning told The CCM
     Update. "It's a powerful album, so we're still considering a way to release it in a manner
     pleasing to Rich."

     "When we were together two weeks ago," said Myrrh Vice President Jim Chaffee,
     "Rich told me he had 10 songs about Jesus that really expressed his heart. When
     we've had an opportunity to work through the grieving process, Jim [Dunning] and I will
     begin to discuss the appropriate way to move ahead with these songs."

     Mullins had also began his book, according to longtime friend Kathy Sprinkle of
     Wichita, Kan., who told The CCM Update about a recent conversation she and he had:
     "He read me the first reflection for his book and I just sat there. Sometimes he scared
     me with the things he wrote because I knew they didn't come from him. That's how I
     felt when I heard this. I told him, 'It's the best thing you've ever written.' He agreed." For
     Mullins, that was a strong statement, considering his 100-plus songs and the page of
     prose he wrote each day.

     The future of the Mullins-produced album from his and longtime companion Beaker's
     musical, Canticle of the Plains, is uncertain, said Dunning. The musical, based on the
     life of Saint Francis of Assisi, takes place in the Midwest during the 19th century. The
     time frame ties the story in with the Navajo Indian Nation in Window Rock, Ariz., where
     he and Mitch McVicker had been living. Mullins moved to the reservation in 1995 and
     had been teaching music on the reservation, though not in the schools, for the last two

     For the past nine years, Mullins had devoted his time to Compassion International and
     within the last three, began focusing strictly on the U.S.A. ministry, specifically with
     Native American work in the Southwest. "His desire was to teach students on the
     reservation," said Alyssa Loukota, U.S.A. ministry marketing and communications
     director for Compassion. "Due to a lack of funds, many schools on the reservation did
     not have a music program. That's what Rich hoped to offer them."

     Rich Mullins' life and music affected lives unlike any other artist, people note. "For me,
     Rich was more than just another Christian recording artist," an Email said. Thousands
     more have followed suit, said Brian Williams, whose Rich Mullins Website bears more
     than 1,500 tributes from Mullins appreciators. Additionally, CCM Online has collected
     more than 200 Emails from 35 states and five foreign countries. For Christian music,
     many say, one of the greatest influences is gone. Michael W. Smith is among the
     artists who cite his impact.

     "Rich Mullins' life and music has impacted me more than anyone I know. He had the
     ability to take the mundane and make it majestic. Nobody on this planet wrote songs
     like he did and I feel we've lost one of the only true poets in our industry. I love Rich
     Mullins. And no one will ever know how much I'll miss him."

     The funeral for Mullins was held Thursday, Sept. 25 at an undisclosed place for family
     only. The open visitation was at Whitewater Christian Church outside of Richmond,
     Ind., where he was born. At press time, a memorial service was scheduled in Nashville
     with Michael W. Smith, Mullins' Ragamuffin band and others participating. A
     nationwide memorial service in Wichita, Kan., coordinated by KTLI-FM, was to be held
     Saturday, Sept. 26, in Wichita State University's Henry Levitt Arena. Mullins' family
     has asked for donations to Compassion International in lieu of cards and flowers.
     Contact (800) 334-KIDS, P.O. Box 7000, Colorado Springs, CO 80933.