Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history. These days, some observers have dubbed Christian rap artist Lecrae a new kind of Billy Graham, an evangelist whose message could impact an entire generation.
The timing of his continual leadership rise is perfect. Recent studies and polls suggest many younger adults do not trust the Church today.
"This generation doesn't have a Billy Graham," said LaDawn Johnson, a sociologist at Biola University, an evangelical school outside Los Angeles.
Lecrae, once a drug dealer, is filling that Christian leadership void. And the artist joined forces with filmwriter and director Art Hooker to make sure the "Unashamed World" movement is televised. Their documentary is scheduled for release this Fall.
"I have always been looking for the social relevance of our faith and who are the leaders in the future who will really be able to be champions of the social relevance of our faith," Hooker told CBN News in a recent interview.
Hooker is a former Learning Design Vice President of Citigroup. He met Lecrae while they were both students at University of North Texas. He also hired Lecrae to work as a bill collector in his earlier days as a manager at Citigroup.
"I actually hired him," Hooker recalled. "It's funny, I don't even think about this very often. But he brings it up every now and then because he talks about how when he worked at Citigroup he really could see how faith and works sort of inter-played."
Lecrae had leadership vision even while in college and before becoming a Christian. Some of that story is captured in the film "Unashamed World." It is a 17-year project that spans 10 countries and 37 cities while capturing more than 10,000 hours of footage.
The film is a lively narrative of the the highs and lows of Lecrae's career from house parties to sold-out stadiums.
There are also adrenaline filled concert clips, fan-created videos and interviews. And true-to-Lecrae's leadership style, the videos challenge audiences to rise up to live an unashamed life.
Hooker worked on the film with Reach Records and the leaders of the global 116 Clique. That includes: Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, Sho Baraka, KB, Derek Minor, and DJ Official.
"As we profile Lecrae and look who he is, one of the powerful things about leaders and the rise of leaders is uniqueness," Hooker told CBN News. "And the really unique thing about Lecrae is who else do you know that is named Lecrae."
Lecrae is a man of passion and creativity. Both of which are required to be an effective leader in the days of Billy Graham and today.