In today’s world of technology and new modes of mass media, it can be hard to engage young people without embracing new channels of communication. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and iTunes are examples of this new paradigm shift that has allowed people, especially young people, the ability to share their ideas or receive others at the click of a button.
Two young men, Bryan and Caleb from Minnesota found a way to reach their friends, other young adults and teenagers with the truth of the Bible in a very unconventional way. Bryan explains, “Well, my buddy and I took a theology class during a weeknight at church and someone who was in our class played some of these sermon jams for us and we were instantly hooked. We loved them. We began producing some ourselves and decided to throw a few up on a self-made website.” According to Bryan, “Sermon Jams were two to three minute sermon clips mixed over hip-hop tracts.”
Bryan and Caleb had a vision to reach young people with the truth of God’s Word in a way that was relevant to them. They took a step of faith and 10:31 Sermon Jams, LLC was born.
Initially they started out by passing sermon jam tracts out on college campuses and it generated some positive results. Bryan said, “One day a fairly large nationally-known talk radio show invited us on air to discuss sermon jams. The host played one of our clips and discussed how his audience could get in contact with us. He even posted it on the radio station’s blog site and our Life exploded over night. Our website went from three to four hits a day to over 900 – the increased traffic caused our website to crash.”
In my phone interview with Bryan, I learned a lot about the Life and their heart to see people begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, just like they discovered. Here is what Bryan had to say:
Good News: What happened to 10:31 Sermon Jams after you were featured on the talk radio show that caused your Life to explode?
Bryan: In 2009, we partnered with Desiring God, a teaching Life of John Piper, and put out an album called “Don’t Waste Your Life: Sermon Jam”. This album would then be distributed to Reach Records so they could hand it out on their “Don’t Waste Your Life” summer tour. Reach Records handed out thousands of tracts at various concerts.
GN: How do you get permission from Pastors to use their sermons?
Bryan: We pursue them either personally or receive permission from someone within each of their ministries.
GN: How do people hear about your Life ?
Bryan: People hear about our Life through blogs, word of mouth and people passing out cd’s at various events.
GN: Where do you see this Life going in the future?
Bryan: As of right now, I do not know that either of us have a clear vision of where the Life might be going from here. We would hope to one day transition from a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to a Non-Profit Life and begin fundraising more efficiently. Our desire is to reach out more to larger masses such as churches, youth groups, concerts and other various outreach events. We may possibly work for this Life on a part time basis in the future so that we would be able to invest more time into expanding and enhancing it. Wherever the Lord tells us to go or do. We may partner with other ministries as we did with Desiring God.
GN: How are you funded?
Bryan: We are funded through donations and product sales.
GN: Who makes the hip-hop beats for the tracts?
Bryan: Well, we used to use royalty-free loops and mix them together and we also used tracks from a Christian brother in Texas. Now, we make them ourselves and we have a friend that we are really close with that makes them too.
GN: If someone is a DJ and wants to send you a sample of his or her work, can he or she email you clips?
Bryan: Fore sure – Send the sample clip to email@example.com
GN: What is your musical background?
Bryan: Neither of us have long backgrounds in music of any real substance before beginning the Life . I was involved with band for a little as I was growing up and had some piano lessons when I was a kid. We have mainly come to our current musical knowledge through the Lord’s grace and mercy. We believe that this is one of the main evidences of the Lord’s grace upon the Life .
GN: How did you come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
Bryan: I grew up going to church and knew a lot about God, but never made a decision to let Him come into my life and save me from my sin. At the age of 17 a conviction from God came upon me and I realized I was a sinner. I knew I was in sin and away from God. So, I turned to the Lord from being enslaved to dark passions and gave my life to Christ. I then started attending a bible study and a pastor began meeting with me regularly to help me grow in my walk with God.
Caleb had been attending the same church as me and one day he called me up and wanted to go to dinner. He was 16 or 17 years old at the time. While we ate, Caleb shared how he was not walking with God. I took the opportunity to share the gospel with him and he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.
GN: What does 10:31 stand for in the name of your Life 10:31 Sermon Jams?
Bryan: 10:31 comes from the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 10:31, which states, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We believe we should do everything to glorify God.
To learn more about 10:31 Sermon Jams or to make a donation, please visit: www.1031sermonjams.com.