It is interesting how movements begin. I love looking back and seeing how history unfolds. Opportunities arise for people to step up and call their generation to see things differently, to believe accurately and live passionately. Some movements are short-lived while others have a lasting impact. You have micro-movements of subcultures—smaller cultures within the greater culture. You also see macro movements that can change nations or potentially the world. They are led by imperfect people who oftentimes did not necessarily desire to start a movement. God, in His sovereign plan, weaves people into His story to play roles that bring about His purposes. They are bit players in a bigger drama.
I have been thinking about a specific group of guys for a long time. I have watched their lives and considered the impact they are having. I have wondered how far reaching their scope potentially could be and marveled at how God has orchestrated their lives for such a time as this. I have often thought about how powerful the gospel is to transform and redeem as I have considered their ways. In short, this group has been an encouragement to me in a way that has caught me off guard. This group consists of four front-line artists who simply don’t want to waste their lives: Lecrae, Tedashii, Trip Lee and Sho Baraka.
They are Christian rappers who formed ReachRecords and 116 Clique with a passion to reach this generation with the gospel. It’s not gimmickry. It’s not ego. It’s not hype. They are cultural missionaries who use the medium of rap to share the message of Christ. It’s not unlike a medical missionary using the medium of surgery to win the opportunity to share the message of Christ. They are preachers without a pulpit, teachers without a podium. They are slowly infiltrating the hip-hop culture with turntables and microphones, seizing the opportunity to share the gospel by utilizing their gift as a platform.
I found their calling significant for several reasons. First, they are unashamedly preaching the gospel of Christ. Their music is Christocentric and culturally decipherable. Every song and every lyric points to the Savior in some form or fashion. Every event is a crusade. Every medium is an opportunity to preach.
Second, rap and hip-hop is far reaching in scope. Rap music appeals to the inner-city teenager as much as it does to the upper-middle class yuppie. This style of music draws from a diverse group of people. It is hard to profile; therefore, their reach is wide.
Third, they are African-American role models. The fatherless epidemic has plagued the inner-city and contributes to many of the cycles that continue to bind this segment of society. Here is a group of men being faithful husbands and faithful fathers. Here is a group upholding the worth of marriage and esteeming the role of a father. Here is a group deflecting fame and fortune to show that Christ is better. As they live faithful lives, a generation is watching.
Fourth, they are doctrinally solid. They are not watering down lyrics to make them palatable; instead, their lyrics are rich with sound doctrine that teaches the deep truths of God’s worth. They are Christ-centered, not man-centered. They call a generation to forsake worldly pleasures and seek prosperity in Christ alone.
Fifth and finally, their calling reminds me that mine is no different. We certainly have different mediums and spheres of influence, but I am called to unashamedly preach the gospel of Christ. God has placed me in an arena of influence in which I am to be faithful. I am a role model to the next generation. Even if I impact no one else, I will impact my family. I want my wife to marvel at the love of God because of how I love her. I want my children to see a marriage saturated with grace, godliness and goodness. I want to pass on to my little ones the beautiful reality of the Savior and watch them, by God’s grace, pass it along to their own. I want to see chains broken and new branches of a family tree begin. I desire to see our little home play its part well in the drama of God’s unfolding, redemptive story. I want to teach them the rich and deep truths of Scripture. I want our home to be free in the Lord and bound in His love. Regardless of musical taste, we have a lot more in common through Christ. It is stronger than beats or rhythms. It’s a family called the Church and each member is faithfully playing their part.
I hope this is much bigger than a movement. I hope it’s a revolution, a gospel-centered revolution. Rap it. Preach it. Live it. Don’t waste your life.