Should Secular Rap Music Be Used to Evangelize and Engage Youth?

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Should Secular Rap Music Be Used to Evangelize and Engage Youth?

By Vincent Funaro | Christian Post Reporter

Google search of Iggy-Azalea replaced original picture attached.

Google image of Iggy-Azalea replaced original photo attached.

Secular hip-hop music sometimes features strong sexual language, cursing, misogyny and murder. So why are some churches using it to engage the youth?

“Misfit the Conference,” a youth and young adult event that took place in New York City this month used Iggy Azalea’s summer smash “Fancy” to engage the crowd. The song features braggadocios lyrics, a bit of foul language and a bridge that talks about getting drunk at the mini bar.

The band at Misfits chose to leave out the lyrics and played the instrumental from the song. The DJs spun beats from some classic hip-hop and EDM records that also featured questionable content in their original forms. The event’s coordinator, Christ Tabernacle Church’s Pastor Chris Durso explained the decision to play these records during Misfits.

“I will take something that was meant for bad, and I will use it for good,” said Durso to The Christian Post. “I think one of the most disrespectful things you can do in hip-hop is if you take someone else’s beat and you rap over it. I feel like that’s what we’re doing to the enemy. We’re taking what he meant for bad, we’re turning around and putting our own lyrics and images over it. Saying we’re going to take this beat, rebrand it and give it a new sense of value.”

Music producer Chris Belmont of JahRock’n productions runs a recording studio that caters to both Christian and secular artists. It is located in the basement of Park Slope Christian Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, New York. Even though the studio is inside a Christian sanctuary, Belmont still allows artists to have complete creative freedom. He sees the business as an opportunity to connect with those who do not subscribe to the Christian faith and would never step foot inside a church otherwise.

“When we’re in community, and [non-believers] are in our studio, there’s a relationship that is formed,” Belmont told CP. “There’s been tons of times the topic of God has come up, where I have some hardcore rappers from the street that I’ve worked with for many years and I was able to be a seed planter with the Gospel. Yes, I cringe sometimes when [artists] use foul language when we’re in the church building, but to be honest it’s a double standard, I think people feel in their minds the walls of the church are holy, but the church is the people.”

Though their methods are a bit different, both Durso and Belmont see non-Christian or secular music as a vehicle to connect with unbelievers. Both of them do not agree with the messages in certain songs, but feel the music itself can create a bridge to them.

Durso claims Christians recognized the music during the conference because they’ve heard the records before. Some circles of believers would steer clear of songs such as “Fancy” due to its lyrical content. But do words with un-Christian values directly affect believers when they listen?

Grammy award winning rapper and Christian performer Lecrae weighed in on believers listening to secular hip-hop music in a 2012 interview with The Christian Post and if it would have any negative or positive effect on them.

“I don’t think it’s a sin [for everyone who listens]. It may be a sin for some and not for others,” said Lecrae to CP. I know for those of us who are critical listeners, and we can listen to [music] without being washed over, than we may just appreciate the art. [It’s like as if] I was having a conversation with a non-believer. I can have a conversation with a non-believer and not be offended if they cuss every five minutes.

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Lecrae Moore on secular Hip hop

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13 Comments on “Should Secular Rap Music Be Used to Evangelize and Engage Youth?”

  1. NeNe

    ONE WORD: NO with scripture and explanation.

    James 3:12
    My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

    Now secular artists are going into “So-called” Christian Hip Hop & Rap, just to become mainstream to crossover

  2. Lebo

    Just so I have this straight, that means that God creates the Good and Perfect life giving worship, the enemy counterfeits and corrupts it so it brings death, and we choose not to access the Good and Perfect godly things we have been freely given at the cost of the life of the King Of Kings; but rather to access the perverse and putrid and deadly works of the enemy in an as a vehicle to bring the Good Godly and Life giving Truth to a defiled and death robed, hell bound world?
    Well huh!!!
    Hands up anyone who drinks pure refreshing filtered water out of a dirty putrid stinking cup when you can have a sterilised one with no effort or cost to you. While we are at it lets talk about just how beneficial and life giving that water will be to you…

  3. Mrs. Anderson

    Apparently they haven’t seen any of Ex DVDS. lol The DJ is just using double speak in trying to convince us that they want to create an opportunity to lead these secular artist to Jesus. Haven’t we heard this before. We don’t lead anybody really, they have to be called by God John 15:16. If you are going to open a studio and cater to all genres for money then do it separate from the church and stop making the church a den of thieves.

  4. Tim W

    I refuse to believe that God is so limited, and the people of God are so under-resourced, that we need to take songs created with perverted intentions and re-purpose them for ministry. I believe the Holy Spirit can give us something fresh, with God’s original intent, that can bless people. Pastor Lewis has a point, if people already know the intent and the original lyrics, placing lyrics about Christ over the song will not replace the original message. I can sing gospel lyrics over Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” bass line. Regardless of the lyrics I sing, the original lyrics and feeling in that song will still play in the minds of the people. This is a sure way to confuse people.

  5. jack

    Sorry , you reach them if HE is lifted up. Why complicate the matter ? This WORD is so simply , ( yet complex )
    these leaders have to ask , am I playing this mess for the kids or to justify my taste in music ? If you can’t bring
    people to salvation without the WORD , maybe you should consider a change in jobs. A dj maybe.

  6. cortana

    It is, however, a sin to steal someone else’s property illegally, and modify it without permission for your own purposes. I guess Chris Durso doesn’t understand what theft is.

  7. 1servant

    This stuff is just a mess, not everybody is going to receive Jesus and His Gospel the way it is in the bible,so I guess these pastors are going to take it upon themslves to tweek it for the youth. I feel sorry for this generation because there are very few in the mainstream church that are teaching and preaching the sound simplistic truth in the word of Almighty God(the Bread of Life). It’s the Truth that will draw save deliver and set our children free and it is the Truth that will keep them not hip hop(flaminhots skittles cookies cakes doughnots
    and every other junk food that you can name). Jesus said I am The Way and He said the way is narrow and only a few will find the Way and enter in and He said let whosoever will let them come and drink of My water and be filled, most still want to drink from the waters of the world that will leave them hungry and thirsty, so the churches are going to give them carnal things to bring them in so that they will remain bound to carnality and be in church(what a joke i can imagine satan in a corner just tickled by this foolishness). TELL THE TRUTH PASTORS! Thanks Pastor Lewis for standing on the wall along with exministries

  8. Dr. Larry Smith

    The answer is no, the church consist of born again people, the place of worship is the physical temple, this is the wrong thing to do, note the following.
    Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. (‭I Samuel‬ ‭5‬:‭1-5‬ NKJV)

    The Lord Yeshua Jesus said himself that the gathering place for the people should not be disrespected in no way form or fashion.
    And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (‭Mark‬ ‭11‬:‭16-17‬ NKJV)
    Just because something looks and sounds good doesn’t mean that it is good . Remember good and evil was on the same tree. And The Lord said do not connect with it. A little leaven, leavens the whole lump. This young music generation is in need of mature Fathers Godly men to teach and show them the way. Don’t use soul winning as a excuse to sin.

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