Getting the Gospel in Someone's Hand- Trip Lee and Rise
Bellingham is a relatively smallish city nestled between two very big ones, Seattle and Vancouver. Despite it’s size, it’s not void of big city woes. With legalized Marijuana, and Meth being the number one drug of choice here, its no surprise that teenagers have an even more difficult time moving through their high school years without being scathed somehow with addiction or knowing someone who struggles with addiction.
My daughter is starting high school this year but she is homeschooled so my fear that she will succumb to negative peer pressure is not necessarily on my radar. She has also grown a fond affection for Christian hip-hop and hip hop dance, in spite of the stereotypical beliefs that home-school kids are sheltered and uncultured. As a matter of fact, our entire family loves and listens to the likes of Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, Lecrae, Tedashi and all the rest of the 116 Crew.
This past December, our family had dinner with some friends and the topic of hip-hop arose. One young gal, who is currently attending seminary, shared with us how hip-hop was instrumental in helping her understand the Gospel properly. Needless to say, I was extremely blown away by this revelation.
I know how Biblically centered many of the lyrics that encompass Christian hip-hop are. I also take comfort in knowing my kids are not just listening to fresh beats in exchange for shady lyrics. I am thankful that I could have meaningful conversations with my kids and answer their questions about the lyrics especially since they reinforce a Gospel centered perspective.
However…. I had no idea that in a meaningful, "in community" context, Christian hip hop could actually lead people to understand the Gospel and come to know Jesus in such as way as to save them.
What is always on my heart as a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know and love Jesus too, I know that it often takes creative ways to get the Gospel into the hands of those that would not normally hear it. My heart seems to lean towards the ones that are not easily reached through obvious ministry endeavors. I know there are people who don’t feel inclined to clean themselves up on Sunday mornings and head to a local church to hear the Gospel preached from a pulpit. In order for these folks to hear the Gospel, believers have to go to them. But how?
With a daughter entering her high school years, I am in a season of parenting where, by the grace of God, I can continue to help nurture a deeper understanding of the Gospel to her, not just by giving her more head knowledge of Jesus but helping her see what it looks like to share the gospel with her peers in real tangible ways.
How easy and "safe" her life could be if I just allowed her to take hip hop dance lessons at a local Christian dance studio? What if I just let her use her gift and dance talent to build her own self-esteem and self glory?
But, our lives are not our own and we do not belong to ourselves. We, as believers, should not be looking for ways to glorify ourselves, but instead we should look for ways to glorify God and bring them news that Jesus saves sinners.
As a mother who has been teaching these truths to my children for some time now, I wanted to figure out a way to show my kiddos what it looked like to actually live out these truths - using our gifts and talents to share the Gospel with others.
This summer, my daughter and I will be leading and organizing a 5-day Christian hip hop dance camp, Rise 620, to reach Bellingham's teenage kids not already plugged into teenage youth groups or the various teen ministries already happening in the city. We have a studio already lined up and secured. We have 4 really awesome hip hop dance teachers committed to the mission, Nick, Andy, Lysa and Monika, and they are super excited to be a part of this team. The dates for the camp are July 13-18th.
We covet your prayers for this outreach. Our goal is to get Biblically centered and Gospel saturated hip-hop music into the hands of teenage kids who would not normally listen to Christian hip-hop. Prayerfully, this will usher in an opportunity to help them think about who they are in relation to who Christ is and what Christ has done for them. In conjunction, we want to afford them the opportunity to gather together in community to learn fun but disciplined dance moves. The dance camp will be free of charge to those teenagers that register for the camp and who cannot normally afford traditional dance classes.
This summer’s focus will be on Trip Lee’s Rise album. Trip Lee, who is also a pastor and part of a church plant in Atlanta, wrote a book to coincide with the Rise album. His goal for both the album and the book is to get young people to want to break free of looking like a clone of our current culture and rise to make God known, not tomorrow when they are older, but today.
If you would like to donate to help fund this project, we would be most grateful. Please continue to pray for God to be glorified through this summer camp. Pray for the teens that will come with open and repentant hearts and those who will rise from death to life through this outreach. Along with offering the week long camp, we would like to put in the hands of each of the camp participants a copy of Trip Lee's album and book, Rise - Get Up and Live in God's Great Story.
1 Corinthians 6:20 – for you were bought with a price, So glorify God in your body.