.- St. Francis of Assisi once said, âpreach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.â 27-year old Bob Lesnefskyâs motto isnât too far off. âPreach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use rap.â Until a few years ago, Lesnefsky, or âRighteous Bâ as he is better known today, was working as a youth minister in an inner city New York parish and having little success. âThey werenât responding to traditional ways of preaching the gospelâ, he says.
Thatâs when Lesnefsky decided to try something different. Heâd always enjoyed listening to hip-hop but said that the kids he worked with were âabsolutely saturated in it.â
âI wanted to enter into and fully understand their culture and so I just started listening to rap all the time.â
That when Righteous B was born. Late nights spent in his basement trying to lay down his first beats on admittedly âprimitive gearâ led to so much success with the kids that Lesnefsky decided to put out his first CD, Are you ready for Righteous B?
That has since led to a second CD, Get the Kids to Revolt, as well as concerts in venues around the country including the Steubenville High School Youth Conferences.
Lesnefskyâs influences include such varied individuals as Rich Mullins, LL Cool J and St. Maximilian Kolbe, who âused modern technology to preach the Gospel.â
His ministry is clearly working too. âThere are tons of cool lil stories about kids responding in awesome ways to the music.â He especially loves the stories of kids opening up âwho never responded to any kind of ministry experience before.â
In the same vein as St. Maximilian, who utilized the tools of modern culture to spread Christâs message, Lesnefsky is quick to point out that the influence of hip-hop music is everywhere, âfrom McDonalds commercials to mainstream rock.â
Prior to turning to hip-hop, he spent years in and out of bands as a Christian singer/songwriter but now, thinks that, âthe whole game is changing. Hip hop is at a different place and there are amazingly talented mc's all over the place [rapping] for the church.â
Although many associate rap and hip-hop with things like drugs and gangs, Lesnefsky is convinced that âpeople have had enough of that.â He is convinced that there are many incredibly talented Christian artists today who doing a big part to change that association.Talkinâ bout a revolution
Pope John Paul II has been speaking for years about a ânew springtimeâ for the Church â which Lesnefsky sees as a revolution. This ârevolutionâ against what the Pope calls the âculture of deathâ, he notes, âneeds to start with me. My heart needs to change.â
And at its heart, this is the message Righteous B is spreading to young peopleâto be a part of the spiritual revolution, the new springtime, that, he says the Church is âaching for.â
Although he now lives with his wife and three children in what he calls the âmean streets of suburban Houston,â Lesnefskyâs heart remains in the inner city.
One of his major ministry goals is the creation of a non-profit, aimed at trying to come up with effective ways to do ministry to urban teens. 10% of the proceeds of each of his records, in fact, goes to help inner city parishes.
âTo us,â Lesnefsky says, âlife is Christ; and ultimately, thatâs the fullness of everything we want to be about.â
More information can be found on-line at www.Righteousb.com