Article: How Swagger Can Help the Gospel – Kirk Franklin


Our Good Lord has always used the unlikeliest of people to bring glory to Himself. Jesus Christ himself was mocked by the haters in his day because of who he hung out with and what they looked like.
It’s probably a good idea to not repeat the mistakes of those who crucified our Christ.
One of the things I love about being in a community that shares my hue is that we have always given the world its sauce! From the Harlem Renaissance to the electric slide, from the word “fresh” to, of course, swagger [or swag], popular culture has always looked to us to keep them updated and aware. From every kid in the suburbs to the ones on the block, we let you know what the world will be wearing or saying before they are wearing or saying it.
And since what influences the culture doesn’t stay in a bubble, it influences the faith community as well. Like it or not, your kids know LIL WAYNE probably more than your favorite Christian artist. As a kid we were always trying to explain what the new slang word meant to our parents, like you probably tried to explain to yours!
From the rock revolution and the British invasion to the world domination of hip-hop, every parent or adult at the time either cursed the movement, or were at least confused by it.
Well, it’s still happening today.
I have a young group signed to my label. My goal has always been to find young talent that could continue to glorify God to their generation. The group consists of four siblings, two boys and two girls, who range in age from 18 to 23 years old.
During one of their performances, they apparently did a sign with their hands that raised eyebrows with the older more traditional members of the crowd. When I heard about it online, I was concerned about what they did.
Was this some sign of disrespect to the holiness of the church? Were they admitting they were a part of the illuminati? Were they making a statement of their allegiance to a different religion inside a Christian institution? Or did someone in the audience upset them and they gave the INTERNATIONAL symbol of frustration that any expert could translate.
But then I learned that the symbol that created so much disruption in the cyber universe was an “H” symbol. They simply created the letter H with their hands.
The kids are from Houston. They were just repping love for their hometown, Houston. But the online world claimed they were throwing up gang signs, symbols of something that couldn’t be Christian, or something else equally as suspect.
Instead of asking questions, they just assumed the worst. It would have been so much easier to ask what it was instead of ASSUMING what it was; something we continue to do too much to our younger generations.
My concern is that within the church community, we often expect the worst from our kids. We view everything as an attack on the traditional institution of the church. If it’s something we haven’t seen before, it MUST be wrong. We have forgotten that we hated when the elders in our lives did the same thing to us. It is amazing how cyclical the negativity we continue to pass down.
And if we’re not careful, the generation that’s the future will no longer want to fight against the gatekeepers to communicate Christ to their world.
The hope of the Gospel must be given to them with their tattoos, nose rings, dreadlocks, and skinny jeans without killing their swagger.
YOU had long hair. YOU snuck and listened to Elvis in the basement. YOU even brought a few beers to the youth retreat at church camp. You know you did! But look at you now. Yeah, you have some bruises and some scars, but you still love God. You’re still hungry for His presence.
Why not give this generation a chance to know their God as well? As long as He’s the God of the Bible that saves the world because He loved it, let the music play loud. Let them dance until their clothes are drenched. Let them speak with slangs and swag that you may not understand, but with fruit you can’t deny.
And don’t kill their fire! Don’t be so proud that you don’t ask questions. Don’t make judgments about things you don’t understand. It wasn’t fair to your generation, and it’s not fair to theirs. If God is being glorified, if kids are still coming to church, if the Gospel has a chance of being heard by your children’s children, go ahead and throw your hands up, get your swag on, compliment their Romans 8:28 tattoo on their arm, pick you up some skinny jeans, and throw your “H’s” up in the air for HALLELUJAH if you’re not from Houston!


Award Winning Blogger, Social Media Optimizer/Strategist & Entrepreneur.

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