Reconcile: Showing gangsters how to live like Jesus
Rapzilla recently filmed a mini-documentary in Third Ward, Houston, where hip-hop artist Ronnie “Reconcile” Lillard has heavily invested in a “missional community” with fellow rapper Corey Paul the church Resurrection Houston over the years.
NeighborhoodScout.com called Third Ward the 15th most dangerous neighborhood in America in 2013.
“You take a group of people who are from a neighborhood, and you try to have a missional effort toward the community,” said Reconcile, who intentionally built relationships with gang members and drug dealers. “You want to do things that are bringing people from the community into this discipleship process. The transformation is that the people who are now going back into the community are the people actually from the community.”
Two of those people who Reconcile helped disciple are interviewed in the documentary. If their faces look familiar, you may recognize them from Reconcile’s three-part Catchin’ Bodies music video series. Their stories played a large role in the inspiration of the EP, and they served as actors in the visuals for Reconcile’s songs “Plottin”, “5AM” and “Catch A Body”.
“In the discipleship process, not only do you want to impart them learning the knowledge of what the Gospel is and how that impacts their life,” Reconcile said, “but also, part of discipleship is showing people, ‘How do I live this thing out?'”
Watch the mini-documentary below.
After living in Houston for several years, Reconcile is moving back to his home state of Florida soon. He told Rapzilla that he plans to serve in a missional community in North Miami with The Brook church as well.
Read Reconcile’s letter about the transition below.
What’s up family!
Recently, my family and I accepted an opportunity to move back home to our native South Florida roots in order to further reach lives in Southern Florida, specifically the Miami-Dade County area. This move, although beneficial for our young family, has many challenges, yet no challenges are too daunting for God. (The moving aspect of the transition alone is going to cost our family close to $6,500). On Dec. 8, 2015, we had another addition to our home, and we now currently have two small sons and one daughter (five months, 14 months and seven years old). in addition to the ministry aspect of our transition, this move also helps us have more resources, such as grandparents, uncles and aunts who can have more involvement with our children’s lives.
I will be working side by side with the organization known as Miami Youth for Christ, as well as with churches and non-profit organizations in the Liberty City, Miami Gardens, Opa-Locka, Homestead and Overtown designated areas.
The city of Miami has numerous social and cultural ills that result in the distortion of the value of life as well as the corruption of law enforcement and the depreciation of neighborhoods. Much like many other major cities, Miami is a global hub for drug trade, human trafficking and is plagued by drug culture and violence. Many believe youth violence in Miami is a direct result of poverty and the stripping of extracurricular activities at public schools because of budget cuts. Youth who would be otherwise playing music, acting or taking part in any of the other sport or art wander about with little to do once school is over. With little to no positive influences or tangible role models, poverty has taken its toll on many of the inner-city Miami communities, and the crime as a whole can be directly correlated to the lack of resources in the community. (Resources have been taken away at every level).
While working alongside Miami YFC, I will be helping foster community mentorship efforts for at-risk youth; giving teens a chance to develop a meaningful relationship with one or more caring adults who become friends, role models, life coaches and advocates who will help them successfully transition from risk-filled backgrounds to the adult world of work and good citizenship.
I will be laboring alongside Miami Youth For Christ in Dade County’s Juvenile Justice facilities working with young people who find themselves in situations and communities where positive outcomes in life are far from certain. Our objectives are to provide enrichment programs that focus on practical issues and a realistic approach to help youth permanently erase destructive habits by recognizing and choosing healthy environments for spiritual, mental and physical development, as well as reinforcing positive habits and behaviors as youth encounter problem-solving obstacles and challenges. We plan to offer young people the chance to develop a relationship with one or more adults who become friends, role models, life coaches and advocates for successful transition back into community, schools, churches and neighborhoods, as well as helping youth accept their responsibilities and realize their potential while maximizing strengths.
In addition to our ground efforts to reach the city and youth of Miami, I will also be engaging South Florida’s hip hop scene and challenging the South Florida hip-hop community to give back to their culture and to uphold stronger values and ideals. Frontline is alive and well, and we will be penetrating South Florida, creating opportunities to strengthen believers and reach South Floridians with the love of Christ through the language and culture of hip hop.
Our journey in Miami calls for a sacrifice of our time and finances. Please help us in raising support that will ensure us the ability to share the good news of the Gospel in Miami-Dade County. Any donation amount helps and will be greatly appreciated.
Ronnie Lillard & The Lillard Family.