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Sho Baraka: Why You Will Be a Better Church Leader If You Help Your Artists

“The father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, he said that history is not just a collection of facts, it’s for us to create a reasonable application of the facts that we are gathering. So what has history told us about ourselves? And so, therefore, if we hope for true reconciliation and repair in this nation, then we have to deal with the truth of our history.”

“How much of a blessing would it be if churches uniformly just talked about the blessing of Asia and Africa and the influence that they had on Western European and European theologians?”

“When you look at the American Christians, and if you want to see a great tethering of what it means to have a physical faith and a mental, spiritual faith, you look no further than the African-American Christian tradition, where there were people who struggled with liberation not only in a mental sense, in a spiritual sense, but in a physical sense.”

“I encourage a lot of my friends who are preachers and church leaders to read fiction because fiction helps them play with the description of words and and set ambience and milieu and all those great things…ultimately what you’re doing as pastors and church leaders just you’re preaching to the heart and you want to pull the emotion out of people.”

“Art does a wonderful job of disarming people and getting people comfortable so that they can receive some sort of truth.”

“Oftentimes pastors are prostituting artists and artists try to prostitute the church for their own benefits. So you have church leaders who want the great artists and great talent to come to be at the church so that they can bring more people. But that’s all they really want them for.”

“This is large churches, obviously, and churches who have the kind of financial capacity to be able to take on an artist’s residency, [but one thing you could do is] say, ‘Hey, we just want to support you with this amount a year, going to be great, go and make some great art, and influence the culture.’ I think that would be revolutionary in some ways.”

“I don’t think there’s a Lecrae, a Tedashii, a Sho, unless my brother [Dhati Lewis] gives us the platforms that he gave us.”

“You have churches who actually want their church worship teams to try to make albums. But there are more than just musicians. What about the painters? What about the dancers? What about the writers? Like how are you giving platforms and opportunities to those folks? And how are the artists themselves also committing to the church?”

“There are people who are, I don’t know, decolonising, deconstructing, removing themselves altogether from evangelicalism. Then there are those people who are putting their foot down in evangelicalism. Then I feel like I am a third person. I am the type of person who recognizes that evangelicalism is not owned by, I guess you can say, our white brothers and sisters.”