"If a mainstream rap label like Swishahouse is distributing Christian movies, it's a pretty safe bet that those films will be a little more 'street' than Left Behind or Facing the Giants" reports Jason Bellini in his blog Jesus Musik for blogs.chron.com where he recently reviewed PAIN: the Movie (trailer) produced by Kingdom Media Group, the film and media venture of the Houston based urban outreach ministry, Street Life Worldwide, and recently picked up for distribution by Swishahouse.
"Street" is just what the producers of this movie are after. Co-writer, co-director, and co-producer Terrance Levi, pastor of The Spring Church in Houston, a member of UBA, has a supporting role in the film and has long had a passion for reaching at-risk youth, on the street, in gangs, sometimes already caught up in the underworld of crime and violence. Converting to Christ at a time when his own life was in a "downward spiral," Levi has a vision to take the gospel to those who desperately need it, particularly youth and young adults entrenched in the Hip Hop culture. His medium is the arts: films, television, and music. His passion is to use his gifts to communicate the message of the gospel in a way that can be understood by an audience on the street who has little experience with "church talk."
Robert Taylor, co-producer, describes PAIN as "an effort to reach the secular Hip Hop audience with a Christian message packed in a movie with street credibility." This is no small task. It's a fine line to walk, and some pastors refuse to allow any type of rap-related music in their churches or in any outreach ministry believing that the style itself is destructive, regardless of the content. Others believe that the influence of the Hip Hop culture is so strong as to constitute a culture in itself, requiring the use of some "cross-cultural" witnessing techniques to effectively reach the group. Using the style of the culture to deliver Christian content may reduce some of the communication barriers.
PAIN is one of several movies produced by Levi and his team but the first to be picked up and distributed by a major record label in the rap community.
Resources:More evangelistic movies for the street crowd: Streetlife Worldwide
PAIN THE MOVIE: Trailer from Robert Taylor on Vimeo.
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