The Rationale for and Guide to Using Hip-Hop Music as A Vehicle to Spiritual Formation for Black Male Youth

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This thesis provides a hip-hop based curriculum that the black church can use to engage young black men in spiritual formation. Due to the negative lyrics heard in hip-hop music, many churches have rejected this style of music in their church, sometimes even demonizing those who identify with the genre. I argue that there is precedence for the church to utilize hip-hop music because the church has a history of utilizing popular culture, in particular music, to attract and engage young people in church. Moreover, individuals are formed and gain identity from more than just church music, and being aware of popular culture helps the church develop healthy relationships with young people because it tells young people that the church recognizes their music is more than just a fad, but an essential piece of their identity. My thesis expands on the historical moments where the church has used secular music to evangelize young people while offering portraits of two churches, The Tribe in New York City and Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, that currently use a genre of popular music as a tool for helping young people gain a closer relationship with God. In addition, this thesis argues for the use of curriculum, a pedagogical approach, for engaging young black males in spiritual formation. In order to create this curriculum, I listened to a large selection of hip-hop music, past and current, and evaluated

the lyrics and themes of each song to select the songs I thought would lead to great dialogue among the participants. This thesis concludes with the creation of a Christian curriculum that uses hip-hop music as its foundation.


Doctor of Ministry




Mason, Rodney Mason (2017). The Rationale for and Guide to Using Hip-Hop Music as A Vehicle to Spiritual Formation for Black Male Youth. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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