Throughout history, God has taken horrible situations and turned them around into beautiful redemption stories. The same holds true today, even in the south of London.
The BBC Radio 1Xtra YouTube documentary follows the prodigal son journey of Enrique, a pastor at SPAC (Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church) Nation church in London. It focuses on how drill music is utilized to attracted gang members to Christ, and the impact the church has had in the United Kingdom.
If someone would have told Enrique seven years ago that he would become a pastor, “I wouldn’t believe it.” Growing up, Enrique lived the gang life; selling drugs, causing violence, and producing hip-hop music based on his violent lifestyle. He was about as far away from God as anyone could.
One fateful night, however, God made his existence known to Enrique. While walking home at the age of 17, a man rushed Enrique, stabbed him multiple times, and dashed off. Enrique fell to the ground, hitting his head as he collapsed. Based on his wounds, time was severely limited before he bled out. Out of seemingly nowhere, a man with medical knowledge came and started treating Enrique’s wounds. As he laid there, Enrique prayed, “God, please save me. If you save me, I’m going to serve you.”
God heard, and Enrique was rushed to the hospital in time. Eventually, his wounds healed, and he set out to keep his promise to God.
So here he is today, 4 years later, ordained as a pastor at SPAC Nation. Many of the members are wealthy business owners, some with the same background as Enrique. It is a healthy church, with more than 800 members.
The church has had its fair share of adversity, however. Toward the end of 2017, videos of a group of rappers, some wearing balaclavas, in SPAC Nation began to circulate on the internet. The group is called Hope Dealers. The group comprises of former gang members who gave their lives to Christ. Bringing their culture to the church, the group creates drill music; a subgenre of hip-hop that imitates and describes gang life. Hope Dealers have taken drill and injected the gospel into it.
While some were against the music, the intentions and hearts of these rappers are in the right place. The mentality Hope Dealers and SPAC Nation have is one of acceptance. They want to accept gang members into their church, so as to show them the love of Christ.
Enrique tries to do just that. Four pastors and Enrique make up a group called Radical Soldiers. The group travels around the UK, hosting ministry events, like Youth Revival, for university students. The events are so successful, they can pull a crowd on Friday nights.
But even these tours, along with SPAC Nation’s methods of worship and evangelizing, are under scrutiny. Because most of SPAC Nation is prospering business owners, there is an abundance of wealth shown and given away. The amount has led some to believe that SPAC Nation has become commercial and draws in people by their greed.
Enrique disagrees with the thought of their wealth being a negative impact. To him and the Hope Dealers, they are just trying to heal what is the problem: poverty. “If you’re able to tackle poverty, crime will reduce,” explained Enrique. “It’s a fact.” While some may come for the wrong reason, they are still exposed to the gospel.
Show God’s love to all. That is the ultimate goal for Enrique, Hope Dealers, and the rest of SPAC Nation. Through their sinful past, they will keep sharing the gospel and showing the UK there is a better way to live.