Is the Problem with Lecrae

A movement starts with a moment.  Rosa Parks at the front of a bus.  Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the chapel door. William Seymour, a one eyed preacher praying with his head in a wooden crate on Azusa street.  The movement is never specifically about the moment, it wasn’t created by it.  The moment was only a catalyst, whether good or bad.
The current discussion about Lecrae is another moment.  His choice and the choice of others to label themselves just  rappers (or insert artists) as opposed to Christian rappers, doesn’t make Lecrae the originator of the issue at hand.  I would even venture to say it doesn’t make Lecrae the person that we need to point the finger at, eventhough it doesn’t exempt him from being part the discussion.  The issue stems from what the root cause is.  
The inclination of the older generation is to say “this younger generation” has a problem.  But if I’m fair it’s not just this generation.  The problem reflects on the people of God, young and old.  Disagreement implies disunity because we are supposed to be one Bride, one People.  The greater issue is not our lack of unity with each other, the real issue is our lack of agreement with the Holy Spirit.  If we were in agreement with the Holy Spirit, likely we would experience more agreement and unity with each other.  We can’t agree to disagree, because in walking away nothing has changed, we are still in disagreement.    
We should be like the Bereans, turning to the Word and open discussion, with a willingness to give up our own convictions for God’s convictions, if they don’t line up with scripture.  There’s a need to read scripture not through doctrines of men, or a specific theological lense, but through the lense of the Holy Spirit.  Not examining it to create new doctrine, but going back to examine the Word in all it’s authenticity.  There are times that I’ve been wrong, and there are times I’d like to think more often that not, that I’ve been right, but if I’m right its because I’m in line with scripture.  
Most people that know me well would say, that as I’ve matured I’ve been more willing to concede my wrongness without offense.  This is because as I’ve continued to mature in God, his Word increases in value to me personally.   I’ve become more aware of my smallness as opposed to God’s greatness.  

I think however, that for much of the church on this earth, our hearing has become muddied with opinion.  And much of the opinion, is flowing from a secular worldview-it’s self-serving, politically correct and fearfully tolerant.  We hear things repeated over and over and it begins to sound like the truth to us. This only happens because over time we are not continually searching the scriptures.  The search is what helps us daily wash off the dirt of a sinful world.  If we stop searching, God’s voice becomes dull and distant.
What’s been most disturbing to me is the rise of tolerance in the Christian church.  If an evangelist stood up and said or did things that didn’t line up with scripture he was questioned, because he had a greater responsibility.  He was held responsible for what was said from his pulpit.  A response to sin or errant behavior in an evangelist or preacher wasn’t hating, it was necessary because from their pulpits they influenced thousands or millions.  
The evangelists, no longer are just people that stand behind a traditional pulpit, they are mostly artists.  Their pulpit is the stage and the web.  From that place they influence thousands and sometimes millions and yes many of them even preach or teach.  These teachers, preachers and evangelists through the arts have great responsibility and with that responsibility come questions.  The Bible says we have a right to ask, based on when we appear to see a conflict with scipture.  Clarity requires that we state the apparent problem and wait for an answer.  However, in saying it, often it’s viewed as casting judgement.  Christians, we can’t have sacred cows, the Bible says idolatry is a sin.  
If you are standing on a pulpit, whether it’s on the stage or on the web, there will come a time that you will be required to respond to an issue.  If people can’t reach you, they’ll pose the questions the same way that you present your opinion or your preaching-publicly.  That’s not hating, that’s not bitterness, that’s not anger or resentment.  It’s responsible behavior, especially for those of us that have a responsibility to  safeguard a flock which may have some of it’s members regularly visiting the Church of the Artist.  So we must state what we see and we must ask questions.  To quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman, “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.”  Peter Parker’s response was, “…Stop lecturing me please.”  It turns out Uncle Ben was right. -Leigh Piatt-Gonzalez l Hope Center

To Err is Human

To Err is Human

This generation has lost respect for eldership.  One day, after a lifetime of discovery, regrets, successes and spectacular failures, I hope that those that were disrespectful are met with a biblically appropriate response from the generations coming up behind them, respect.  I mean that.  Because what the word of God has to say on a matter is more important than what we feel or think.  When we sum it all up, we realize that as much as we love God, we will all fall short.

Passion for God

Passion for God.  Do you know who you love?  If we love God we need to know who he is.  

One Size Fits All Church

There’s nothing that disappoints me more than hearing a church is following the newest trend in ministry.   It’s like assuming everyone can wear a one-size-fits-all shoe.  The wrong fit minimally causes discomfort, possibly severe pain and in the long run deformity.   A church is an organism and it’s continued health and growth is not just about matching people to ministry job descriptions, but more about fitting genetically suitable individuals into leadership at a church body.  One size does not fit all.  One method doesn’t work in every church. Fitting is something that the Holy Spirit does, and as He begins to lead pastors to set key people into place, the ministry continues to be formed as others are taught and discipled to carry forward that same DNA.  You will never discover what your church was meant to be if you are set on cloning someone else’s, or even worse taking on pieces of different churches.   The end result is Frankenstein.     

At my church (Hope Center) we are growing in different locations.  We all have certain things in common, but other characteristics of the individual churches are defined by the demographics, the pastor’s strengths and personality, and ultimately God’s Spirit led plan for that city.  This is new for us.  However, the bible is clear on this topic.  God purposed churches for cities, and congregations and leaders need to meet the soul needs of each particular city.  You probably guessed it, based on all the reasons I just listed that my husband, our lead pastor, is not on screen every Sunday in each location. This is how we believe God instructed us to do this, you may be doing something different.

When we first began our journey, we set out to be what we thought a local church should be, our hearts burning with a desire to see people saved.   Church has a universal biblical definition and at our church we express this in the words of one our mentors Howard Morgan:  Save the lost, heal the saved, train the healed and send the trained.  I think we all get this.  Most local churches have stereotyped components; Sunday service, mid-week service, small groups, a worship team, a lead pastor and pastoral team who preach and teach.  And of course let’s not forget whatever lighting and sound equipment you can best afford.   

The real question leadership should be asking is, “Why is my church here?”  We had to ask ourselves this question.  We are first and foremost, dedicated to producing authentically biblical disciples of Jesus Christ, most of whom in some way will impact the world around them with the Gospel.   Everything we do is just a means to that end.  We are defined by generational discipleship, mercy ministries and the arts.  That’s who we are.

Most people want to know how we do the arts stuff.  How did it happen?  I will definitely be writing about that.  I think it has its place.  But my real burden, especially during the times we live in now, is how do we express the truth to a generation that is lost, not just in the world outside the church, but even within the church.  Every church needs to find a way to do this. Not entertainment-impact!  So we are finding our own way, with our own tools, to reach the lost.  Each church is not the same.  It’s time for us to start assembling our own custom toolboxes and using the unique things that God has given us to use.  Pray first.  Discover who God meant for you to be.  Don’t be a Frankenstein.

 

Finally...

Up until now, I've spent a lifetime in proactive observation.  Sounds like a contradiction in terms but as I've observed many lives, I've had the distinct privilege to also help build many.  In the construction process I've learned so many things about humanity, including myself,  that I want to share in my podcasts and in teaching sessions.   I'm also looking forward to recording podcasts with many of the friends we've made through ministry over the years-with their permission of course.  So you get to come on a new adventure with me, that I'm excited about and getting to start just now.  If you think there's anything I can help you with, just ask.  I'm not sure if I can-but just talking about it will be lots of fun.  -Leigh