A North Carolina pastor has initiated an effort to reach the young and unchurched with the launch of his new hip-hop-based church.
Pastor Quinn Rodgers held service for the first time at GeneratiONE Church in Huntersville last weekend after prayerfully considering the church concept and feeling the need to offer a relevant form of Christianity to young adults.
"Most people said that this was the most liberating worship experience they had ever had," Brandi Williams, public relations director for GeneratiONE Church, told The Christian Post. "It was not a confining worship experience and people were able to express how they felt about Christ without limits. This is the culture of hip hop. Hip hop is a very expressive art form; therefore, our worship is very expressive."
About 200 people attended the first service and while traditional hymns or contemporary Christian music is the norm in most churches, GeneratiONE Church worshipped while hip-hop music was played instead.
In order to attract youth, church services begin with a happy hour (sans alcohol), which they have dubbed as a Christian networking event, followed by their praise and worship service.
Rodgers' intention is to deviate from the negative connotation attached to the musical genre and replace it with a grounded Christian doctrine.
Although the concept is different, Williams says some attendees were even crying and thankful for the worship experience.
"The Bible declares 'let everything that has breath praise the Lord,'" said Williams. "It doesn't say how, it says let everything praise the Lord."
She also noted that Rodgers felt compelled to start the church because young adults are seeking Christ in a "different and unique way."
According to a Pew Research study, young adults between ages 18 to 29 are becoming less religiously affiliated compared to older adults, which is why Rodgers hopes the youth community will be receptive to his church's unique approach.
While the idea of a hip-hop church is rather new, another congregation in San Diego is embracing the concept as well. The Body Church in San Diego attracts young adults through urban worship experiences, which has led to its development as a multicultural congregation with the majority of its members under the age of 30.
"… The hip hop and urban culture influences and transcends almost every race and ethnicity within our city," Pastor Victor Schloss told The Christian Post, in a previous interview. "Therefore, it is imperative that we incorporate redeemed elements of the hip hop and urban culture into our church so that we can contextualize the gospel and communicate its relevance to the lives of its hearers."
On the Web: www.generatiONEchurchcharlotte.org