It’s time to grow up, Christian hip hop
A few weeks ago, I tweeted thoughts I’ve been working through regarding the potential impact CHH (Christian hip hop) can achieve. Since CHH is arguably 30 years old now, I’m wrestling through our lack of impact, organized leadership, strategy, togetherness with churches and vision. It’s not that we don’t possess the attributes in part, rather, in my limited assessment, what we lack is an organized philosophy of mission bringing all these attributes together in order to mobilizes masses into action.
We’ve made great strides in seeing records receiving placements on charts and in movies. However, to me CHH is more than rap music. I rejoice in the fact some of our favorite emcees are pastors, church planters and school teachers, yet when you compare the number of rappers in CHH to supporters of CHH, the accomplishments I’ve listed are merely the tip of the “tip of the iceberg.”
Let me put it to you this way, when I was blessed to serve as the Executive Director of ReachLife, one of my first responsibilities was to travel on the Unashamed 2012 tour. On this tour, we saw over 75,000 people attend two-hour concerts in major cities across North America. In-large, these attendees desired to see eight dynamic rappers who love Christ perform live. 75,000 people attending rap concerts where the gospel was shared, that’s amazing!
However, as much of a blessing as it was to see eight friends of mine give their all for God’s glory on a stage night after night, I couldn’t help but think, “What would it look like if those 75,000 concert attendees (plus those who couldn’t attend and are outside of Reach Records’ fan base) were; born-again believers being equipped and mobilized to produce excellent work in spheres of influence outside of rap, while serving faithfully in healthy churches?”
I’ll tell you what it would look like, a potential Great Awakening possessing a characteristic missing from all other previous Great Awakenings; ethnic diversity! With the status quo of racial-tensions in America, it’s like the stage has been set for us to introduce our nation and world to the sole answer to our soul’s addiction to sin; Jesus.
In God’s grace, He’s given believers who are indigenous to the urban context a specific measure of grace to redeem the amoral components of a sub-culture for His glory. Yet, in light of our 30-year history, I would say one constant road block we’ve yet to remove is the mobilization of CHH’s mass of supporters onto pathways for gospel-centered global impact in the spheres of influence their heart’s passion is captured by.
What we need is an awakening! Aha moments in the minds of the tens of thousands of CHH supporters coupled with them taking the necessary next steps to begin the long-term journey down a pathway leading to cultural transformation.
My first approach in helping my fellow CHH supporters seek next steps begins with changing the way view CHH. I want to do so by posting 20 thoughts I posed on Twitter and Facebook. Each thought is a conversation starter tossed out with the hope of changing the way we define CHH and understand our individual roles within it.
I pray my thoughts below, help spark an Awakening of tens of thousands of CHH supporters to become restless until they find themselves advancing God’s glory in the sphere of influence He’s placed them in to represent Him well.
- CHH if your #bars can only move crowds to applaud but fail to mobilize Christians to action, it may be time to rewrite your rhymes.
- CHH if your commitment to a stage & a mic is greater than your commitment to your local Church & it’s mission, it’s time to reevaluate your heart.
- CHH is comprised of more than rappers! CHH is a generation of urbanites redeemed by Christ leveraging a sub-culture to advance God’s Glory.
- CHH, the value of being edified, educated, and equipped in your faith far surpasses the value of being entertained at a concert.
- CHH, you can’t expect ONE rapper to reach thousands while thousands inside of CHH refuse to reach ONE.
- CHH, we’ve been around for 30 years & what systemic change have we produced in-large in our cities? #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, “Christian Rappers” & “Christians who Rap” bring a missional balance our generation has needed. Both are necessary. #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, discipleship is not merely a prerequisite to a record deal. Discipleship is the mission of the church that existed before breakin’, djin’, rappin’, & graffiti and will remain long after they’re gone. #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, cancer is “growth with no purpose”. What’s the purpose of our movement’s growth? If its not discipleship in local churches we’re off.
- CHH, God’s blessed us with the ability to personify #EthnicConciliation. Now is the time for us strategize & mobilize beyond rap. There are more supporters of CHH that rappers doing CHH. We actually have the critical mass to impact culture and direct the eyes of our nation to the Cross of Jesus. It’s going to take more than 16 bars and 45 minute CD’s. Record Sales won’t do it. It’s going to take EVERY supporter of CHH #LivingOnMission as Missionaries committed to local churches who view their sphere of influence as their mission field. We can see a #SpiritualAwakening that reflects the Diversity of Heaven if we obey the Commands of Christ in Matt. 28:16-20. #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, we’d have gospel-impact on Hip Hop culture if we’d publicly affirm & glean from the pioneers of our movement! They are not throwaways. They are wells of wisdom we can drink deeply from. They preached in the projects, detention centers, prisons and community centers to beats when church’s, Arena’s and conventions centers wouldn’t let them in. #ItsTimeForHealingBetweenGenerations
- CHH, Hip Hop was birthed by broken people inhabiting a broken system. Its morally bankrupt. Together, under the care of healthy churches, we can mobilize our lives to strategically intersect the gospel with the those broken in hip hop and by hip hop. To do this effectively CHH, we must produce more than rappers, producers, and poets. We must set our sights on spiritually healthy; pastors, school teachers, lawyers, doctors, sanitation workers, baristas, social workers, screen-writers, directors, politicians, economists, historians, etc. See if we flood EVERY career field with #Unashamed believers who are committed members to local churches, we’ll advance the gospel effectively with our without music.
- CHH, the platform you have was built to hold more than rappers, producers, & DJ’s. Every believer can be a stakeholder in this culture.
- CHH, let’s steward our words wisely. There’s a difference between analyzing an idea in ministry & attacking an individual. #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, the Great Commission is your job description. The mission field reaches beyond charts, concerts, conferences, & our personal comfort.
- CHH, a nation of millions ain’t worried about holding us back if we’re spiritually idle because of our spiritual idols #ItsTimeToGrowUp
- CHH, imagine what we’d accomplish if we stop arguing over methods & mobilized with our local churches to engage culture outside of the genre of rap music.
- CHH, what if we did food drives at all our events? What if we invited our mayors, LEO’s, & school teachers on stage to pray for them?
- CHH, some pray for a “record deal” others can’t get a job because they have to “deal with a record”. It’s bigger than music. #massincarceration
- CHH, three relationships that are essential to our advancement are; friends, allies, and co-belligerents.
This column first appeared on dahorton.com