Blair Wingo is the spokesperson for the Passion 4 Christ Movement (P4CM), which is a church/movement in Los Angeles, Calif. that primarily ministers to urban youth through biblically bold expressions of the Christian faith.
To start it out right, I must ask the question, who is Blair Wingo?
I am a Christian spoken word artist, who has been ministering the Gospel through poetry for the last five years. Although I was raised in the church saying that I loved God from age 9, it wasn’t until about five years ago when I met the senior pastor at P4CM [Passion for Christ Movement], Pastor Cox; that I realized that being saved was more than just going up to the alter and repeating a prayer.
My “relationship” with God at that time, was no relationship at all. The extent of my “Christianity” was nothing more than a time of being at church and getting excited about the emotional rush I had every week. Because I was very active in church, leading Sunday school, president of the youth, etc., there were many things I boasted in which deceived me into believing I was okay when I wasn’t. When you looked into my life, there were no signs of me being a true convert. I had a form of godliness but denied the power of God. Although I could talk about it, the cross of Calvary didn’t make sense to me because there was no personal connection to it. Matter of fact I didn’t even believe that I was really a sinner because I was comparing myself to other people who to me had done way worse.
It was shortly after meeting my pastor; as he opened up the Scriptures, that I realized that my life was an offense to God because I loved the sins in my life more than Him. Actually I did not love God; even though I was trained to say I did because I was not obeying His commands. Stevie Wonder could have seen that I didn’t care much about God at all; and I was content with learning the right things to say to seem spiritual not realizing I was desperately in need of God’s forgiveness.
It was God’s mercy in using my pastor to consistently tell me the Word of God uncompromisingly, which eventually helped me see my sinful state and ask Christ to deliver me and grant me a repentant heart. Since placing my faith in Christ Jesus I have had many opportunities to travel around sharing these poems, which focus on the centrality of Christ, and are what I think, an exemplary view of the ministry, which goes on at P4CM.
Tell us more about the philosophy of the Passion for Christ Movement and the heart behind what the movement is called to do.
Well, P4CM is both a church and a movement in Los Angeles, Calif. First I would say that the heart of P4CM is to exalt Christ in His rightful place. We encourage people to express a pure passion for Christ above any other thing. With that we have chosen may avenues as a means to break the silence and show what Christ can do in the lives of a people who are surrendered to Him. Our main ministry I would say is mostly geared toward urban youth. With well over 25 ministries at P4CM, we push by all capable means to expose the social norms which are contradictory to the Scriptures so that people may come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
You guys seem to approach ministry rather aggressively. However, it seems to be equally effective. What’s been the most challenging part of being so aggressive in pushing the message of Christ to the public?
Well in view of the people God used in the Scriptures I wouldn’t say that we are aggressive at all. I think some people may see it that way because the Gospel has been so watered down that when someone stands up to defend the cause of Christ it’s so far from what they may see regularly. However when we look into the Scriptures, even more specifically looking at the ministry of Christ Himself, we see Him taking bold stances all the time. He is often noted as having called the Pharisees “brood of vipers,” or His disciples an “unbelieving perverse generation,” and even told them that they could leave if they were not willing to side with His ways. [He] told many to give up everything to follow Him, and if they didn’t love Him more than their family members they were not worthy to serve Him.
A Scripture which comes to mind is Proverbs 28:1 which says, “the righteous are as bold as a lion.” What we are doing is walking in that boldness of Christ since we have been made righteous by faith. It takes a lot of trust in God to open up your mouth when God tells you to. We have to consistently refuse the desire to fear men. Although it is not always easy, we count it an honor to be able to stand boldly and share this Good News with the world.
But, that may seem like you’re going against the religious grain, or steering people away from what you call a “cultural Jesus.”
We have seen in this society many bowing down to a “cultural Jesus,” which is not found in the Scriptures. What I mean is, for example, there was the popular song by Kanye West, titled “Jesus walks with me,” which soared to the top of the charts. When you examine the lyrics of the song, however, he is saying that despite living a lifestyle of sin, Jesus walks with you. We all know that this is not consistent with the Scriptures, 1 John 3:7-9 clearly marks out signs of those who belong to God and how they do not go on living a lifestyle of sin.
So what we are doing is tearing down these false images of Christ so that there will be no confusion about who the Jesus of Scripture really is. The reason this is important is because here in America, about 70 to 80 percent of people consider themselves Christian but by their unrepentant lifestyle it is clearly shown that they do not really believe that Christ is Lord. There seems to be a delusion that has hit many churches where the message they preach is contradictory to the Word of God. On one hand you have Joel Osteen saying that you can “live your best life now,” and on the other side you have John Piper saying, “Don’t waste your life.”
It is our duty to get into the Word of God so that we can know whose message is consistent with that of Christ. The church norm nowadays is that God is okay with whatever you do in your life as long as you go to church or you pray a sinner’s prayer. This unbiblical message has reached so many people we can only conclude that similar to my upbringing, there are other people out there who profess Christ with their mouth, but truly have not been converted. We often are ministering to those who have heard about Jesus in an incorrect context and are in need of hearing the message of Christ and Him crucified so that they will be transformed by the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond biblically to the call of salvation.
So, in a way, we need to be re-introduced to Christ?
Yes I believe there should be a re-introduction of Christ. The people who have been misinformed about Jesus need to be reintroduced to Him so that they can truly come to Him. Because, think about it, how can we trust someone we don’t know? We all know that it isn’t fair to inaccurately judge someone’s character and then say you’re close to that person and you love them. Christ deserves to be known in the proper way so that He receives the full reward of His sufferings and we are glad to be one of the many churches that He is using to do that.
Do you think that the church has become too religious, or too scared about getting the Word of Christ out to the people around us?
To say that the church is too religious really depends on the context. I would say for many urban churches in America, the problem is not that they are too religious but they are often too worldly. But I guess it is similar to the Pharisees as spoken of in Scriptures; where you have a people who are religious on the outside, but worldly on the inside. You will find churches disrespecting Christ in the name of drawing people to Christ.
Youth services often openly host secular events with popular secular music which sends a message promoting violence, greed, and sexual immorality – the very sins that Christ died to save us from, and they often classify these services as being an “alternative.” I do think fear plays a part in this hypocrisy found in church; a fear of man rather than a fear of God. Although I think the fear of man is a temptation as we walk with God, we have to rely upon God and not give in to the flesh. And that especially is important for our church leadership.
So now that you know what you’ve been missing, how are you working through this in your community?
Now that we have been affected by the cross of Jesus Christ, and have a testimony to share, we are boldly going into our communities so that others may hear the Good News and be set free as well. At P4CM, we have an evangelism team which goes out weekly, and also goes to large community events in Los Angeles to pass out tracts and spark conversations in order to share the Gospel with people.
We also have a t-shirt ministry which has sparked a new EX-series campaign which has been used as conversation starters. It encourages people to share their testimony by displaying EX- “whatever God has delivered you from.” For example some of the shirts are: EX-Hypocrite, EX-Atheist, EX-Porn Addict, EX-Hustler, EX-Racist, EX-Masturbator, etc… These shirts are encouraging people all across the United States and abroad in places like France, China, London, Africa and others to open up their mouths and share the word of their testimony and proclaim the Blood of the Lamb. This has been revolutionary for a culture which says Jesus didn’t come to deliver you from your sins or that He does have the power to really do it. We also have a MySpace and Facebook team, which ministers the Gospel online through posting videos and sermons. Whatever way we can, we are using it so that we exhaust ourselves for the sake of the Gospel in our youth so that someone may be saved.
How can we be more effective in our own community?
Being effective in your community starts inward. You can only pour out what you have within. I encourage you to be diligent in your pursuit of Christ so that you live a life worthy of the Gospel first. Second, what you have received of first importance, (as Paul describes in 1 Cor. 15:1-4) go and share that with others. As your heart becomes unified with Christ strategically think of ways to minister to your community. That may not mean a tee-shirt campaign, or a poetry ministry, but whatever gift God has given you in order to impact those around you be willing to go.
Initially, I did not want to do poetry because I was afraid and lazy. However God sent my pastor to encourage me to go. I didn’t understand it then, but I’m so thankful now seeing the fruit of it all and how God is getting glory. He has used poetry to break me as well, to challenge my willingness to persevere and be a good steward with the opportunities given. Imagine if I didn’t listen to my pastor and I gave into fear? Often in our prayer time we say “God whatever you want me to do, I will do it.” My encouragement is when God answers that prayer, be willing to go. And whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.
To learn more about Blair Wingo and the Passion for Christ Movement, visit their website at www.P4CM.com.