Welcome to the seventh installment of "It's Your Flava!", where we from time to time invite opinion and comments from visitors. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of GospelFlava.com
Restine Jackson & Grace are known as much for intense praise and worship as they are for their bumpin' beats and retro throwbacks to style (see album review). Restine T. Jackson IV also serves as the Minister of Music at Greater Grace Temple of Capitol Heights, MD.
In this piece, DC's denizen of new Gospel sounds and high attention visuals offers up his defence for those who think that his style of Gospel presentation has gone 'over the edge.'
Submitted by Restine Jackson IV July, 2001
The face of Gospel music has changed. Artists such as myself as well as Deitrick Haddon, Brent Jones, The Gideon Band and Kirk Franklin have burst onto the scene.
Young people need to see their peers sold out for God every day; not simply serving God on Sunday and doing their own thing the rest of the week.
Many think that they will serve God later in life, perhaps when they are older, but in the meantime, want to enjoy themselves while they are still young.
But with artists such as Deitrick Haddon, myself and others, we are winning the souls of the youth not only inside the church, but outside the church as well. Those inside the church are buzzing about the new found freedom in praising God. They are realizing that you can have fun and get radical while still glorifying God.
For instance, when people come to a Restine Jackson & Grace concert, they are in total shock when they see us in afro wigs, platform shoes, polyester suits, dashikis, and so on. They are blown away by the strobe lights, smoke, and moving lights. Many are amazed that Gospel music can sound like other genres, but still glorify God. They are excited to know that you can rap and be saved. You can bounce or dance to a beat and you won’t go to hell.
This new found freedom in Christ is not accepted everywhere, but the contemporary, urban Gospel continues to gain acceptance in the church world. This freedom was not possible even 5 years ago, but is now one of the vehicles used to draw young people to the message of Jesus Christ. We use these devices to get them to come, and when they arrive, God and his Spirit take control; souls are saved and lives are changed.
However there is a strong resistance to this type of ministry, and unfortunately, it’s mostly from the traditional church world. Many of the traditionalists are opposed to the clothes and dancing. They feel that we are being like “the world.”
But, Proverbs 11:30 says “…he who winneth souls is wise.” We must first get the world’s attention and let them know they can come as they are; with their cornrows, braids, tight pants or skirts. Once there, we must allow the Spirit to move on the people and begin the process of salvation. Once they learn to be led by the Spirit of God, they will not want to wear certain things. However, we who have a unique calling and music ministry, cannot be afraid to stand before the masses and declare the wondrous works of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We must dance, shout, sing, and glorify the Father in whatever way God has called us, so that the world might hear the message and be saved. We cannot continue singing and preaching to the church only, but we must compel men and women to come “by any means necessary.”
On my latest project, Praise Party Live in D.C., you will hear over 3,500 youth and young adults praising and worshiping God until 'His Glory' entered the sanctuary. When we went 'Beyond the Veil', his glory manifested itself to all in attendance and lives were changed forever.
At that time in the service, we paused the concert and extended an invitation to salvation. Over 100 young people came forward, filling the altar and the aisles, and worshipped God, giving their lives to Jesus Christ. This is what it is all about, advancing the kingdom of God!
I believe there is a time and a place for having good old fashioned church, however the dope dealer doesn’t want to pump “Amazing Grace, how Sweet the Sound” in his car stereo. He’s looking for a sound that he is familiar with. That is why the sound may be different, but the words don’t change. WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT JESUS!
Therefore, I believe God has called me, as well as others, to the ministry of taking His Gospel, through music, to the people; and that’s what I’m gonna do! It makes no difference what people (I call them praise haters) say about me, because we know that the bible says, “… for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7).
So, be encouraged my brothers and sisters; stand strong in the faith, realizing that God will never leave you nor forsake you.
WE ARE THE FUTURE! BELIEVE THAT!