Grammy Awarding-winning hip hop artist Lecrae told CBN News he questioned his idea for his solo project Church Clothes when people haven't been going to church in a while.
"City people, 40 and under were a little jaded," he said. "Or they were figuring out if they were going back (to church) after the pandemic."
During an interview with CBN's Studio 5, Lecrae, an outspoken Christian, said he decided to investigate the various perspectives from people about the pandemic. He found many people for many different reasons weren't attending worship services with their congregations.
That's what led to his latest album, No Church in a While, which is sort of a play on words for the Kanye West song "No Church in the Wild."
"And so I said, 'Well, let's talk about it. Let's examine some tactics. Why is that?'" he recalls. "And this album was the opportunity to address those particular issues. But at the same time, you know, encourage people. We still need each other. We can vent. We can be cathartic. But let's just not be silent about it. Let's talk about it, so we can work through it."
CBN News asked the Grammy winner if he thought there was still a place for the church.
"Absolutely," Lecrae replied. "The church is biblical. We are the church as a body. There's also structure put in place to have decency and order. So those are the things I want to respect. But I do think we have to be careful when we start blaming more cultural things, instituting those cultural mandates. And I think we have to fight against that traditionalism, especially in America, where if church doesn't look like this, it's not being done right."
When asked about his favorite track from his project, he answered, "Probably right now, it's Save Us. And Save Us is really just an articulation of 'God, we need you.' We are in some hard times. You know, we've never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. Global pandemic, political divides, racial divides, all happening at one time."
"So Save Us is really just saying, 'God, intervene and help us understand how we should be moving,'" Lecrae told CBN News.
The hip-hop artist also said his "Unashamed" tour would be returning. Tickets are now on sale.
As CBN News reported last month, Lecrae said he lost an upcoming show venue after expressing his thoughts about the "institutional" and "politicized" version of Christianity in a tweet.
"Once upon a time I thought I was done with Christianity. But the reality was I was just done with the institutional, corporatized, gentrified, politicized, culturally exclusive version of it," Lecrae wrote.
The 42-year-old re-shared his tweet the next day, revealing that he, "Just lost a show because of this tweet. Point proven."
He added, "Vulnerability gets people kicked out of exclusive tribes. Jesus welcomes the outcast and seeks to bring healing."
Lecrae explained to CBN News that he shared the tweet in response to some believers who may be questioning their Christian faith.
"I have to kind of talk about it in terms of experiences. I came into the faith as a young man as an adult, doe-eyed and expecting it to be this perfect community and family," he said. "Obviously, it was full of broken people and broken people create broken systems. In getting involved in the music industry, specifically on a Christian side, I kind of felt that we all shared that sense of camaraderie and I just saw that not live up to the expectation that I had. I saw a lot of inconsistencies. It's not to condemn anyone. It's just to say there are people who weren't living up to the ideals that were painted in front of people."
He continued, "So, I go on these tours and I see people say one thing on stage and live another way offstage. That was part of the first breakdown for me. And then over the years, I just realized, being at the top level of Christendom in America, I've seen behind the scenes. I've seen how people can tend to manipulate faith for power, prestige, financial gain, or create these culturally exclusive groups and clubs and it so disenchanted me. I thought that they were synonymous with the Christian faith and I said I don't want anything to do with this faith."
Lecrae pointed out that he finally realized the difference between true faith and false representation.
"It took me a while to realize that is not the faith. That is a version or a distortion of it and that's what I can reject. I don't have to reject the faith itself ... I can reject this distortion of the faith," he concluded.
Over the years, Lecrae has talked openly about how his "faith has been restored."
For more uplifting entertainment stories, be sure to check out Studio 5, airing at 8:30 PM Eastern, Wednesdays on the CBN News Channel.