RAISING UP URBAN MISSIONARIES THAT TRANSFORM CITIES THROUGH HIP HOP, LOVE AND JESUS.

Inner City Mission Trip from Abigail’s Eyes:

When I came from Highlands, NC to work with the homeless it changed my life! Highlands is a small community where everyone knows everyone, but when I came to Atlanta it was so different. I thought that there were going to be at least 50 homeless people, but that certainly wasn’t the case, there were hundreds! I learned that God is the only thing we have in this life and that He never leaves up. His love was so comforting to me while I was with Citytakers at Safehouse because my friends and I would walk up to someone and go, “Hi, I’m Abigail, how are you?” it was scary, but I loved it! God’s love is everlasting!! This verse helped me throughout the week:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand. – Iasiah 41:10

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DJ Radikal

Born and raised in Brooklyn (Flatbush), New York, DJ Radikal developed a passion for the 1’s and 2’s at the age of five. He watched many family members on the turntables and studied DJs at block parties, events, and in videos. When he saw DJ Jazzy Jeffand DJ Nabs in action, his life changed forever and his desire to learn the arts of scratching and turntablism was etched in stone. He couldn’t afford professional turntables, so he pieced together old decks and taped coins to the headshells so he could learn how to scratch. When his parents saw this relentless passion, they both invested in his dream—his mother bought him his first equipment cart (which he still has) and his father bought him his first Technics 1200 MK2 turntable (which he keeps stored).

Armed with new equipment, Radikal went on to DJ countless secular events but something was missing. Even though his brothers, uncle, Godfather and cousins introduced the DJ art form to him, it wasn’t until he gave his life to Christ that “DJ Radikal” was born, receiving his name because of his “radical” love for the KINGdom.He connected with his long-time friend, Pastor Michael Turner, who welcomed Radikal’s love for Hip Hop and offered him a platform to share his gift during youth church and service in the main sanctuary! He started DJing for major church conferences, youth services and in pulpits around the world. He connected with his brother and friend, DJ Lace (RIP) with the Higher Ground Record Pool where he was introduced to an organization of DJs who played great gospel music and served as the Vice President of the Atlanta chapter. Along with Higher Ground came an introduction to the One Accord DJ Alliance, a massive brotherhood founded to serve as a fellowship of music professionals. Radikal also became a powerful force within the Go Ye DJs team, who are founded on the principle of going into the world and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ through music.

Putting the words of Psalm 86:12 into action (“I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy name for evermore”), Radikal is known for running, leaping from the stage, jumping up-and-down while scratching, and praising with vinyl records held high in the air during many of his concerts and live performances. Many don’t know his story and WHY he acts so insanely radical. Some may even wonder, “Does it take all of that to praise God?” At the age of two, while staying with a relative, Radikal drank Oil Of Wintergreen, a type of rubbing alcohol. He was rushed to the hospital and given a death prognosis. While at the hospital, his mother saw an angel, and she knew her child (Radikal) would be just fine. While in the Intensive Care Unit, DJ Radikal started moving his foot to the beat of music distantly playing in the background. And just like Radikal cuts and scratches records, Jesus cut death’s design!

After more dialogue with Radikal, we found out while still in his teens, he was held at gun point twice. During one of the incidents, the assailant pushed the gun into Radikal’s stomach! Jesus protected him from several near head-on car collisions and healed his soul from all of the missteps encountered on the streets of Brooklyn. For these reasons and more, Radikal states, “I will radically praise God on high forever more … until my last breath!”

Radikal lives by one basic principle: love God … love people. He ensures he takes time to teach the art form of DJing after many of his shows. He is passionate about mentoring youth and making a positive impact on the community. This passion for community led Radikal and his wife to found the Vision Tutoring Educational Foundation, which offers free tutorial services to those in need. His unselfish willingness to freely share this passion has created a platform of opportunities throughout his DJ career. He’s rocked the stage with gospel greats around the world. Radikal doesn’t mention much about his performance background, but he’s an international DJ who has shared his musical gift in Africa and Europe. In fact, he was the first American DJ to provide DJ services in Kibera, Africa during a mission trip in 2014. He was also the first resident DJ for the Stir It Up TV Show, appeared in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 U.S. Olympics, founded Radikal Entertainment and the Radikal DJ Academy, and co-owns the XRP DJ Music Group, the XRP Record Pool, and Pep Rally 66. He is also the first resident DJ for City Takers and the City Takers Radio Show on Victory 91.5. He has faithfully served with the City Takers team since 2010! His love for City Takers is clearly evident and he shares this love every time he volunteers at the Safe House, during prison ministry or any of the community outreaches. In fact, Radikal states that he is a “City Taker For Life!”

His goal is to exemplify Jesus Christ and to be different every time he steps behind the Technic 1200s to rock on the 1’s and 2’s. His drive is fueled by support from his wife, Di Yonna, his daughter, Amani, and a strong family system. This strong family foundation ignited one of his personal trademarks: “God First, Family Then DJing.”

So now that you know a bit more about Radikal, when you hear any of his signature phrases, “Let’s Do It Big For The KINGdom!”, “U KNOW!!!”, “SaLLLute!”, “Spinnin’ The Good News On the 1’s and 2’s!” or “Go Ye!”, it’s time to display your best DJ Radikal pose (trademarked) with your hands out (as illustrated) and “Make It Radikal!”

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CityTakers Experience – Annual Dance Battle Re-cap

The CityTakers Experience is meant to “draw the city” through love and hip-hop with the heart of Jesus. On Nov 18th, we hosted a dance event that brought together the community and showcased some of the best dancers and crews in Atlanta. The talent in the building was incredible.

We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and show of unity. We hope to continue to build with the breaking and all-style dancers of Atlanta showing them the love and acceptance of Jesus. This is an annual event and we can’t wait to see what the City Takers Jam grows to in 2017!

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Andy Joins the Movement

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I grew up in the church, was raised in a middle class family and was baptized at a young age. Within 6 years of my baptism I was experimenting with drugs and slowly giving my life over to the world and its current leader. By the Age of 17 I was kicked out of my school in the suburbs, fled the scene of a crime that happened at that school and landed in the local trap located near the area that I grew up in.

That very same day I was supposed to purchase my first .38 caliber handgun and invest in some drugs with the intent on turning a profit. I was right where I needed to be make this purchase a success. It turned out that the guy I was going to meet could not complete the sale because he had used that very same weapon on someone and was fleeing the police. I believe this was one of God’s first great attempts to intervene in my life.

I went from wanting to run away from home to running home real quick. You would have thought it would have all ended here but unfortunately, that is not the case. My life continued in vicious roller coaster motion (full of ups and downs) for the next 9 years. I’d get cleaned up for a while,  then convince myself that “I could do it right this time” and the cycle would start all over again.  

The last two years of this time is where I experienced the darkest moments of my life. I was completely hooked on some heavy drugs and was getting arrested about once every 3 months or so.  To make matters worse, I had taken hostages; I was now married with 3 kids and was putting them through all kinds of emotional torment.

In spring of 2008 I was arrested and God laid the groundwork for a series of miracles to occur in my life. This path led me out the doors of jail, to rehab, then on into the rooms of recovery, and eventually back to the church. It was August of 2008 when I went forward and re-dedicated my life to Jesus Christ before a congregation. This was a trip because I had previously sworn that I would never sit amongst Christians inside a church building again. Since that time, I have utilized the philosophy of “you can’t keep it unless you give it a way,” as a way to plug into all kinds of avenues of service towards God’s Kingdom.

I served my family, the recovery community, the Church, the homeless and eventually found that I really enjoy serving the incarcerated. For the first time in my Christian walk, I was serving out of gratitude towards God and what He had done in my life, as opposed to serving out of a fear of going to hell or an attempt to earn God’s love (a misunderstanding that I am afraid that many deal with when they join a church and start serving).

In the midst of much Spiritual growth I re-discovered Christian Hip Hop and was so thankful that I could listen to the genre of music that I loved the most once again without compromising my newfound beliefs. In fact, I attribute a lot of my growth and direction to the Many MC’s of Christian Hip-hop and the Gospel message they share.

Needless to say, when I stumbled across the City Takers Radio show I was floored. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this on a local Christian radio station. I went to a few concerts where the CityTakers were spreading the word about their “ministry” and I second guessed it. “It seems everyone is calling themselves a ministry these days,” I thought. Scott Free put a flyer in my hand and I told him how much I appreciated the show and that was that. One day, while looking for DJ Radikal’s playlist from a show I found myself looking on their website. Conviction Set in, I soon realized how wrong I was and how much of a ministry CityTakers truly is.

My Conviction soon turned into excitement when I saw all the many facets of service I could plug into with CityTakers. I was especially excited to see that they were involved in local jails and prisons. I ended up filling out the volunteer portion under the “Love a City” Page on their website and I remember practically writing an essay  under where it asks “Explain your interest in serving with City Takers.” My first Service event with City Takers was with their yearly “Warm Atlanta” campaign. I was impressed to see that among the many that were volunteering, there were a few talented hip-hop artists serving right alongside us (what a great way to stay humble).

Since then, my family and I frequently serve meals down at Safe House Outreach and enjoy plugging in throughout the various seasonal ministry opportunities. I have also been asked to take on the role of CityTakers Corrections Coordinator for the Men and I am amazed at what God has done with me once I partnered up with this wonderful extension of His Church. One of the most monumental experiences I have ever had was in Central State Prison with Scott, Tami, and the rest of the City Takers crew.

I witnessed over 30 incarcerated men getting baptised after a service we were invited to lead. I was even invited to get wet and do some of the dunking myself. While this one stays at the forefront of my mind, there are many many more experiences I can not list with the allotted amount of space.

I just know that the prayers and confessions offered to God at City Takers events are innumerable and have been a starting point for so many who normally would not step foot beyond a doorway of a traditional church. I also know that this is only a beginning for these individuals. With its more than able team and many service opportunities, City Takers offers a brand of discipleship like no other.

 

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Loving Our City Through Serving Others

How does CityTakers show LOVE? We LOVE a city by serving and having a consistent presence in the streets, jails, shelters, and urban communities in our cities passionately bringing a message of hope to the hopeless and hurting. One of the ways that we do this is through a homeless outreach at Safe House every 4th Monday of the month.

Check out this video to see how the Gospel unfolded at our most recent service opportunity at Safe House.

Join our team in loving the city by providing meals and a service for the homeless on the 4th Monday of this and every month .  No RSVP needed! Show up! Located at 89 Ellis St. Atlanta, GA 30303. Please arrive by 6:30pm.

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
1 Chronicles 29:14

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