The context of my email below is that Lampmode had an opportunity to share the stage with an artist who had a different view of the purpose of the platform. On the night in question, there was a large crowd primarily made up of professing Christians and their unsaved friends. The emcee gave a great show, but a clear presentation of the gospel was absent from his set. The following excerpt is part of my response when he asked for honest feedback about the evening. I'm reproducing it here- with some slight changes to protect identities- because I think it is a good summary of the Biblical rationale for my views on this issue.
"First, I just want to say thank you for inviting us. You were very gracious in extending us the open arm of fellowship. Thanx for the warm welcome and hospitality. We appreciate the love. I thought your set was pretty good. You definitely had the crowd participation thing going. You clearly have a gift in that area. Overall, it was a good time.
With that said, although it was fun and enjoyable, I have some questions concerning the overall goal of your set. I know you wanted the saints to have a good time, and that's cool. However, I thought some of what you did wasn't as edifying as it could have been. I thought the focus at times wasn't on the Lord, but rather on your gifts. I know that that wasn't your desire. I don't think you were sinning, but I do think you could have used your time and platform more wisely. Consider the following passage from Ephesians 5:15-20:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Consider the platform we have as emcees: we have a microphone and a sound system. At your concert, we had lights and a huge projection screen behind us. And we had a captive audience of hundreds of people who were ready to hear what we had to say. It's not often that this situation arises. In the audience that night, we can be fairly certain that there were a few different kinds of people:
1. There were people who were/are dead in their sins, not reconciled to God, under His just condemnation and on the broad road to destruction. These people could be divided into sub-categories, but that won't be necessary right now.
2. There were people who are saved, but struggling. They are struggling with sin, with depression, with doubt, with fear, with tough decisions they need to make, with hearts that are being hardened by sin's deceitfulness, etc.
3. There were people who are saved, strengthened by the grace of God and walking in that strength.
The question is this: what do these people need to hear? I think you would agree that all three of those groups need to hear the gospel. They need to be confronted with, reminded of, or comforted by a crucified, risen, exalted and returning Christ. This is especially true in light of the days being evil and our struggle not being "against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places and the cosmic powers over this present darkness".
So I guess my challenge to you, my dear brother, is that you would consider structuring your set in such a way that all the individual elements point to Christ and His gospel- including your exhortations between songs. I know that everyone is not called to minister in the same way. At Lampmode, our goal with every ministry event we do is to highlight the character and works of God in such a way that those who God enables will repent and believe the gospel. Therefore the means we use ( the proclamation of the gospel) is consistent with the end we hope to attain (repentance and faith). I understand that not every Christian emcee has that end in mind when they grab a mic. We all have different gifts and callings. And we're talking about hip-hop, not the pulpit.
However, the question I'm asking is what is "making the best use of the time" in this context? Knowing that we will be held accountable for every idle word that comes from our mouths and also knowing that the judgment seat of Christ will be a place where our works are tried and either pass the examination or burn up, I'm very jealous to see cats like yourself abound in fruitfulness, not wasting any opportunities you might have to proclaim the gospel, which alone is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe..."
grace and peace,