Rich first came into the Christian Music spotlight when his song "Sing Your Praise To The Lord" was recorded by Amy Grant in 1982. He had a distinct talent as a performer and songwriter, unusual and sometimes striking instrumentation, and complex lyrics that usually employed elaborate metaphors. He lived recklessly and furiously through this life before dying in a car wreck. He was boldly honest, ruffling the feathers of both Nashville and his fellow Christians, and gave up fame and fortune to live on a Native American Reservation teaching kids music and the hope of the gospel of Jesus. Thousands, including many current artists, would claim to have been impacted by the life and legacy of Rich Mullins. So many great songs..."Step By Step", "Awesome God", "That Where I Am There You May Also Be", and many more... many of which we still sing in church. Perhaps the one that moves me the most was released in 1988 called "If I Stand"...
Rich Mullins lived his life by the truth that Christians are not perfect people, rather people that follow a perfect Christ. For all his success, he had a tortured soul of an artist, suffering from doubts and alcohol abuse. He truly lived a simple life style. He worked as a youth pastor, missionary, and music teacher on a Navajo Indian reservation while producing music. The profits from his tours and the sale of each album were entrusted to his church, which divided it up, paid Mullins the average salary for a laborer in the U.S. for that year, and gave the rest to charity. Rich never knew how much money he made.
I can still remember the morning that I heard of his death in an auto accident in 1997 and thinking what a great loss this was for Christian music.
After his death, a movie was released about his life called Ragamuffin. You can watch the full movie on YouTube at https://youtu.be/MO_7Nj7MG64. I recommend this movie to everyone, but if you really want insight to the unconventional, yet extraordinary life of Rich Mullins I suggest that you watch the 1998 documentary about Rich's life including testimonials from friends and family called Homeless Man: The Restless Heart of Rich Mullins at https://youtu.be/bajoUcmPrgU, or Rich Mullins: A Ragamuffin's Legacy at https://youtu.be/5GmG6HsCsD0