Every Saturday night hip-hop music rumbles rhythmically from the building of Imagine Fellowship Church in Holland, Mich. Inside, young men play video games, dance, eat, and listen to the gospel.
It might seem a bit out of place in this small, quiet community known for its Dutch-themed attractions. But this vibrant ministry—EK-HO: Revive, Reflect, Respond—is bringing the gospel to young, un-churched men in an area where gang violence is on the rise.
Meaning “echoing the gospel through hip-hop,” EK-Ho was launched in October 2010. Already, 25 to 30 neighborhood youths from a mix of cultures and economic backgrounds attend the Saturday-night celebration. It’s a safe place where they can hang out and just be themselves, where they can have fun while building positive relationships.
Rev. Wayne Coleman, who planted Imagine Fellowship several years ago, started EK-HO. “They need people to identify with them and their music,” he says of the young urban youths. “If Jesus can be the Messiah for everyone, why can’t he be the Messiah for the post-modern hip-hop culture?”
To keep the EK-HO ministry safe, the church set a few guidelines. “We make sure people understand the rules and understand what lyrics are permissible,” Coleman says. “The kids know this is a church, and they respect that and respond accordingly.”
Coleman sees EK-HO as an opportunity to befriend the youths and eventually share the gospel with them. “We want to share life skills with the youths and talk with them,” he says.
So far, EK-HO is making an impact. One brother and sister who have been attending EK-HO since opening day recently became followers of Jesus. Their mother, an atheist, is becoming curious about church. Additionally, several gang members have volunteered to become part of the EK-HO planning team, and some have visited the church’s worship services on Sunday.
To learn more about the ministry, see www.crcna.org/pages/crhm_greatlakes_imagine.cfm#9339.