The Future Is Here

EP. 6: The Evangelical Industry w/ George Moss & Shuree Rivera

July 08, 2020 UYWI Season 1 Episode 6
The Future Is Here
EP. 6: The Evangelical Industry w/ George Moss & Shuree Rivera
Chapters
The Future Is Here
EP. 6: The Evangelical Industry w/ George Moss & Shuree Rivera
Jul 08, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
UYWI

The evangelical industry is a $1.2 trillion dollar industry that includes megachurches, book deals, television deals, movies, music, and curriculum—all put together. With an institution this large and flowing with dollar signs, we've got to be critical of the things we've built. We must open up this conversation to uncover what needs to be corrected for the future of the church to thrive. In this episode of The Future Is Here podcast, we’ve invited our Creative Director Shuree Rivera and Jam The Hype’s George Moss—both who are very familiar with the industry—to discuss the above with critical eyes that look to the future.


Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript

The evangelical industry is a $1.2 trillion dollar industry that includes megachurches, book deals, television deals, movies, music, and curriculum—all put together. With an institution this large and flowing with dollar signs, we've got to be critical of the things we've built. We must open up this conversation to uncover what needs to be corrected for the future of the church to thrive. In this episode of The Future Is Here podcast, we’ve invited our Creative Director Shuree Rivera and Jam The Hype’s George Moss—both who are very familiar with the industry—to discuss the above with critical eyes that look to the future.


Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Are you listening? Hey fam . Welcome to the features here , podcast. This is for the leaders, the dreamers provocateurs misfits , the frustrated frontline leaders who are charging in the kingdom for tired of reactive church. It's time to build a church we dream of now the future is here. So don't get left behind. Are you listening? Let's get into it. What's a family. Tommy Nixon here with the future is here podcast . Thank you so much for tuning in this is episode six and we're going to be talking about the evangelical industry. I'm super excited for this conversation. I have two , uh, two actually amazing special guests on with us today, but first let me set up a little bit about what our conversation is going to be about. So , uh , the , when I talk about the evangelical industry, we're talking about a one point $2 trillion industry. Now that that includes , uh, you know, certain mega churches. It includes books, it includes , uh , TV and movies and music and, and curriculum is it's all that put together, but it's a one point $2 trillion industry. And so I want to dive in a little bit about , um, what what's messed up about it because honestly, there's, there's some parts to it and there's some structure to what we're calling the evangelical industry. That's messed up. Now. I want to frame it in some scripture for us today, acts 19 , uh, 1924. Uh it's it talks about a man, a silversmith named Demetrius. Now, what I love about these verses is it , it gets to the heart of what really my issue is with the evangelical industry and what I believe the church of the future, what we actually have to fix and address with this industry. So let me read a little bit of this for us today. Acts 1924 says a silver Smith made Demetrius who made silver shrines of Artemis brought in here. It is a lot of business for the craftsman there. He called them together, along with the workers and related trades and says, you know, my friends that we receive a good income from this business. And then he says in verse 26, and you see in here how this fellow Paul has convinced and let us stray large numbers of people here in emphasis and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that God made God's made by human hands are no gods at all. There is a danger, not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited. Now what happens after this? Since he rallies all these people and they start a riot in emphasis and it goes off and they want to kill Paul, and there's a whole story to it, check it out an ax . Here's what strikes me is that you have this man who's who's in the business of religion. By the way, he makes the, he makes the idols for this great temple Artimus and people from all over the world come and they come there and they pay , um , and they buy idols. They pay to make sacrifices to this. God. Now , one thing about the ancient world is that a lot of people don't know. I saw this on the history channel is that some of the best engineers in the ancient world were hired by religions, by the temples to create mechanisms where people would think that the gods were supernaturally, responding to people. So for instance, you go to a temple of Zeus, okay? And then you have to go and you buy the meat. Once you buy the meat, right? You pay your , your entrance to the temple. Then you pay the priest. Then you put the meat on the alter and some genius had come up. When they heated the altar , it would heat this whole mechanism. And the doors of the temple of Zeus would open magically. Now this would, this would blow people's minds. And so more and more people would come. There is a business to religion, friends, and that hasn't changed for thousands and thousands of years. And so what's interesting here is he talks about, he doesn't say, Hey, he's offending our gods. He's like, what does he bring up first? He talks about the business. You know, my friends that we receive a good income from this business. Okay . So here's what I'm talking about. I think we gotta be honest about the evangelical industry, this one point $2 trillion industry. And we've got to really look at it and go, okay, how is this when you get that , that money involved in the business of ball, which I'm not against by the way. But it's gotten to a point where it is stopped. What I believe, parts of the movement of the King of God. It is not stopped it, but it's hindered it. You can't stop the kingdom of God, but I feel like it's hindered it. And we have to be honest about that. And so moving forward into the future, we actually have to think about, okay, how do we need to change this? Now my guests with us today, these are experts in this area. Uh , I got , uh, I got to , and we're lucky cause these two people are actually on our staff at UI WWI. First I got Sherri Rivera. Who's our creative director. Welcome Shri . So glad you're here, sister. I'm excited about this conversation. Yeah, you are. I know you think about this stuff all the time. So I also got my man George Mosse , who's our senior editor at JAMA hype, which is our media outlet, but that does leadership development for artists. And so George mail welcome brother. I'm so glad to be here. So that to have this conversation we're going to , uh , and then we're going to buy myself out of Cheetos , uh, this , uh, this, this podcast, but Hey, let's do it, man. So, so here's the thing, guys. The reason why you guys are experts is because both of you guys , um, uh, were , and our recording artists, you have you been in the game for a really long time. Right. And so , uh, could you kind of give listeners,

Speaker 2:

Just share a little bit about that? So we kind of can get a context for you . Do you go first ? Well, sir, well , uh, um, I, when I started doing music way back in, actually I started in church. Like just by accident. I actually hated going to church. I couldn't stand like, but in my family, like we went to church like Sunday morning for Sunday school, regular service, actually at the eight o'clock service, then Sunday school, then 11 o'clock service and went home for a second. They came back for evening service or communion or something like that. Monday was like prayer meeting. Tuesday was, you know, usher board meeting Wednesday was Bible study Thursday. Wasn't like, it was every day we had, I hated going to church. Um, but they started this rap ministry at my church and I was like, Oh, they're rapping at church. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life. Um, cause there was no like, you know, there was no other Cray back then there was no Reese records. There was no like, you know , NF , there was not none of these like big, you know, artists that, you know, were Christians that I knew about it at least. So, but uh, just by default, I either had to sit in big service with my grandma or go do the Christian rap thing at the base of , with the kids. So I started doing this rap thing and um , I always was one of those kids that , uh, I love , uh , we didn't grow up having a whole bunch of money. So I was always one of those hustler type kids. So when it came to business and making money, like that was all me. I was so on lunch tickets at school, trying to , uh, you know, we've got the prelaunch, I'll sell it to the kids. I was paying for lunch. I undercut the sleep , the lunch ladies and I was always this kind of hustler type kid. And then as I was doing this Christian right thing and my church , um, I really started to like, you know, develop my relationship with God. But I remember when we started going from church to church and um , one time a pastor gave me a check for $75 and I was like, yo, I'm balling right now. Hey , you were at the time I was at working at burger King. So I was like, I was making weight back then. I mean like six bucks, seven bucks an hour, 75 bucks for an hour worth of work. I was like, yo, I'm gonna do this forever. I'm gonna turn off the gas . I'm gonna figure out how to make this a hostel . And I read every business book and I did everything that I could to learn the music industry, the ins and outs of it. And I ended up building a career. Um, and it being on the inside of the music industry, being able to tour with some of the biggest names and Christian music and making music and have a song on the radio and all that. But , um, after a while you , you get to a certain point, you realize it's this, all that there is. And you finally get back to your first love and you start to, I really started to have this epiphany, like I'm in this industry, but it, as a business person, I'm always trying to think of what is my return on my investment. If I'm going to spend X amount of dollars on Merck's , what is my ROI? I'm going to spend X amount of dollars on this. What's the ROI. But then I started to about what's the ROI and entity eternal sense and you know, all this money, any sort of like recognition, you know, 50 years from now, nobody's going to remember me. No, one's going to know who I was like, no, one's going to care about this. And what is the eternal return on investment that I'm getting? And then I'm just really starting to dive into the word of God and try to disciple myself and my son. And I started to realize a lot of the things that I was chasing after with no different than the world and no different than the Pegasus that were in acts chapter 19. And I realized that we're just seeing, we're deceived. A lot of people are deceived and it's a , I mean, I could go on and on about things and we'll jump into that. We want to get into it though. That's how I kind of entered into the music industry. I love that. And that's a , I mean, exactly man, that's that connection to the acts 19 that I'm talking about is that I think we made a, we made a wrong turn at some point now, again, I'm , I'm entrepreneurial. I I'm not against business, but I think we've made a wrong turn. We need to self correct. And we'll get into a little bit more, but Sherry kind of share with us a little bit sister like, well , where are you ? What's your context? Where do you come from?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So I grew up in the evangelical church. My parents got saved by missionaries that came down the Hill, told them about Jesus. And then next thing I knew I was in Christian preschool, the hand , uh , had godparents and we're going to the little evangelical church down the street. And uh , so for me I had always loved music. So music was something that connected me , um , with God immediately. So I would take every pop song that I heard, Whitney Mariah sing, and I would , um, somehow make it into a Christian version just naturally because everybody said, you know, you can't really be a pop artist, right? You gotta be a Christian artist. And I didn't know what that meant. I was just like, I just like pop music. So I would like sing every hand with extra runs and all the things, but that was, that was my, you know, coming from a conservative space. That was my way of like making music. And so I always wanted to be a singer ever since I was a little girl, is what connected me. Not only with God, but I think it was therapy for my soul at a pretty crazy childhood. So , uh, my little Casio keyboard and making songs was my therapy. All right . So , um, the dream for me was that one day I could be a singer make records , um, influence people in a positive way , um, to her and get on the radio. Those were my dreams. So , um, for me, the Christian industry, some of the ways it's benefited me, I've , I've been able honestly, to get paid good money to lead worship and do concerts all over the country , uh , create music that unashamedly infused my faith in God, under a Christian label , uh , which I was signed to BEC tooth and nail records. I've had radio stations play my music all over the country and be able to take advantage of the streaming benefits that we have. Um, and then stand on some of the dopest stages and churches, conferences, and festivals, and perform as a Christian artists with full production. I mags floating stages front of house and back of house professional sound techs, full lighting production. You know, I mean smoke machines , strobe lights, all the things that a , that a girl could dream of being a singer, I've been able to, to have that dream come true without having to compromise my faith. So there were some benefits to it

Speaker 1:

If you like what you're hearing, keep listening, but also make sure to check out our newest leadership resource, the leadership journey by hitting up our website, a UI wwi.org , Man. That's awesome . Okay. So we're here with these, with our two guests, which I'm so glad to be on the same squad with these guys and what they bring. But I know that to both of you guys and George, you described it a little bit, like got to this point where you're like this isn't everything that I thought it was going to be like, there was, there was a calling to something deeper and , and that's part of it. What I'm challenging, this evangelical , what I'm calling the evangelical industry. I think we, as, as the , the leaders now of the church and for this next generation, as we pour into them, those that are coming up that we want to sell, say, let's, self-correct some of this. Now, one of the, one of the things that I've seen because of the pandemic is, you know, a lot of this just got taken away. It was like, Oh, shoot, like what, what are we going to do? We, you can't and it's hit you guys. Right. Um , and for me as a, as a speaker, right? I like, I , there's no places to speak. There's no places to, to, you know, do a show. There's no, there's all that. And so, and then it showed this, this other ugly side, as well as like, what are we going to do? We got to get back to the show. We got it on Sunday mornings. It's like, we got to get back to the show. Like if I don't have a huge audience in front of me, then , then who am I? And what am I going to do? And where's the money going to come from? And, and, and really what , what it's done is it's , it's created this space of consumerist Christianity, which George, I know you, you are absolutely against like this idea that, okay, you create it, I'll pay the money, why tides or I'll pay for this. Right? And, and then you better provide my spiritual sustenance. And what that has done is on a real base level. Um, it's taken the responsibility away from parents to disciple their children. It's taken, it's taken the individual responsibility to read your Bible, study it, yourself, learn how, what it means to, to dive in, to spend that time in prayer. And we have, we have , um, kind of offset that we have, we have , uh , shipped that out to other people so that they could do it. And then there's a business around that. Now nobody wants to say, that's what it is. You can get , you can get mad at me for saying, that's what it is. Again, I'm not against scripture, even, you know, to , to pay the worker for that. I, I have no problem with that. My problem though, is when we start looking at it, there's a structure there. And that structure , um, uphold certain folks and certain , um, uh, beliefs and certain like looks and all these kinds of things. It upholds that wall, walk, suppressing other parts. And I think what's a danger to that is that hinders the kingdom of God. And right now we're in the midst of uprisings that people are upset about that and it's happening all over the place. But , but I , as I look at it, I go there also bucking against a system that is deeply woven within the evangelical fabric and industry. So I set you guys up for that one, you know, your reactions to that, or how have you experienced that or how do you feel like maybe some of that industry has hindered, NAZA stopped because amen. For the kingdom of guy , you can't stop God. But I was that hindered the movement of the kingdom of God. You know, even specifically in the United States,

Speaker 2:

That is a , it is deceived quite a bit of people. Um, and that's really, the biggest thing is the deception we think is the kingdom of God, but it's not it's as if you, if you compare what we're doing to scripture, if you compare what the modern day church is doing with the life of Jesus himself, you start to realize that that doesn't look anything, anything like Jesus, that's at least not the it's kinda like, you know, you've heard the story, but then you actually read it and you're like, wait a minute. That's, that's not the version that I, that I heard. And , um, and honestly it's, it's the work of the enemy. If it's to put it, to put it quite bluntly as the work of the enemy, if the thing is Satan masquerades as an angel of light, he's not going to mask her. He's not going to come at you with, you know , a Pitchfork and in a red tail, in a horn sticking out of his head. That's not how he comes looking like the real thing, acting like the real thing sounded like the real thing, but it's a counterfeit. And , uh , until we can actually open up the scripture and compare what we see on the, in the pulpit and in the church and all the things that we do and compare that to the words and the ways and the works that Jesus actually did in scripture, then I think a lot of people will be deceived by quiet , honest. It's like, that's going to be the way it is because nobody reads the Bible for themselves. And nobody seeks to understand the scriptures for themselves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, man. Sri , what do you think? I don't want to take it back to the verse. You read acts chapter 19. Right? So first of all, one of the reasons why people were so up in arms was because Paul going around

Speaker 3:

Preaching a full gospel. Okay. And the Christian evangelical industry loves to just talk about Jesus .

Speaker 4:

Yes .

Speaker 3:

And I think there's a reason why they don't want to talk about the Holy spirit. And Paul was talking about Jesus father God, and the Holy spirit. And , and that was the message that was converting people who was like, no, it's not just repentance. You know? No, it's not just you do, you know what you need to do to say, you're sorry to God. He's like, and he will be transformed. And you will have, you will have power when the Holy spirit comes upon you. And so for me , um, my, my faith evolved as a young girl , uh, with Jesus first through the evangelical message. And then I think the Holy spirit came as a teaching, more like in college and then God, the father. And then as I grew and continued in my work as a worship leader, an artist, the Holy spirit was speaking more and more and more to me. And that's when I started seeing some holes , uh , in, in the industry that I was in now, do you want me to get into some of those or we are ready to go. So I really, I just want to preface that I really believe it was the Holy spirit that was showing me , um, things that weren't right. And I, at the time, I didn't, I didn't know what to do, but some of the things that, you know, like I shared with you, I've benefited from the evangelical industry, but some of the things that walls that I hit or strongholds that I hit were sexism. Um, you know, church eventually evangelical churches are dominated by white male , senior pastors, music directors, and worship leaders. So there was always that wall that I felt. And then in the recording industry, you know, I was asked within my first three minutes of meeting with a producer or a record exec how old I was so ageism. And if I plan on having kids as if it was their decision, why didn't you need to know that? But they would, they would follow it up with complaints of how kids ruin a woman's touring and recording career. And so that , that was weird and then race. And once I passed those tests of not having kids, and, and once I passed the test of age, then they were like , um , I was told it, wasn't going to be easy as a woman. And especially as a woman of color in the Christian music industry, again, as if that's my problem, like, like that's not a problem. Like if that's a problem and then you deal with it, like, why do I have to deal with it? I have it. If I have the talent, sign me and make it work, put, put it , go ahead.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. But that's the real thing though. Like if that's the oddest thing, that's one of the reasons why it's an industry, because truly it , the reality is it does affect sales. The reality is if you have a baby, you're going to go on to be home. You're not going to be, to be touring and you're going to be doing, cause that's just the reality of their thing. They're looking for a return on their investment. And it's more about the business than it is about the ministry. It's more about, it's not a Christian . They spend less time on the Christian. It's been way more time on the industry. Part of that, because that's truly what it's about. And when it becomes about that, it hinders the Holy spirit from actually working.

Speaker 3:

Right. And then what ends up happening is you're in an industry, right ?

Speaker 1:

Full of males, men , and specifically white men.

Speaker 2:

You're in a , you're in an industry full of that are in leadership. But their audience who they're selling to is a white woman and a 30 and four thirties and forties that listens to Christian music that has two and a half kids as a husband, as aging parents, and has a dog that she really cares about. That's who that's, who makes up. So I'm going to like this. If you, if you look at that, her name is Becky. That's the avatar that they use. And she controls all purchases in the household under $300 without having to talk to her husband. So most ties in offerings checks are under $300. Um , most of most purchases that you're going to get concert tickets and things like that, their purchases under $300. So the end women spend more money statistically than men. So the industry is geared to serve that , uh, that woman that has, you know, has a husband that has a good job that , uh, is middle-class and that's how they make their money. And I mean, it's, it's prudent business. That's what it is, but it is not ministry.

Speaker 3:

It's not ministry. And I don't think it's kingdom because this kind of power structure destroys innovation, a multicultural and raised expression. It displays that , uh, that white men , uh , are those who should hold power. It'd be worshiped as one. Those who hold power. Absolutely. Um, and then those that are watching the women and the, and the children , um, this is being projected to generations . Um, and this is all centered in front of a picture of white Jesus. So what is this doing to our psyche? Like, yeah, but we're the kingdom. Yes. It's an industry. I'm showing what this does to us though.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Because it's not the, they don't care about, they're not concerned about those things. It's business. It's about making money. So when it becomes business and then it comes to industry, they don't care about your psyche. Do you think anybody cares that they just don't? Honestly, if you get into the music industry, the, if you compare what you see in the actions of people, to the industry, to, as the scripture, you don't, you realize that the Christian industry is not necessarily run by Christians. It's run by industry leaders that want to make money off of Christians and off of that belief system, because just like a honor , this was our Demetrius was there . He knew he could make money, I'll help people and their religion.

Speaker 1:

Right. So, and so here's here when I listen to you guys, and by the way, what George is describing friends, like that's real that he's, he's not just making something up that, I mean, I know that I have a cousin who's a recording artist, Nashville, the whole deal, right. CCM, like, and , and they were telling me, yeah, we're, they're targeting 30. They have listener groups, right. That for 35 to 45 year old, suburban, predominantly white women, that's, that's who it's sold to then to Sherry's point that that doesn't allow for, for a full expression of the kingdom of God. Now, do we, do we want to exclude the 35 to 45 year old? No, but they've been the center of the universe for a really long time in this space. And, and so when I started looking at that, I was thinking about this and I love that from the acts 19 you had, when Paul started talking about the full gospel, as Sherry talked about , um, that caused an uproar that messed up society right now, if we're not able to continue to bring kingdom issues to the forefront, I don't know maybe about , um , racial justice. I I'm just picking something. You know what I mean? So like, like that, or, or injustice or, or social issues , things like that, that God actually really cares about that, that the gospel actually has an answer for that will bring healing and bring restoration and will bring redemption. But if you can't ever hear about those things through , through this , this industry, on the radio, the things you buy, the books you buy, and that's all kept out and it's kept to the side because, Hey, we're trying to sell books here. Nobody wants to hear about your suffering. Now, then what that starts to do is that starts to give you a false sense of what it means to be a Christ follower and exactly what George is talking about, where it's like, people don't read the Bible for themselves. Right? And so now we got , uh, uh, all these, you know , uh, I'll just say we, Christians, you know what I mean? That are just waiting to be spoonfed. And, but here's the other thing. Then you have a whole generation of young people that guess what? They're not buying that stuff anyway. No , they are not buying shoot . They don't even, I mean, Lecrae's DOE I know a lot of young people that are late ad never heard of a man. I don't know what you talk , who you're talking about. Right. And, and yet McCray , our , our , our man propaganda, you will never hear a propaganda song on regular radio. Like his lyrics being held up at protests. Did you check his Instagram? He said, all over the country, people probably don't even know he's a Christian lyrics are being propped up protest right now. Right. And so, but you're never going to hear that because he talks about things like gentrification. And it's like, eh, I don't want to hear that. That gentrification is not going to sell records. That's not going to sell, but right. And so that , and this is what I'm talking about, friends . Like there's a structure here. There's a, there's a power structure. And as George is really making sure we understand there's a business here

Speaker 2:

That is not centered on Christ his kingdom or the gospel. No, it's making money off of Christ off of the story and this whatever, make people feel good. It's whatever tickles people's ear. It's not going to give you the truth because the truth is the reality. What scripture says is the road is narrow. The way is narrow and few find it. Phew . So if your church has the first and that the rafters and everyone says, Oh man, our church has drawn so fast or we're doing so good. The Holy spirit is really moving. And I'm like, well, did you read the scripture that says, you know, the road is narrow and few people find it. So I'm like, if you're at what you're doing is popular and it is making people feel good about themselves and good about this life that we live in the good about their sin and good about this world that we live in, then it might not be the gospel that's actually in scripture because the words of scripture are not about how great this place is or making us feel comfortable here. It's more so recognizing that this place is sinful. And if there's anything that's going to be good on it is God bringing good to us. It's here. But it's like, it's something that we're looking forward to. It's something that we can act on Dow , but at the same time, it's like, if you have people that are continuously in your church or showing up to your shows or that are continuously in the same state yes. Come as you are. But that doesn't mean you're going to remain as you are for years and years. Like I grew up in a church where like, you know, like, Oh man, I literally had a conversation backstage at a festival with this , uh, with a pastor and pastor of a pretty big church. And I'm asking him, I was reading through the book of numbers, had a question. I was like, you know, kind of a nerdy thing. I know, but I'm talking to a pastor, this lady , thousands of people in his congregation. And he says, you know, I've never really been at the book of numbers. It's kind of a hard books for me now. It's one of those it's like, yeah . Okay. I can understand that. I might not be what you spend time in. Right ? Like you're, you're, you're shepherding, people's eternal destiny. And if you don't have a full grasp of what that is, even just the word, the gospel, like the gospel, like what do we mean when we say that? Like, it sounds nice. It sounds good that we do gospel music or I'm going to go out and share the gospel. And yeah, we want to say, well, the gospel is, you know, so it's about Jesus and Jesus loves you, but it says, if you read in scripture, it says the gospel was preached to Abraham. Now, if the gospel was preached to Abraham long before Jesus even existed on earth, it came as a man on earth. How there's got to be more to the gospel than just the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus. But that's a theological question that it's very basic. But if you haven't read the entirety of scripture, you have no idea. So what we do is we have this idea of Christianity that makes you feel good. It makes you feel good to go to church makes you feel good to be a part of the community. It makes you feel good to be. Um , in the , in religion. It makes people feel good. No question about it. And there's a lot of benefit to that. But what happens is when your foot , when you have this big building, you got a lot of bills. You got a big staff to pay. You need people to fill up the seats in order to pay those bills. So you have to do things that will make people not leave. So in order to play new things that will make people not leave. When, when Jesus spoke. And he got, when the cross got too big, he was like, eat my flesh, drink my blood. People are like deuces I'm out because Jesus wasn't cared about. No tie , never wants . Did you see him collecting the tither , an offering? That's not what you see him doing. Never wants to see him going to a church on Sunday morning. He didn't do that thing. And I think it's going to be a question of like, well, comparing our lives to what Jesus actually did. And what are we doing? Are we, are we more like Demetrius making money in this industry? Or are we true followers of Jesus? And if we're a follower of Jesus, we would do the things that Jesus did.

Speaker 1:

Yup . Yeah, absolutely. Man. And so as we think about this, all right, so put on, put on your thinking caps France . Cause I want to talk about as, as we w when we wrap this up, like, alright , so what are some solutions? I don't want to leave people being like, it's all messed up and well , you know, what are we going to do? The reality is, you know, God has gifted people to speak. Great. God has gifted people to write books and sing and do all that. And , and , and we have to have a real honest conversation about the why's . Why , why are you doing it? Because I don't think anybody starts out going, like, you know, maybe some people do. I don't know, but man, I can't wait to make a lot of money on this. Cause , you know , it's like, no, we were compelled by Christ. And then, but along the way we get into this, this structure, this industry, and it messes with us, you know what I mean? It really does. It just, like you said, with the way, you know, you have the big building and , and, and you gotta keep people come in and, but see the pandemic has changed things, but there's a grace to this time to go, okay, let's stop. And let's really actually look at , um, what we really buy into let's let's examine these things. Let's, self-correct in this because we know it's not right. We know something's off on all this stuff. I mean, I hope that if you don't know now, you know, so that's why we're doing this . So, but there's some off with it. And you know, I have the beef too , like as a, as a speaker, you know , uh, you know, the whole idea is like, Oh man , um , just be really good at speaking. And then get on the, get on the speaking circuit and then write a book. But a lot of times I go, man , what have you done? You haven't done anything? Like what , who have you walked with? What have you built? What have you, what have you , you given your, your life to then write a book and tell me about that. But there's a whole industry that all you slept under a bridge for a weekend to see what being homeless is like, like, let's get you to write that book. And I'm like, what does the depth isn't there for me? Right. Um , and so I just am saying, not all books are like that and not all authors are like that. I get it. But, but you also have things like , um, like two , couple of weeks ago, Louie Giglio. Right ? And like, from everything, everybody talks about the people that I know that know him go, dude, he's actually a great dude. Okay. But when you don't have a breadth of perspective, when the full kingdom is not received and , and people aren't, aren't received as gifts in that, when, when they're, when they're structured or whatever, then what you have is you have people that say things like that, because they've been in a certain date, that's the only air they breathe. So they're like, what, why are you upset? And it's like, you know why? Because you're tone deaf because there's, you haven't experienced the larger kingdom. You haven't experienced some of the depth that you need to with, with the gospel. And so, and that might be a, I don't know, bad example or whatever, but he was completely off like, Oh my God , the basic theology of the gospel completely off. And the death, burial, resurrection. And it was just, it was racially, like you said, Tondo . It was, it was insane from a pastor who makes probably millions of dollars. He couldn't even get that. Right.

Speaker 2:

All I could think about was that girl that was like, you were about to lose your job

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] and I'm saying like , I'm just like, wow, how does, how do you even get there? And , and it's because there's a whole industry. That's only to the Becky

Speaker 2:

For those that don't know about the situation . So , uh, Lecrae is on the stage and he's talking about racial injustice. And , um , we talk about the , the, the, the current issue that we're facing right now with , uh, with racism in America. And instead of calling it white guilt or white privilege or something like that, he thought it was like, what have we called it?

Speaker 1:

White blessing, no ,

Speaker 2:

To his credit. Like, I can see as a, as a, as a speaker, as a cost or someone that wants to be creative and spin things to positive white , it was tone deaf. I personally, I know it wasn't intentional. Like, I don't know him personally. I can't say I know him personally, but there was no way he was like doing that intentionally. And he was just thinking he had no idea of the backlash that was going to come. Um , but at the same time, it's just like, you know ,

Speaker 1:

You should have known better, but it was ,

Speaker 2:

It was, it was a very innocent thing. And I'm , I'm always like, look, you gotta , you gotta judge someone by the , the intention behind their words, not just the words that they say, but sometimes although well-intentioned things you can tell where that person is and what that person's context is by the words that they say, so no, no shade on him. It's an honest , it's a mistake that people make that just don't know any better. You know? So, but I, but just to extrapolate that though, what I'm saying is there's a whole system that supported that for that even to like, get to that point where I'm like, how did , how did you miss that? So I go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Well, I was just going to something we didn't talk about in the industry is, you know, there is tokenism and that was one thing I faced. Right? So being a woman, being a woman of color, there's only room for one or two of us. Right. So when I was in there, it was like, I will name names, but there was the other, just two other female artists who were women of color, right. Um, that I had to compete with. And , and it was ridiculous because we were completely different women. Like we didn't even, we didn't even participate in the same field. So, but, but the idea of, again, this power structure, and you'd like to talk about this time in this white power structure that leads this business. Um, it only has room for tokens, a few. And on that stage, look, Ray , a black man next to Louie Giglio in next to Y was the Chick-fil-A guy there. I don't even know the Chick-fil-A dude talking about race in America. I don't understand why the one who could probably explain to you a little bit more about slavery is the black man sitting right next to you, the touch, but you want to uphold power. So you try to make up this theological thing that you really didn't need to do. And then the token, your token, he's not a token. Lecrae walks away wounded unnecessarily. If you read his Instagram after that, he's like, I've been trying to get out of this whole thing. I've been trying to back up from the evangelic industry. This is my way of getting back in.

Speaker 2:

And then he got hit again. Yeah, man. Well, I think there's, there's, there's so much, there's so much to this, but especially when it comes to the racial injustice thing, but going back to the idea of this being an industry , um , and kind of the topic that we're talking about, the love of money is the root of all the evil that's right . And people love money. They love comfort. They love the things that money can buy the power that it wields. And it's not intentional, but we're all human. Like not one of us right here on this call would turn down a million dollars. And even if it was say, Hey, I'll give you a million dollars to do something that goes completely against your morals. Like I'm probably going to say no, but I'm gonna think about it. I mean, I'm going to hesitate. I'll call you out, bro. [inaudible] you don't think about it. And it doesn't happen that way though. You know , deception doesn't happen that way. Deception. Doesn't like all of a sudden, you know, you're , you're on the floor worshiping and like you're sold out for Christ sincerely on whole heartedly . And then you're doing something crazy backstage. However, over time you can be doing lines of cocaine, sleeping with your fans in a hotel rooms afterwards and leading thousands of people in worship on tour that can and has happened. And the truthfully, if as us, we have to realize that all these people are human and we can't look at them and say, look, that would never be me because we all have the same propensity of sin. We all have the same propensity to fall away. So it's not about judging those types of people, but we do have to know the scripture and rightfully divide the word of truth and be led by his spirit. And when we say led by his spirit, if his spirit contradicts his word, that's a spirit, but it ain't the Holy spirit. We don't, if we don't know the , if we don't know the scripture that we don't know that we're being deceived like at the U S summit does not spend time looking at every single counterfeit bill that there is, they spend a hundred percent of the time studying the real thing. So that way, when a counterfeit comes across their desk, they know it from a mile away. And if we don't spend time focused on the real thing, instead of trying to focus on all these counterfeits, then we're going to be easily deceit. And I think that's where we're at in the industry.

Speaker 3:

And I , and I think one of the solutions is to your question, Tommy , about what is the solution, right? Don't leave it in a negative place. Well, I think I've seen some of the solution in my life , um, a healing solution , uh , which is Romans chapter 12. This is what God was after. Even though God cared about , uh, me being able to express myself and live out my gifts and all that fun stuff. And I think he still has a place for creators and speakers and all those things in, in the world today who are, are using their gifts and infusing it with their faith. But Romans chapter 12, can't be forgotten. That's a verse that's close to my heart. And it says, therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, Holy and pleasing to God, this is your true and proper worship. So when those lights came on, I knew my true and proper worship was not leading that tune. It was not leading that three song set. It was how I laid down my life and how I offered my body as a sacrifice, Holy and pleasing to God all the way up before that. Um, for, I knew that was my true and proper worship obedience. And then it talks, it talks about do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is his good and pleasing. Perfect will. And what has been lost in the evangelical industry is it has become about entertainment rather than transformation. And if there was transformation, then we would be by the renewing of our minds, right? We would be growing in being able to test and approve what God's pleasing and perfect will is. And then our ministries would be way more effective. And we'd be right back where we need to be, which is laying our lives down to the Lord, calling other people to do, do, to do the same. But it's been, that's where the , the mud has, where I've seen mud is , is then when you try to say, Hey, I don't think that's God's will. And they're like, but is that going to make money? I don't care. And I also want to say, because this is something that happened. I was getting paid a lot of money at my last job. And when I resigned, because I tested what was going on in the ministry, and I said, I don't think this is God's will. And they weren't willing to talk about it. And I resigned. They said, there's no way you're resigning this as a joke. And part of that was, they thought I would not walk away from that money. And it was crazy to walk away from that money. I was good. Me and my husband, we were good, but there comes a point where like, no matter how much money you make, if you have to step on that stage and know that you're not in the will of God and know that you, this is not worship , that this is not him, then, then it's like you, like, how much is your soul worth? It's not worse . It's not worth a million dollars to me is not worth, you know , no, my eternity is worth more.

Speaker 1:

Amen, man. I love that guys. Thank you guys so much for your, for your voice. And , and just speaking into this friends, I think , uh , last thought I'll leave with you. Um, as we wrap up today , um, you know, a couple of thoughts is one things are moving right now. There's a movement. God's, God's moving this pandemic, although it's, it's awful and , and has created all types of habits . There's some grace in there. God is helping us. Self-correct um , we need to be the example for this next generation. It's this next generation. That's basically calling us out in the church by, by them leaving it for us to take a serious look at what we call the big C church and everything that's connected to it. And as we move towards the kingdom of God, with the vehicle of the church, at the core of that, you can't get away from that. That's the, ekklesia the body of Christ. God has called us that. But man, there's a lot of things that we got to change. Now, friends, if you're an urban leader at urban youth worker, we believe it's , you're the frontline of that. It's you being authentically in love and following Christ and living out the gift that you are as, as part of God's plan for, for these young people to go, yes, that's the abundant life of Jesus. I want that. We, if we can do that, we can actually change the game. We are the future. Don't forget, this is why we're doing this podcast. The future is young. It's urban. And it's multiethnic friends. When you look at the purchasing and the , the movement of where everything's going, yes, what, you're the target? It's, it's young, it's urban, it's multiethnic. But with that power, I'm going to implore you that we have got to do different. We've got to be critical of some of the things that we've, that's been built, that we've built. We got to own some of that. The , the systems that the three of us have been in and are , are you the propagated? But we gotta be courageous and we can change it Franz . We can change the future. Um, and we have, we have the best reason to do that. And that's for the glory of God. And because this next generation desperately needs his hope. They need the hope of the gospel and it's up to you and me, God has chosen us. He's been like, yeah , I believe in you. You can do it. And because of his power, his word, we're able to press in and do that. So before we go, do you guys have any, any last comments you want to share with our audience?

Speaker 3:

Well, Tommy, you, you had mentioned , uh, what, what is COVID due to this whole evangelical industry? And so I haven't been thinking about it. And I really think that COVID is the great equalizer. I think that what it has done it is allowed , uh , the structures that we've been talking about to fall. I believe innovation is happening. And more importantly, I think real relationship with God in one another , uh, is resurrecting and leadership experience is needed now more than ever. And , and , and people aren't looking for leaders who are propped up or overproduced . Now it's a hundred percent about relationship and engagement. And so I'm excited about that. And that's also why I'm excited to in this season, be with you iwi and be able to use my gifts in a space where we really are doing those things.

Speaker 2:

What I , what I think about when it comes to the industry, at least from my experience and my viewpoint, not to say I'm right or wrong, just from my experience. When we say things like black lives matter and somebody responds with, well, all lives matter. Nobody's arguing that all lives don't matter. I w we all, we all will agree that all lives matter, but all lives matter is not all lives are not, what's being persecuted. All lives are not what's being , uh, it was being perpetuated in the news media being killed , uh , in broad daylight, and then not convicted is happening . So it's like, that's, that's a silly thing to say to someone that's hurting. Um, it's a silly thing to go to a, a, you know , a cancer fundraiser and say, Hey, yeah, cancer matters. But so does diabetes. You guys should be talking about diabetes. That would be ridiculous. You shouldn't do that. When it comes to an industry where people are trying to make money, they're trying to make money from Christians, not do ministry. So it's almost ridiculous to try to change the industry and try to make them do something that they're just not. If you want to change something, it's being who you are, is being the believer. And if you're going to create, create, and if you're going to do ministry to ministry, but when you're entering into this music industry, don't be deceived into thinking that is a ministry, because the two things are not synonymous,

Speaker 1:

Man. That's good guys. Thank you so much for , for your time and your space for being on the squad for being my friend. Uh , it's just thank you to our guests. And so guys join us next time on the features here , uh , podcast, we're excited to continue the conversation to shape the future of the church that that desperately needs to happen in our world. So thank you guys so much. We'll see you next time. Peace. If you enjoy what you heard today, we don't want to leave you empty handed series, a couple of resources to help you shape the future. Get access to our latest leadership resource by visiting you by wwi.org . Join our email list. [inaudible] .