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Hip-Hop is a Secret Weapon for the Church to Evangelize Non-Believers

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By Justin Sarachik, Christian Post Reporter
November 8, 2011|2:36 pm

Hip-Hop is the voice of the streets and the universal language of thoughts, ideas, and knowledge, and the music genre seeks to provide answers to listeners with culture and a way of life.

The power of rap music causes slight drama in churches as they set out for new ways to evangelize. Youth Groups and out reaches need to stay current and updated to draw outside non-Christians, as well as to stay interesting for believers who need alternative choices for secular culture.

Rev. William Leon Ward has a vision, and in his vision, he claims hip-hop can help his church get involved while getting to know the Lord.

“There are a lot of young people out here that the church neglects, but we want to embrace them,” said Rev. William Ward. "Today, the Sunday schools are empty, the choir stands are empty and kids are doing their own thing.”

Youth Pastor Brandon Ward of the Oasis Christian Center explained to The Christian Post how hip-hop could involve the youth.

"Hip-hop can reach people on a level that typical preaching and worship may not be able to. People immersed in hip-hop cultures are much more likely to respond to this kind of contextualization of the Gospel than maybe a more traditional approach," said Youth Pastor Brandon Ward of the Oasis Christian Center

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Brandon also explained how Christians are sometimes afraid to conform in ways beneficial to spiritual growth and outreach.

"I think some people are a little afraid to use Hip-hop just because of the stigma surrounding it, and even some of the more relevant hip-hop music out there can be very offensive, and sometimes Christians try to distance themselves as much as they can from that kind of thing," Brandon said.

"I think that God, however, is able to cross cultural boundaries and deal with people in any context--and I think that as witnesses of the Gospel, we must make every effort to reach people in their context, using their language, to be as effective as we can in sharing the love of God. God has a way of redeeming culture in a way that is beautiful and fulfilling, and I think we should join Him in redeeming this genre of art that has great appeal to so many people who might never turn on a Chris Tomlin CD,” Rev. Brandon Ward added.

Some music-lovers feel hip-hop can be an ultimate form of worship and that something with such a following can only please God.

V Jett, a Christian rapper, told The Christian Post: "Hip-Hop is a form of human expression that was created by man. Therefore, anything man creates essentially comes from God. Unless it's sinful, it should make its way to God's church and Hip-Hop making its mark on faith was inevitable."

Others music-lovers argue Christian rap music is weak and watered down. The argument against holy hip-hop is that real rap is raw, real, and sometimes dangerous. It paints pictures of the street, a tough life, or the basic emotions of life usually featuring graphic imagery and adult themes.

Christian music, they contend, paints a happy picture feeding Christians positive reinforcement while alienating non-Christians.

Rapper Redeemed, one half of Christian duo Freestyle Fam, said it is possible to make rap music that is real, raw, and full of wordplay while unabashedly Christian.

"The skill of most Christian rappers is not something I feel the liberty to comment on. However, I do feel that if Christian MCs focused more on being rappers who happen to be Christian rather then Christian rappers, Hip-Hop would be a much more effective tool in the arsenal of the believer," said Redeemed to The Christian Post.

Redeemed explained how he creates his songs. All of his songs hit hard–tackling subjects like rejection, growing up a single child, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, poor decision making, and sour relationships. He aims to be as skillful as the best rappers in the industry while expressing one message, God's love.

"I feel Hip-Hop is a primary tool in reaching the ears of non-believers. Hip-Hop is a culture. It has a following so strong and in depth, it almost serves as a living-breathing organism in the world today. As a MC, I find that being effective in the arena of Hip-Hop is not just something I love to do but something I'm called to do," Redeemed said.

"I'd go as far to say that if a believer can be effective in the Hip-Hop game of today, they can be taking part of something that not only brings salvation but transforms an entire culture in and of itself. Unfortunately I don't feel many Christians share the same approach to this vision that I do, or may think they do but don't realize they aren't walking it out,” Redeemed added.

 

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