“What’s up, fam?”
These were the words that Lecrae spoke to me when I introduced myself to him. I remember the day like it was yesterday. But it was 2008.
It was the beginning of my sophomore year and I attended a college in a town of about 10,000 people. All my life I had been a fan of Hip-Hop music, but never was able to attend a concert. Soon into the Fall semester, I started hearing rumors of a Christian Hip-Hop concert that would be held at a small Church in town. When I heard my favorite Artist was going to be there, I knew I had to find a way to attend.
The interesting thing about this whole story, though, was that Lecrae wasn’t “big” yet. He may be a household name now, but he wasn’t back then. He just dropped his third album, Rebel, and he was starting to blow up, but the bomb hadn’t quite ticked yet. Looking back on it, I think I met him right before he starting getting international notoriety.
At any rate, I showed up to the small Church building on a cool Friday evening in Maryville, Missouri. I was with some friends and our adrenaline was soaring. We weren’t the only ones who got the memo for the concert as there were probably about 500 hundred of us total packed in a tiny, quaint Church building. There was hardly any room to move let alone breathe. But nevertheless, the concert was incredible. It was electryfying. The energy was high, the beats were jamming, and my heart was encouraged.
But this wasn’t the best part.
After the concert, there was an opportunity – for those willing to wait in a very long line – to meet Lecrae. Knowing that I might never get this chance again, I decided to wait. I only waited in line for 30 minutes but it felt like three hours – I couldn’t wait to meet the guy.
In front of me in line was a boy who was eleven or twelve. Or maybe he was a teenager – I’m not quite sure, I just know that he was very young. The most amazing part of this story wasn’t when I talked to Lecrae, but when he did. As I waited in line, I couldn’t help but notice this young boy’s facial expression and body language– it was one of fear, of distress, of concern. I thought he might be very nervous to be near the presence of a guy like Lecrae’s stature.
I was wrong.
I’ll never forget the interaction between this young fellow and Lecrae. I thought he was going to ask for an autograph or request to take a picture. But he didn’t. When he finally got to meet Lecrae, their dialogue caught me off guard. Considering the nearness of both Lecrae and the young fellow in a small Church, I was able to hear their conversation, which went a little something like this:
Boy: “Hi, Lecrae.”
Lecrae: “What’s up, young man!”
Boy: “Umm. Umm. Nothing. I have a question for you.”
Lecrae: “What’s up?”
Boy: “My grandma is about to die. She is not a Christian. I want to share the gospel with her, but don’t know how. I’m very concerned about her. I don’t want her to die apart from knowing Jesus. Lecrae, what should I do?”
I was stunned.
Most kids his age — or mine, for that matter — would not have asked such a question when meeting someone they greatly admire. We typically want a photo to share on Social Media, an autograph to show our friends, a hug or hand shake that we’ll remember forever. But this kid was concerned for the salvation of someone he loved.
Lecrae’s reply was memorable, yet simple. He humbly and confidently opened his Bible to the book of Colossians. He quoted Paul in the last chapter: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word . . .” Lecrae emphasized the last part of a door being opened for the Word. He said to the kid, “Pray for an open door to share the gospel, share the gospel, keeping praying and trust God. And that’s all you can do.”
He thanked Lecrae and walked away. I never saw the young fellow again.
It was then my turn to meet my favorite rapper. But how would I respond after what just took place? What was I supposed to do? In a moment, the young fellow’s question put things back into perspective for me. There’s nothing wrong with having heroes, admiring loved ones, or even asking for an autograph from someone who’s inspired you. But this kid’s question reminded me of what’s truly important in life: Knowing Jesus, and introducing others to him.
In the end, I just simply thanked Lecrae for his music, laid my hands on him, and prayed for God’s blessing over his ministry and life. We shook hands, and then I left the Church.
I went home full of joy and deeply encouraged. I was very grateful that I got to meet Lecrae and pray for him. I had a lot of fond memories from the night, but what happened right before meeting Lecrae tops them all. I often think about that moment, even to this day.
I wonder if Grandma ever became a Christian.