Dear Holy Hip-Hop: A State of the “You”- nion Address
Published on March 18, 2009
Over the past 20+ years, the movement of God in Hip-Hop has made some tremendous strides. But as one who has actively participated in the movement and at the same time keenly observed from afar, I submit to you that we’re not quite there yet. Let’s get candid for a moment . . . The Christian Hip-Hop community is often times competitive, territorial, protective and egotistical. Too many of us think we have original ideas, while few of us do. Too many of us think we know the best way to “do” ministry, while few of us do. And too many of us, while we’d never admit it, turn our whole ministry career into a competition with others who we constantly try to out-maneuver and outwit.
The truth is, all this striving can sometimes drive us to do our best for the Kingdom, but it can also be a detriment to our corporate success in ministry. Ego and competitiveness can be positive attributes during your ministry career, but even a healthy ego and zealous competitiveness must be kept in check. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself building your own cloister while vastly limiting your kingdom impact (remember what happened to those involved in building the Tower of Babel?). Too many times, while trying to out-do and over-achieve, we end up alone and ultimately unsuccessful.
Society nowadays tends to define success in terms of accomplishments, awards, material possessions and/or profit margins. God’s Word, however, presents a different definition of success – one centered on a relationship with Jesus Christ and a love for God that allows us to love and serve others. God has given all of us unique gifts, abilities and passions. How well we use those qualities to have an impact on the world around us determines how “successful” we really are.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that an unbelievable thing happens when we lay down our competitive swords in ministry; there’s actually more power in working together than in looking at everyone else as the competition. I honestly believe part of the reason we have not accomplished even more is because individuals have yet to embrace this profound truth: There is no competition in God’s Kingdom because a Kingdom divided against itself will not stand.
I’m not so Utopian that I’m ignorant to the obvious. Personal convictions, philosophical differences & not having the same ministry objectives will prohibit some from locking arms and coming together to join forces. But having a willingness to seek out those who are like-minded & have the same vision should be the heartbeat of those with a Kingdom focus. When we become so enamored with our own work, greater kingdom impact is sure to bypass us.
When Kingdom Minded people conspire together, the Body of Christ as a whole benefits. For you, maybe this message is a charge to become more open-handed with information and resources. Maybe, this message is an exhortation for you to work side by side with a “rival” ministry in order to serve and reach a community for Christ. Maybe this message is an urging for you to invest your wisdom and experience into someone who can do absolutely nothing to advance your own ministry. Maybe this message is a call for you to support another ministry by sowing finances into their endeavors. Or maybe, just maybe, this message is a challenge for you to step away from public ministry for a season in order to fortify your private ministry.
As I close I’ve got 4 questions I’d like for you to prayerfully contemplate:
#1) What has your ministry done in the past month to work with others outside your crew? (sidebar: If your ministry is trying to do everything on its own or if you think that only your ministry is qualified to do it right, then you need to re-evaluate your mind-set.)
#2) What have you done personally to help the Kingdom outside your main ministry area? Have you met with or encouraged a fellow co-laborer in ministry? Have you met to break bread with other ministers / ministries in your locale?
#3) If you’re in a situation where it’s necessary for you to turn down a ministry opportunity, could you comfortably suggest another ministry for the job?
#4) When it’s all said and done, will other people’s lives be better because your ministry existed?
Hopefully, the next State of the “You” – nion address will never come to fruition because the individual members within the Body of Christ will start walking in their respective callings. God has designed the Body to work together, incorporating each individual for His greater glory. Because we cannot see His master plan, we must trust that our individual calling is part of His greater purpose and walk in that trust.
About the Author:
In addition to ministering through hip-hop for over 12 years, Excelsius is the chaplain for the NBA’s Houston Rockets. He and his wife Stacey are the proud parents of 3 kids: Jaren, Madison & Sydney. Together, Ex & Stacey oversee Joined at the Hip Ministries, a Christian parachurch organization that seeks to edify, encourage and enlighten the people of God by teaching the practical application of biblical principles through bible studies, conferences, devotionals, discipleship and urban gospel music. You can learn more about their ministry by visiting www.jathministries.com.