Thought Factory Podcast #407 || Insider’s View: Behind Closed Doors on the School Campus

God has been kicked out of America’s public school system.  We have seen the results of His absence. Unfortunately, no policy in place will eradicate the symptoms of hate, but only a change in a person’s heart.  What would happen if students invited God back in through student-led prayer?  In today’s episode, hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer interview a national touring hip-hop artist, George Moss, who has gained access into schools through his performances and speaking opportunities, which has given him an inside view of what students face at school.  We also hear a story from a public high school principal who has seen radical change through student-led prayer at his school.

George Moss is a Christian hip-hop artist, founder of Oxen Apparel, and performs/speaks in public schools and we spoke with him on the Thought Factory Podcast.  Here are the highlights of the interview:

What is your background in working with students?
“I’ve worked with students ever since I was a student, doing ministry, doing hip-hop music tours.”  

What are you doing now?
“Every so often I get an opportunity to go into public schools, sometimes with the speaker.  I’ll go into a couple songs and the speaker will speak.  Just recently, I’ve taken on the whole thing.  [I go] in by performing a little bit and then sharing my story as a speaker to the kids.”

What are some of the biggest challenging trends you are seeing from students and in schools?
“Culture has changed drastically in the past ten years. You know, culture always shifts, but doing ministry is hard to catch up with that.  We don’t stay ahead of the curve.  We think, ‘Oh this worked this year, we’re gonna continue to do what works,’ and people move on from what worked then without updating it to what does right now.  I think with the new generation, we have to approach ministry in a much different way.

A lot of these kids don’t realize that they’re living through their story right now.  A lot of the struggles they’re facing, a lot of the problems that they’re going through right now, they don’t realize that they’re going through this to be able to have that experience to relate to somebody else later.  But, it’s hard to see that when you are a 16-year-old.”

What do you see God doing in schools and in students?
“I feel like there’s such a need for God in schools but to be quite honest, I feel like God is at the door knocking, but He is not welcomed in school.  You get that from the policies and setup.  The culture that we’re living in, a post-Christian society, it’s accepting of everything else but the gospel, except for Jesus, except for the message of the Bible.

It’s mind-boggling to me how you can take a rapper who will talk about drugs, sex, money, cars, killing in their music and they’re welcomed into places.  Sometimes without any sort of hesitation.  But, when you’re a Christian [they need to] be careful about you.”

When you said God is knocking but He’s not welcomed, what would you say from a student perspective?  Is that as much the case?
“Yeah, I would definitely say.  It’s not just the schools.  It’s a reflection of our culture.  God’s not welcomed in our media, God’s not welcomed on television, He’s not welcomed on award shows. People say Jesus in an interview or people start talking about that, somehow they lose signal.

For so long people look at Christianity as trying to change their behavior and God is not concerned about your behavior as much as He’s concerned about your heart.  If your heart changes, then you don’t go into a school and shoot it up.  At the same time, if your heart changes, you’re not bullying the kid to make them go to that extreme.  You’re not ridiculing and mocking a gay kid, you’re not doing these things.  You’re actually compassionate.  You care for people.  You care for one another and until the hearts of students change, there’s not going to be safety in school.  But, the heart of students will not change without the gospel.  It’s just you can’t have one without the other.  You can be good moral people but if you’re just moral for moral sake, people can do a lot of things with good morality.”

The school campus is such a strategic place of influence in society.  The overwhelming majority of our population goes through middle school and high school on a school campus, whether public or private.  That’s where they’re most receptive to the gospel before they graduate.  It’s where all of society is in one place and they’re spending about nine thousand hours – half of their waking life in schools.  Claim Your Campus is where students are praying at schools.

It’s seeing the difference that prayer is making when we’re talking about heart change.  The only thing that can change a person’s life and heart is God and it’s the power of Christ.  There’s no other way around that.

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