Lecrae On Movie ‘Journey to Bethlehem’ And Accountability As He Navigates Faith And His Career


Trailblazers are often misunderstood, but Lecrae has never been afraid to walk off the beaten path. As a Grammy-award-winning Christian rap music artist, New York Times bestselling author, and creator of the new podcast Deep End, his journey as a Believer continues to be unorthodox. However, Lecrae fully takes ownership of this paradox, and uses his own personal testimony as a vehicle to help others understand that it is God’s grace that qualifies us, and not ourselves. His music has agitated some traditional, religious groups. Yet, his style of Christian rap has swayed younger generations into pondering a bit longer about the gospel of Jesus. Lecrae’s music albums Church Clothes, volumes 1-4 have found a way to disperse the gospel in a manner that lends itself towards grace and transparency.

Never one to be afraid of taking positive risks, Lecrae eagerly accepted the opportunity to play the angel, Gabriel, in Sony Pictures’ Affirm Films and Monarch Media’s recently released Journey To Bethlehem, a Bible-based musical retelling of the Nativity story. Just in time for the Christmas holiday, Lecrae spoke with Essence about his role, how he holds himself accountable, and how he balances his faith and career as a Believer in the arts and entertainment industry. “This is the greatest story ever told, the birth of the Savior of the world. And, Gabriel has to deliver this message to Mary. So, I read a lot about Gabriel in the scriptures, and tried my best to bring some of that to life in this film. In real life, I have not seen an angel, but I’m a firm believer that angels do exist, and I know that they are mentioned all throughout scripture. And, I knew there was a majesticness to Gabriel, and I wanted to capture that.” 

While Christmas and the Nativity story have become synonymous with purchasing material things and consumption, for Lecrae the nativity story carries value, because it reminds him of the relatability of Jesus. “The fact that Jesus was born in less-than-ideal circumstances, and that He can relate to all of us. The fact that He would be God in the flesh, and make himself low and earthly, and be born into those circumstances [in a manger, and without a place to stay] that are not ideal, just shows that God still has a plan in the midst of struggle.” In this current culture of ‘followers’, Lecrae agrees that if you’re going to follow anyone, or seek someone’s validation, it should be Jesus.

Lecrae shares, “A lot of us are putting ourselves in a position to look for identity and purpose [on social media], and we tend to flaunt ourselves online to feel a sense of purpose. I think the nativity story, as it’s depicted in Journey To Bethlehem, is painting a picture that brings a better understanding that we don’t have to achieve purpose, but rather we receive purpose. And, Mary’s purpose was received. She didn’t have to earn that. God came to her and said, You’re wonderfully and fearfully made, and you’re going to birth the Savior of the world. And, if we’re going to follow anyone, let’s follow the person who gave us purpose in the first place, and that’s God himself.”

Lecrae On Latest Movie ‘Journey To Bethlehem’

Lecrae is not remiss to the fact that along with a platform comes responsibility. Yet, in our modern society and culture of crafting an online presence, church leadership coupled with accountability are not always necessarily the standard. However, he understands that having good people that you can trust around you is very important, as well as having trustworthy counsel to hold space for you, despite your success. When making business decisions in the arts and entertainment industry, he doesn’t try to do things alone. “I have good friends, and, of course, my pastor. I think it’s just necessary to know who you are and to know where you stand. You’re playing tug of war a lot of times [within the entertainment industry]. So, I always want to move in groups. I never want to be seen as a lone ranger. I’ve people surrounding me, praying for me, and walking through things with me. So, it’s never a solo mission. There wasn’t just Daniel. There was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and they had to walk through that fire together. I think that makes all the difference in the world.”

Accountability and genuine community are key when one desires to thrive in faith and grow. While on the set of Journey to Bethlehem, Lecrae shares that working with the director, Adam Anders, and his castmates was an amazing experience. The atmosphere was filled with faith, togetherness and fun. I hope that it’s a film that viewers find entertaining. It’s a musical, and it’s meant to have an entertainment value, and I feel that this film does that to the highest degree.The story, the acting, the dancing, and the music are so good. It just blows people away.” While it’s always a good time to revisit the birth of Jesus and the Nativity story, for those who celebrate Christmas, Journey to Bethlehem is a light-hearted, contemporary musical that the entire family will enjoy.

Watch Journey To Bethlehem on Amazon Prime now.


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