Hip hop culture has consistently set cultural standards of dress, language and social consciousness. Whether or not you like rap, this fact cannot be denied, and it is even true in the Church. The Church has a love/hate relationship with hip hop—there is the degradation of women, the illicit sex, the foul language, etc. But there has also been a movement over the past 30 years to redeem this cultural phenomenon. This movement takes beats and infuses them with theology, brings the Truth of the Gospel to a culture that the Church may never engage, and pushes the boundaries of what the Church looks like.
The Church has taken many forms over the past 2000 years, from meeting in homes to meeting in buildings, and from mega-churches to hip hop churches. Crossover Church in Tampa, FL, is a hip hop church engaging a culture that is often ignored. Last week, Crossover hosted the 14th annual Flavor Fest, a hip hop leadership conference. The conference had a Church Planting Track, a Theology Track, an Artist Development Track, a Youth Worker Track, and attendees who were there to learn, listen and network. World Impact had the honor of hosting the Church Planting Track and these brothers and sisters were hungry for resources, partnerships and relationship. Working in under-resourced communities can be very isolating, and for one weekend, like-minded folks gathered to hear great speakers and listen to amazing artists.
The Church Planter and the Rapper sat side by side in workshops and general sessions, learning about Christ and being encouraged to continue in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. The Youth Leader and the Artist interacted like friends who have shared a history, album after album, teen after teen, transformed life after transformed life. In this space Holy Hip Hop is validated, held accountable, and inspired by those who have forged the path.
The diversity, respect, talent and hope at Flavor Fest were abundant. Everyone (multi-ethnic, multi-generational, co-ed, and multi-cultural) was accepted and invited to a deeper relationship with Christ. What an honor it was to spend four days with this remnant of the Body of Christ! Keep bringing the Word, the Truth and your personality, the Church needs it!
Candy Gibson is the National Marketing Director for World Impact.