By Victor Ochieng
The most important holiday in Christian calendar is Easter. It’s a season in which many Christian churches strive to draw their members closer to God as they commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is normally done through Bible reading sessions, Christian plays and movies, gospel music and sermons relating to the physical resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, because of the glaring desire to reach out to different generations, especially the younger ones, Alfred Street Baptist Church decided to defy all odds and make their Easter Sunday a totally different affair. Instead of sticking to the Bible, the church leadership, through their pastor, decided to use both the Bible and Beyoncé to celebrate the resurrection of Christ the Messiah.
“I didn’t come to preach Beyoncé – I came to preach Bible. And you can’t get out of the first book of the Bible without being introduced to a brother who’s got a Ph.D. in lemonade. His name is Joseph,” Wesley said in the sermon.
In another of his sermons, the pastor was heard saying, “In the words of my favorite poet, Sean Carter — for those over 45, that’s Jay-Z — Sean Carter argues that a couple dollars shut up our holler.”
Well, it becomes evident that the church pastor, Dr. Howard-John Wesley, is focused on winning more souls and it appears that his approach is working.
One 15-year-old girl called Madison Welborn, who’s a member of Wesley’s church is very happy with the pastor’s approach. “He doesn’t make you feel bored or at home or laid back. He’s making you involved in wanting to be at church, and that’s something I really do like and find great about Pastor Wesley,” Welborn said.
He cited that he grew up with hip-hop and he’s only ensuring that he uses the culture to spread the gospel word.
“I am raised in the era of hip-hop. I respect hip-hop. I know ‘90s language,” Wesley said. “So within the language I can use analogies and metaphors that address all generations.”
Some of the best sermons he’s delivered seamlessly combine biblical messages and contemporary topics. In 2012, for example, he shared a gospel message while donning a hoodie, doing so as he addressed the killing of Trayvon Martin. “When you’re hurt and when you’re scared, it’s hard to hear the voice of God,” he said.