Home Christian News ‘The Right Bait’: Alabama Pastor Uses Rap, Retreats to Reel in Students

‘The Right Bait’: Alabama Pastor Uses Rap, Retreats to Reel in Students

Rembert moved to Montgomery at age 19 with the clothes on his back and a change of underwear and an extra shirt in a plastic bag, he told Baptist Press. He got a job at Wendy’s and, for the first time in his life, had running water and could take a hot shower.

Now a “tri-vocational” pastor, Rembert told BP he knew that getting inner-city youth away from their environments of stress and lack for just a season “and evangelistically (engaging) them with the Gospel through culture, the same culture that they come from, would be very, very effective. So that’s what we did.”

In partnership with Chisholm Baptist Church, a fading congregation of 20 worshippers between the ages of 62 and 93, Rembert began Flatline Church at Chisholm in 2019. Through the Montgomery Baptist Association, Chisholm Baptist gifted Flatline Church at Chisholm with a 22,000-square-foot building, looking for an African American pastor to reach the changing community.

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Rembert had begun in ministry teaching Bible study weekday mornings at a local public high school before leaving for work at 7 a.m. as the general manager of a local hotel.

“The Bible study started growing so big, we had to move it to the auditorium,” he said. “And then, the school, they stopped making me cut it off at 7 o’clock, because guys were coming out of gangs, girls were keeping their babies when they were going to have abortions.”

School coaches and administrators began calling Rembert to intervene when students were going astray, promising to give the students another chance if Rembert could sway them to change.

“I would go over to the school and share my story,” he said. He resonated with the students because he was once in their shoes, dealing with life without a father or a father’s rejection.

The outreach led Rembert to found the Flatline Movement an urban ministry, in 2015, based on Romans 6:11. In its earliest days, the ministry focused on football teams, engaging them in Bible study over dinner after team practice. In 2021, he revamped the movement to engage the culture with the Gospel through the arts, assisted by a team of seven rappers and musical artists who worship at Flatline Church at Chisholm.

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Rembert is church-planting strategist for the Montgomery Baptist Association, works part time at the front desk of a local hotel, and also does part-time work at the Elmore Baptist Association in Wetumpka.

The married father of three children is continuing his education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary after attending Troy State University of Montgomery and Birmingham Theological Seminary.

He doesn’t earn a salary in the Flatline Movement or the pastorate, estimating the average annual income is $12,000 for families within a mile radius of the church.

“Can you imagine living off of $1,000 a month? That’s household income.”

Rembert encourages Southern Baptists to listen to inner-city youth when trying to reach them with the Gospel.

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“I would like for Southern Baptists to listen to them and to realize that everything that’s not like (Southern Baptists) in regards of culture is not demonic, again, like rap,” Rembert said. “Rap is in the Bible.

“Rap stands for rhyme and poetry. If you look in the Book of Psalms, it’s a what? Poetic book. What about Proverbs? Poetic Book. Ecclesiastes, poetic book. Job? Poetic Book. And the Book of Psalms is rhyming. And the Bible says David danced out of his clothes.

“Now, we don’t know what kind of music he was listening to, but he was worshiping the Lord.”

This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.