Today EX Ministries received a letter from the senior pastor of EIFM, Pastor Frederick Price Jr., addressing the body of Christ concerning Hip-hop. We are humbled and honored by God, that this is a testimony of His hand moving upon the hearts of men throughout Christendom. Glory be to God! Please continue to help us spread the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to others by sharing this ground breaking (TTBHH) message. Our Lord Reigns Forever! Praise God!
Ever Increasing Faith Ministries
Office of Senior Pastor Frederick Price Jr.
For Immediate Release August 10, 2010
Why The Church Needs To Stand With G. Craige Lewis – by: Frederick Price Jr. There has been quite an uproar regarding Exministries founder G. Craige Lewis and his opposing view of Hip Hop in the church. It has caused somewhat of a debate amongst laypeople, while the leadership for the most part has been silent on the subject. I felt it of necessity, as not just a leader in the body of Christ but also as one who once had Hip Hop infused in some of my sermons, to be vocal about where I believe the church should be standing regarding this subject.But first a little history: On August 31st, 2003 our church had our very first Hip Hop Sunday. At the time I was not pastor so of course it had to be approved by the current pastor which happened to be my father, Dr. Frederick K.C. Price. His only concern was the nature of what I wanted to do on that Sunday (mind you my dad knows nothing and cares nothing about Hip Hop), and upon me telling him that information he gave me the green light. My purpose was to inform the congregation (parents especially), of the reasons why their young people were so enthralled and engrossed with this movement. I felt I was qualified because of the music I often listened to and the emergence of the culture at that time. So every aspect of theservice was influenced by Hip Hop, from the worship, to the attire, to the word. The end result: a successful service in the natural based on attendance and parishioner response. God was glorified, Jesus was exalted, and The Holy Spirit was present. It appeared we were on to something so we continued it the next Sunday and then declared that every 5th Sunday (there are about 4 a year) would no longer be “Youth Sunday” but would now be “Hip Hop Sunday”. Now mind you the dome was built to hold 10,000 people, however on Sundays we averaged 4500-5000 people only. The first Hip Hop Sunday brought in 7200 people and every one after would go on to be the most attended Sundays in the span of two years. Based on those stats I just knew we as a church were doing the right thing.
After the second Hip Hop Sunday my sister Cheryl told me about a DVD a friend of her’s gave her with some guy on it speakingagainst Hip Hop. My first thought was, “this dude is a hater”, mind you I hadn’t heard him yet. I was in her office another time and she had the DVD in her possession so I told her to play it. The part where he was speaking on Bone Thugs in Harmony was on and after about 3 minutes I cut it off and stuck with my unfair judgment, “this dude is hatin’, he just doesn’t get it”. And after people had for years listened to a portion of my father’s messages and judged him the same way, when I look back on it I can’t believe I judged Elder Lewis the same way.
It would be another year before a member at our church told me about “The Truth Behind Hip Hop part II – Exodus into Egypt”, Elder Lewis’ next teaching on the subject of Hip Hop. The member said, “Pastor have you heard G. Craige’s new teaching”, I said no I haven’t; he said “it’s deep man, and I think he’s talking about our Hip Hop service although he doesn’t say your name”. We agreed he’d let me borrow it and he’d bring it to me that Sunday. I got home from church, put it in the DVD player, sat back and watched. I honestly had to agree with everything he was saying, but of course when he got to the part about me I was pissed, heated, and livid. I felt he was judging me based on his opinion of Hip Hop, not concrete truth. I did, however, wonder why he didn’t mention my father’s or my name, since he mentioned everyone else. Nevertheless I proceeded to pause the DVD, look on the back of the case, I went online to his website, I did everything I could to contact this man. I left 2 voice messages and sent 2 emails before I watched the rest of the DVD. I had to voice my anger and stress how we needed to talk. Two days later he responded to my email most generously. We communicated a bit, he said he understood what I was trying to do to reach the youth but knew some things about Hip Hop that he believed would change my view. He was coming to LA the next month and we agreed to meet. When we did there was only an exchange of the Love of God, we had great fellowship, a great meal, and he was able to share with my personally his respect for my father, and even went on to minister to me about the direction of the ministry God would have for me in the years to come. Something in me said I needed to invite him to minister but I let 101 excuses prevent me from doing so. After his departure we would text occasionally, but it would be another 5 years before we spoke again. Over that five years, we no longer had Hip Hop Sunday, mainly because I hated the name, but the words of Elder Lewis still rang in my mind. I knew we still needed youth Sunday, so I renamed it the Blueprint but still continued to do most of the things we were previously doing. I also wasn’t sure if Elder Lewis’ statement about Hip Hop being a religion was fact or opinion.
In November of 2008, my father announced to the church I would be pastor in march of 2009, my 30th birthday. So at the beginning of 2009 I ended the Blueprint. I was tired of the gimmicks, tired of not allowing the Word and the Spirit to draw the people, tired of the fads that fill up Hip Hop. Just like the songs, dances, slang, and clothing that continuously get old in Hip Hop, so did our service get old to the youth, on top of that I had nothing else to say about the subject. It wasn’t until the end of the year that I reached out to Elder now Pastor Lewis again mainly because of a daily EX word a member of ours forwarded to me about the VH1 Hip Hop Honors and how pastors use Hip Hop in their churches to reach the youth. I was confused, I didn’t understand why I was included in the list when Hip Hop was no longer apart of our ministry. After I finally reached him it was concluded that my being included in that list was partially due to a misunderstanding but also because of while yes I had removed Hip Hop Sunday from the church, I had remained silent on the subject, and it’s a fact that sometimes silence speaks in a voice that overpowers yelling at its highest decibels. Most of my silence was due to, once again, wondering whether Hip Hop being a religion was fact or opinion. Well in December of ’09 I got a hold of “The Gospel of Hip Hop” by KRS-1 and that did it. Now some of you may be thinking Pastor Lewis had long brought that up in his lessons previously, but you have to remember there was a five year lapse in contact between Pastor and I, plus I hadn’t been checking his website nor had I seen TTBHH parts 4 and 5. Regardless this has been my journey since ’03 to where I stand now.
Now I know that was a lot to digest but I felt it necessary to tell you all that to bring you up to why I’m where I am now regarding Hip Hop. Here’s what I know, not believe, but know: Hip Hop is not of God and should not be used in the church as a way to reach any generation. Aw man I can hear people that know me saying, “but pastor what about all you did regarding Hip Hop?”, well that’s where it is, in the past. If I knew what I know now I never would’ve began it in the first place. And I know wholeheartedly that God used Pastor G. Craige Lewis as the catalyst to get that revelation to me. Now when I did the podcast with Pastor Lewis at the beginning of the year, I was humbled by the comments received but there was one I recalled in which the individual said, I needed to go apologize to my congregation for bringing Hip Hop in our church and what about the people that didn’t come to know Jesus on those days. Well my response to that person and persons of the like is this: I don’t feel bad about the average of 30 people that responded to the invitation on those particular Sundays. Why? Because in my heart and in our display of worship, we were giving it all to the God of the Bible, the One who sent His son Jesus to die for our sins, so while I wish I could go back and not do Hip Hop in the church, I don’t wish to go back and not see lives changed because, not false pagan gods, but Christ was preached. Also most people just didn’t like the music young people were listening to, they had no revelation from God about the subject; it wasn’t until Pastor Lewis taught the subject with power and authority and actual researched facts that those like myself began to listen. Let me say it again, Hip Hop is not of God. I equate it to the New Age movement but with an urban twist. New Age is a belief system that incorporates many religious tenets. Well Hip Hop does the same, it’s a way of life and we as Christians can’t live Hip Hop and liveChristlike, it’s one or the other. I’m not writing this to lose friends or gain them, I’m writing this because I feel I need to. I’m not coming against any person, group, or ministry. I mean Pastor Lewis has spoken or written on individuals that I personally know, some close associates of mine. But regarding this subject matter, right is right. I believe we all should thank God for this man because he’s doing the job that many of us know we should be doing but some of us are afraid to. The truth hurts and nothing that opposes God can be used to glorify God, plus we the church do not need approval from the world. The world does not need to be befriended, they need to be ministered to, then those who become believers need to be fed the milk, bread, and meat of the Word. We don’t need to get in league with the world to deliver the Word to God’s people, that’s an oxymoron and just plain stupid. We all who hold leadership positions need to interrogate every inch of our ministries just to make sure everything about them is upright. In no way am I saying I’m perfect, I may still be doing some things in ministry that could be categorized as carnal but in no way is that my intention. Instead of bad mouthing this man of God, let’s get behind him and encourage him in “his” assignment, remember it’s not yours it’s his. I thank God he’s exposing what’s he’s exposing and I’m excited he’s coming to minister at our church next year. Christian rappers need to be informed that what they do is not Hip Hop, it’s hope music. Music that brings the message of hope, belief, and faith in Christ. If I stand alone then I stand alone, but this man’s ministry has been prophetic and on point, and I stand with him 100%.