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Photo by Philip Rood

John 13:1-17

I’ve never liked the bumper sticker, “God is my co-pilot.” To me, it has always suggested that God is next to me as a backup plan and a helper in case of emergency, but that He’s not exactly steering my plane. Granted, we have free will as humans, but service to Jesus also requires us to submit to His plans, right? He’s in charge, we seek Him in our lives each and every day, and trust.

So bear with me on this one. I know the title Jesus is My Hype-Man looks a little “off.” I realize, at first glance, it may suggest that Jesus is being compared to my “backup,” my “sidekick,” my “apprentice,” or my “co-pilot.” As a performer, however, I’ve learned much about the hype-man’s role.

A few years ago, some other artists and I were rehearsing for a tryout to be part of a large national tour, as a “package” of artists. My hype-man at the time, M.lot, was just learning the ropes, regarding stage presence, and his overall role. He was doing a remarkable job, in my opinion, but his comfort level on-stage was just beginning to develop. Pettidee pulled him aside and explained his role in a new light. He said, “your job is to literally CARRY Bobby on your shoulders during the performance. The crowd may not realize it, but YOU, as hype-man, are working harder than the feature act to ensure that the job gets done. You set the tone of the show by literally being the guy in charge of crowd participation and interaction. You welcome them in, make them feel at home, feed them, and debrief. Even though Bobby Bishop is the name on the flyer, the hype-man is running things on that stage. He’s the one relating to the crowd.”

I’d never thought of it that way, but it made perfect sense. A hype-man is a true servant in every sense of the role. He is not given the credit, but he runs the show. He provides a safety net in case of emergency, but he also carries the entire production on his shoulders, with no expectations of reward in return. He’s a humble servant, just as Christ was. He relinquishes “star quality” and takes on the role of encourager. To me, a hype-man emulates the man, Jesus. Christ was an unassuming man of the people. God’s plan was that man could relate to the Savior, so He sent the Savior in the form of a man. And not the flashy “king” they were expecting, either, but rather, one to whom they could relate.

Crowd @ Flavor Fest 2008Another stage support, or hype-man of mine is an emcee named Ilde (Ill-day). Ilde and I met in 2002, as he found me on a rap website, and showed up at my church that next Sunday. It turned out he lived just a few doors down from me. I’ve never met a man as servant-minded as Ilde. He’s an emcee in his own right, with his own music, but to this day he introduces himself to people as “Bobby’s Hype-Man.” He “washes feet,” just as Christ washed his disciples’ feet, everywhere he goes. He is the most encouraging individual in my life. My newest stage support, Seth David, always insists on carrying the merchandise, setting up, and ensuring everything makes it back into the van after the show. Last week, after we returned from a botched event because the van blew a gasket, he insisted on picking the trash up off of my sidewalk while he waited for his ride. Servant-hood at it’s finest.

I want Jesus running my show. I want Him leading the charge, breathing life into my ministry, and providing me encouragement and guidance along the way. When I’m down, I need Him carrying me. He set a remarkable example of what it is to relent in servitude to fellow man, thus, unto Him. I’ll say it again: Jesus is my Hype-Man.




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