House of Manna, a new church development in Homewood, in Pittsburgh's east end, is sponsoring a hip-hop concert on Friday, November 12, as an outreach to the unchurched in urban and suburban communities. Billed as Day of Discipleship featuring UNASHAMED TOUR 2010: The Movement, the concert, features some of the biggest names in Christian hip-hop.
"The religious community in Pittsburgh is not known for coming together," says Rev. Eugene Blackwell, organizing pastor for House of Manna. "What better group than young adults to change that by coming together around the Word, worship, and praise. This is a way to bring the religious communitiestogether with friends to get in touch with Jesus Christ through a genre of music they like."
Blackwell believes this concert will give the House of Manna, which has received financial support from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.’s) General Assembly Mission Council, opportunities to introduce "everyday people" in the community to "the authority of Jesus Christ" while building partnership with churches in the greater Pittsburgh area. "We want to show the benefits of being a positive contributor to the city and the global Christian community," says Blackwell. "This is will be an example for all who come of how we worship on what we call 'celebration Fridays.'" House of Manna organizers believe that ultimately the concert will bring people together for God through Jesus Christ. "Its about building disciples," says Director of Operations Sage Berlin, "for a lifelong journey."
One of the bigger names in Friday's concert is Tedashi, who is excited to join the House of Manna in their mission for a night. "As artists we try to get into every market in the country that we can," he says. "But my own personal mission is to try to rally believers to cross lines, culturally, religiously, denominationally. I try to take what the world has perverted — bringing it out, redeeming it — to help rebuild a city, as biblical values are flushed out."
As a young man, Tadashi was influenced by a lot of mainstream music and always wanted to do hip-hop. When he became a Christian at Baylor University, he began to experiment with lyrics that came from the "powerful and potent message of the gospel." At first he didn't think people would want to hear the spiritual message of the Christian gospel. But gradually he began to see Christian hip-hop as "a viable ministry. I get to exegetically teach through rap," he says. An example of this kind of teaching comes from Tadashi's latest song, Bury Me. Based on Galatians 2: 20, he will perform it for the first time on Friday night,
"You can bury me, go ahead and bury me,
Sinner from beginner, so my wages is cemetery,
I try to do good, gave my all just like a charity,
But good works are like a casket, they just boxed me in, to bury me."
"This is part of our vision," says Blackwell. "To bring people together to hear a theological message that speaks to our culture so that everyday people get on their way to living the Christian life. We want people to know Christians by their actions; by the way they live out the principles of Jesus Christ."
Editors Note: Watch the video above and see how House of Manna is fulfilling its mission: to bring the word of Jesus Christ and the love of God to the "law-maker, law-breaker, the homemaker, and the homeless." In May, 2010 House of Manna received a $25,000 mission program grant, and is in partnership with the GAMC's Office of Church Growth, serving an urban community suffering from years of social, economic and spiritual decline.