LEAVE MATTHEW ALONE" is the title of a powerful sermon that God delivered through Reverend Robert Lloyd, Perfect Peace, BC, which seemed to encapsulate the theme of the messages delivered from the impressive list of speakers at the first New Life Music Network
Meeting held at the Victory Banquet Center in Riverview, St Louis, MO.
Reverand Lloyd drew his reference from the following verses in the book of Matthew 9:10-13:
" And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
The mission of calling to righteousness those that are spiritually sick, with a special focus on our youth, is in the hearts of all who are affiliated with the New Life Music Network. "But when I go fishing," stated Pastor Ron Haynes, Word of Life Ministries, "I don't use bait that I would eat, I use bait that the fish like to eat! When I reach out to our young people, I see that they like rap music, spoken word, steppers and such...so that is what I put on my hook!"
"How do we relate?" asks Minister Darrin "Slugger Roo" Williams, Remnant Worship Center International, Alton, IL,"Every fourth Friday, our church holds an event called 'Friday Night Live!' where we reach have live concerts, Gospel DJs and other events that excite and engage the youth in our community. Many young people were amazed at the idea that we could live for God and have a fun doing it!" Slugger Roo noted that at a recent Friday Night Live event, 24 young people were saved in the name of Jesus and added to the Body of Christ for the Glory of God!
The spirit of worship was then ushered in to the room by gospel music songstress, Shakira Cozart, New Straightway Family Worship Center, E.St Louis, as she serenaded the souls of those in attendance with her selection entitled "Don't Give Up"
What followed was a heart gripping move of God through the holy hip-hop music minister known as Point5, Faith Church St. Louis. First, presenting the words of his song spoken acappella, then rapping the message over nostalgic urban beats, and finally eclipsing an awesomely interactive exhortation of the gospel with a testimony of consummate transperency, what transcended was a permeating message of hope from his hope inspired single "Hope" that left everyone standing on their feet as if expecting tongues of fire to descend on heads of believer in the room!
"This is a message you need the young people in your communities to hear!" exclaimed New Life Music Network organizer Gerald Peoples Jr aka DJ G, New Life In Christ Interdenominational Church, IL.
"But it is not likely the youth will hear it in this form on gospel radio stations." explained gospel radio show host Hernandes Union, The Good Community MB Church, St Louis After providing gospel artists in attendance with valuable tips on how to get radio airplay and to better equipt and present their music ministries to radio stations, he brought to light that the play lists on public radio mainly consist of songs selected by program directors who's focus is not necessarily on youth ministry. "I left station because I felt God had a greater calling for my gifts than to regurgitate playlists from a select list of songs." As a result, DJ Hernandes is part of a move that has established an online radio station entitled "The Voice".
Next to speak was Hallelujah1600 radio show host of the Praise Mix Down, Warner Aldridge, Friendly Temple, St Louis. "Artists need to get the work in!" exclaimed Warner. Warner explained his motivation for reaching out and encouraged artists to consider outlets other than radio. "Artists like Jai are not getting a lot of air play on our station but, instead, are self-marketing and promoting and it is working for them."
A plea from Victory Banquet Center owner, Sister Anita Brown, went out for seeds to be planted into the attached "Light House Youth Center" that seats over 500 which, despite being used to bless thousands of young lives in the 90's and early new millineum, has sat dormant for the last two years and is currently being threatened with government foreclosure or being sold off. "It doesn't matter which ministery leads the charge," says Sister Brown, "as long as God has endowed you with a heart for the youth, I would like to use the Light House to help push you into your ministry!"
The meeting flowed into a networking hour as Darrin Johnson, Soul Patrol, collected cards used for attendance and door prizes. Mobile gospel disc jockey DJ G began spinning urban gospel music as attendees moved to meet and greet one another, exchange contact information and enjoy Popeyes Chicken sponsored by 9854 Halls Ferry Popeyes. It was mentioned by Sister Union that several initiatives have begun around the city of St Louis focusing on either music, or the youth. It is the hope of organizer, Gerald Peoples Jr, New Life Music, and affiliates of the New Life Music Network
, that these chosen laborers can work together to move in power and create a musical support network for that will merge the music and the ministries to reach the youth for the glory of God.