A rowdy, unashamed crew of believers convened in Atlanta for the kickoff night of the movement's first annual conference on Friday evening. All ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds were merged together to form a beautiful Gospel gumbo united under the name of Jesus Christ. When the 116 movement was unofficially inaugurated years ago, few anticipated a gathering so large in scope that it would draw urban and suburban Christ followers from across the country and even the world.
Such was the draw for Kevin, who trekked to Atlanta all the way from Winnipeg, Canada and providentially ran into others from his country after the night's climactic concert. "Watching Lecrae and others biblically engage the culture is so encouraging," he excitedly remarked. "The principles that you learn here can transfer that to any sphere of life." One of his new friends from Canada, ironically also named Kevin, echoed those sentiments. "It gives us a strong, effective tool to use for our unsaved friends. It's such a door-opener."
The ReachLife-organized event was sparked with a stirring interview of the highly influential Dr. Eric Mason, followed by a challenging message from widely known pastor, Francis Chan. Both visibly affected the thirsty crowds, as if they were all drinking out of a fire hose. "Francis Chan really encouraged me," Hunter shared with us. He and his friend drove 15 hours from Corpus Christi, Texas to hear it. "I realized that every opportunity and every student I come across is someone I can make a difference in for the Gospel." The concert, featuring Da' T.r.u.t.h., Flame, KB, Trip Lee and Lecrae, served as the frenzied rally cry for the fired-up masses.
Hearing these and so many other stories of conference attendees reveals that being unashamed is not exclusive to any one culture. Though it may be most robustly represented by the urban expression of Christian Hip Hop, this can be misleading. In our attempts to properly highlight one section of the Body of Christ, never forget that there are other believers in Atlanta, Winnipeg, Corpus Christi, San Diego and places unknown and unheard of. The Unashamed Conference is more than just another gathering. It is a celebratory summit of the timeless Gospel message. It is the dim, shadowy picture of the heavenly glory to come. This is why we are unashamed for only one Name, Jesus.