Wow! What an incredible weekend. This was my third IGNITE Conference, so I knew what to expect, but no matter how prepared I am, every year God far exceeds my expectations.
I can’t lie, part of what draws me to IGNITE is the gathering style. I love the light show, the loud music and the huge screen. God speaks to me in this setting. I love to lead worship with big, rockin’ bands. So it’s actually been a little surprising that IGNITE is changing my taste in worship music.
The next generation of disciples is amazingly creative. At IGNITE’s Got Talent we have more students who want to share music, poetry and spoken word than we have time for. Recently I found a study that claims 50% of young people have recorded and/or shared original music. The tools to create music and share that music are better, less expensive and more accessible now than ever. Young people in our communities are really good at using these tools. And the sounds and songs they’re creating are, well… different.
IGNITE has exposed me to Christian rappers, hip hop artists and DJ’s. I know that may sound heretical to some people, but these young men and women are tremendously faithful. They’re gifted by God. They’re living out their calling by expressing the Good News of Jesus Christ with new sounds to new people. And while rap, electric dance music (EDM) and house music aren’t traditionally my favorite songs, I’m loving them. Here’s why:
- God’s people are expressing God’s word in new creative ways. Throughout history, revival happens when the Word of God is translated into the language of the people. Rap, hip hop, house music and EDM are the new language of people in many communities. We have generations of young people growing up fluent in these languages. New expressions of Christian music are translating the Gospel into their first languages.
- Christians are telling their stories of redemption in their own language. Dale, the DJ from IGNITE 2016, was renowned at clubs throughout the Caribbean and South America. He was involved in some less-than-Christian activities. But Dale had an amazing moment of redemption and turned his life around. Now he uses #electicgospel to spread the message of redemption and grace as a DJ worship leader. Being a DJ isn’t a gimmick for Dale, it’s who God created him to be; and he has embraced his gifts to share God’s story.
- The Church is empowering young people to create. Some church communities are already embracing young people who are writing songs for worship gatherings, providing music for other church functions and sharing their stories and poems. I believe there is a tremendous revival in the Church in America happening with young worship songwriters. These young people are writing songs to express the faith journey of their communities. These songs and individuals are bringing renewal and revival to their churches and communities.
Young people have all the creative tools at their fingertips anyway. God has wired the next generation to be creative and express themselves. What an amazing opportunity to connect with young people, provide them with a safe space to share their art, mentor them in their faith journeys and encourage them to write songs and create art for the Kingdom of God. The sounds may not always be our favorites, but if we’ll make room for them, they might just change our favorite songs.