The 116 Life Ep. 29 – “Ministry through Music with Scott Free of Crossover Church ATL”
Reach Records VP and A&R Lasanna “Ace” Harris sits down with Pastor of Crossover Church and Founder of the City Takers movement in ATL to talk about his journey from pursuing music to realizing his gift is in speaking and mentoring. Tap in to hear him break down what it has looks like for him to make disciples through hip hop and culture.
From Hip-Hop to Holy Culture: A Journey of Transformation with Scott Free
As the host of the 116 Life Ace Harris has had the privilege of engaging with some truly inspiring individuals. One such person is Scott Free, a pastor, evangelist, and founder of City Takers, a street ministry organization. The two have known each other for a long time, and Scott’s journey from a life steeped in hip-hop culture to becoming a beacon of hope and transformation is nothing short of remarkable.
Scott Free: A Life Transformed
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Scott was heavily influenced by hip-hop artists like Redman, Method Man, and Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew. However, after moving to Atlanta 23 years ago, he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. This profound experience led him to give up rap music and embrace his calling as an evangelist, shepherd, and leader.
Scott recognized the power of music as a tool for spreading the gospel and began sharing his testimony and preaching through music. His gifting as a speaker and communicator resonated with people, leading him to become an influential figure in Christian hip-hop.
A Divine Encounter
Scott’s transformation wasn’t an overnight process. It began with a chance encounter with a stranger who helped him load a U-Haul truck during a move. This stranger shared his testimony of how Jesus appeared to him in prison and changed his life. Initially skeptical, Scott was moved by the stranger’s story and began to wonder if Jesus could do the same for him.
At a red light, Scott had a vision of all the times God had saved his life without him even realizing it. This revelation brought him to tears and he realized that God had been pursuing him all along. This experience led to Scott’s radical conversion, and he left behind his old life to follow Jesus.
City Takers: A Mission to Serve
After serving faithfully in his home church for five years, Scott started City Takers, an organization focused on reaching out to the urban community with the message of Jesus. Established in 2006 as a nonprofit called Freestyle Missions, City Takers used hip-hop music to gather people around the Word of God, serving in areas such as jails, homeless shelters, and drug rehab centers.
As the movement grew, City Takers became a platform for Christian hip-hop artists to serve, learn, and grow. In 2010, they launched the City Takers Experience, a monthly event that became the longest-running Christian hip-hop event in the nation. The event featured local artists and provided a larger platform for marginalized voices to be heard.
Impacting Lives Through Music
Scott shared some interesting stories about his interactions with young artists and their involvement with City Takers. He mentioned a young rapper who performed at a Halloween event and then shared a prayer or message in Spanish for the Hispanic community. Another artist, Future Kid, was given a platform to perform at City Takers events.
One particularly touching story was about Hulvey, an artist who had a connection with City Takers through his parents. Hulvey’s parents used to serve with City Takers many years ago during their homeless outreach programs. Years later, Hulvey reached out to Scott on Instagram, informing him that he was moving to Atlanta. Scott agreed to meet with him and later realized that Hulvey was the same little kid he had known years ago. Scott looked out for Hulvey and even brought him into his own home when his living situation became uncertain. Hulvey went on to record songs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maverick City Music: A Ministry in Prisons
Scott also shared the story of how Maverick City Music, a worship collective, began their prison ministry. In 2019, Scott connected with CJ, who had a heart for impacting kids who grew up in similar circumstances as him, with parents in and out of prison. They decided to reach out to Scott, who was already impacting kids in communities where their parents or family members were incarcerated. However, their plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late 2020, Maverick City Music finally had the opportunity to worship and preach in a prison yard filled with prisoners. This experience was powerful and led them to desire more of this kind of ministry. They came up with the idea of recording an album in a prison, despite the challenges and red tape involved. Eventually, they recorded the album “Kingdom” at Everglades Prison in Miami, Florida. The album and their subsequent tour with Kirk Franklin had a profound impact, shaking the nation and the church to consider their role in ministering to the marginalized, including prisoners.
The Church as a Mission
Scott and I discussed the importance of viewing church as a mission with lives at stake. Scott emphasized the need to train each person in their role, comparing it to a ship on a mission where lives are at stake. He acknowledged that it is not his responsibility to save people, but it is his duty to love them and share the truth.
We both agreed that church should be seen as a lifestyle rather than just an event. It’s not about the platform, position, and prestige that comes with church involvement, but about pointing people to God and setting them free from their insecurities and upbringing.
Supporting City Takers
Scott offered his assistance to anyone interested in learning more about living a missional lifestyle through City Takers. He provided information on how to connect with them through social media and their website. City Takers relies on donations to carry out their work, and Scott explained how people can support and donate to the organization.
In conclusion, Ace expresses his gratitude to Scott for sharing his inspiring journey and the transformative work of City Takers. His story is a testament to God’s transformative power and the impact that one person can have when they answer their calling.
To find out more about Scott’s work, volunteer, donate or just state up to date with the organization, visit the City Takers website. Looking for a CHH event near you? Visit our events page and pull up. Let’s fellowship! Remember you can catch an all new episode of The 116 Life, every Tuesday at 8 pm est. on Holy Culture Radio, Sirius XM, Channel 154.
Scott’s upbringing in Miami and his encounter with the living Jesus [00:01:08] Scott shares his background growing up in Miami, his involvement in the hip hop culture, and how he had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life.
Scott’s involvement in music ministry and the power of music for the advancement of the kingdom [00:02:36] Scott talks about how he got involved in Christian hip hop and realized his gifting as an evangelist and leader through music ministry.
Scott’s first encounter with the gospel and the impact of a church outreach program [00:04:05] Scott shares his experience at a church outreach program in Miami where he heard the gospel for the first time and how it planted a seed that eventually led to his transformation and calling as an evangelist.
The prison testimony [00:09:18] A man shares his testimony of encountering Jesus in prison and how it changed his life.
Questioning if Jesus would do the same [00:10:54] The speaker wonders if Jesus would have a similar impact on his life as he hears the testimony.
Vision of God saving his life [00:11:18] The speaker has a vision of all the times God saved his life and realizes God has been pursuing him.
The Birth of City Takers [00:17:30] Discussion about the origins of City Takers and how it was birthed out of someone’s vision.
City Takers’ Mission and Approach [00:18:29] Explanation of City Takers as a missional church movement and their focus on reaching areas where the church traditionally doesn’t reach.
City Takers’ Impact on Christian Hip Hop [00:23:23] City Takers’ role as a bridge and starting point for many Christian hip hop artists, providing platforms for marginalized voices and creating opportunities for them to be heard.
The Young Rapper [00:26:47] A young rapper named R.G. performs and shares a prayer or message in Spanish for the community.
Future Kid [00:27:30] 1K Phew, a future kid, performs rap and is given a platform multiple times by City Takers.
Hulvey’s Story [00:27:55] Hulvey’s parents used to serve with City Takers, and he reconnects with Scott Free after 14 years, leading to a close relationship and support from Scot Free.
The beginning of Maverick City Music [00:36:02] Discusses the start of Maverick City Music and their impact on kids in prison.
Recording an album in a prison [00:36:59] Talks about the idea of recording an album in a prison and the challenges they faced.
Multiplication of City Takers [00:42:02] Shares the vision of multiplying City Takers mission bases across the nation for effective ministry.
The Missional Nature of the Church [00:45:05] Discussion on the importance of viewing the church as a mission, with lives at stake and the responsibility to love and share truth.
Living Out Faith as a Lifestyle [00:45:36] Emphasis on the need to live out faith as a lifestyle rather than just attending events for personal gain or recognition.
Support and Donation for City Takers [00:47:29] Information on how people can support and donate to City Takers, a street ministry organization, to help them continue their mission.
Related Radio Show: 116 Life