Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hip Hop Meets Faith & Work

Do you know Hip Hop? Do you know the Grammy Award-winning artist Lecrae? Trust me, our students know him and his music. He is one of the voices of their generation. I don't know him but I know Tim Tebow and Bubba Watson, and they are fans of Lecrae's rap music.

He recently challenged the church with a message that strikes me as true when he said:

"The reason why the church typically doesn't engage culture is because we are scared of it. We're scared it's going to somehow jump on us and corrupt us. We're scared it's going to somehow mess up our good thing. So we consistently move further and further away from the corruption, further and further away from the crime, further and further away from the post-modernity, further and further away from the relativism and secular humanism and we want to go to a safe place with people just like you. We want to be comfortable."

Lecrae recently mentioned our LeTourneau University Center for Faith & Work in a tweet. In doing so, he shared our Center with over 580,000 of his followers. If you think about Hip Hop as his workplace, then Lecrae is doing exactly the same as we ask of our mechanical engineering or accounting graduates.

In another indication that our new Center for Faith and Work is becoming part of the global conversation about the integration of faith and work, director Bill Peel was invited to give three lectures on the topic at a Singapore church last week. I joined him at Hope Church Singapore and in several meetings with business and ministry leaders. I was encouraged to learn how many first-generation Christians in Asia are now asking the complicated question of how to make Jesus their Lord, not just on Sunday but also on the other six days of the week.

I believe they were encouraged to hear the story of R.G. LeTourneau who claimed God as his partner in business. They were eager to hear what Bill has labeled "workplace grace" as a mechanism for sharing God's love at work. They have no "Christian University" like LETU in Singapore. They have only comprehensive state universities and private seminaries. They were encouraged an institution like LETU existed; one with a mission to graduate competent professionals with Christ-like character. It was liberating for them to hear that they didn't have to choose work or ministry; instead, work done for the glory of God is ministry.

I returned home praying that God would clearly show me all He is doing in Asia and how LETU might join in that work.