Amy Hagberg


Being a Christian recording artist is a tough gig.

I can’t even count how many of the high-profile Christian musicians I’ve interviewed over the last few years have told me they are struggling … struggling to find their voice, struggling to break through the clutter, and struggling to keep the faith. Far too many of them, even those with big names and Dove awards on the mantle, are struggling to make ends meet.

Because most of them are more concerned with ministry than money, they gladly trade the glitz and glam of the secular music business to share an eternal message. Unfortunately, they still pay the same price for gas to fuel their tour buses (usually several years old), they have mortgages, salaries, health insurance, and the same big-ticket fees to produce an album – but they don’t have the upside of big-ticket concert prices like the groups you see on MTV.

It shocked me yesterday when Mark Mohr, the lead vocalist for the award-winning Christian reggae group Christafari, admitted on my radio show, “God Unplugged” (www.blogtalkradio.com/god
..unplugged), that the band is at the end of its financial rope. That’s just wrong.

Mark Mohr and Christafari

When you think of Gospel music, reggae probably doesn’t jump to the top your mind. But for the last 20-plus years, trailblazer Mark Mohr’s band, Christafari, has been traversing the globe sharing the Gospel with their unique island-influenced music.

Raised in a Christian household, Mohr strayed from his faith…far away. He found himself in a world of drugs, alcohol, and a compromised moral lifestyle. He was put through chemical dependency treatment countless times, ran away and was picked up by the cops. Nothing worked... nothing that is, until he stopped fighting and relinquished control of his life to God.

He felt God impressing on his heart to start the first gospel reggae band in America. It would be a counter-cult, drug aversion ministry that used the conscious sounds of reggae to bring the lost into the Light. Now an ordained pastor, Mohr has brought Christafari’s unique brand of Gospel reggae to nearly every state and some 50 countries around the world. Mohr has been spotlighted on numerous television shows, including CNN Headline News, MTV News, TBN, BET, and The 700 Club. He’s also been featured in Billboard, CCM Magazine and The Beat. Christafari has performed at two Olympic Games and even played for the president of the United States.

Most Christian artists face challenges performing for mainstream audiences, but the pushback Christafari faces is often extreme… even deadly. Reggae fans are often Rastafarians. Rastafarianism is a religious movement, particularly among black Jamaicans, that employs the ritualistic use of marijuana, forbids the cutting of hair, and deifies Haile Selassie, who was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to
1974, as a god.

On yesterday’s show, Mark shared several examples of how the band has been targeted on their worldwide travels, but one incident was especially disturbing. “On the Reggae Sunsplash tour, the Rastafarians took issue with what I was preaching ... I took a stand against their god, Haile Selassie, and stated bluntly that he was a godly man, but not the returned Christ.

One Rastafarian artist didn’t like that too much and tried to stab me. As he lunged forward with the knife three times, I moved away with a clearly supernatural power. I know I can’t move like that! It was definitely God; there were probably angels grabbing me by the belt and physically pulling me away from my assailant.”

That just sounds like too much danger for this small-town girl, but it is a risk Mark and his band willing take to share the Gospel. “God chose me to have a ministry platform because I am not worthy to. In my own strength, I am the last person in the world that should be singing, much less pioneering the genre of Gospel reggae music. But that’s how God works – He chooses the most unlikely and undeserving messengers to proclaim His simple message…by no means do I deserve to be a voice in the reggae industry. You could find more raw talent in any 10-year-old Jamaican boy than in me. But I believe God chose me so He could receive all of the glory. And I pray that my life gives Him the glory He
deserves.”

Bottom line, friends, if you want to enjoy well-produced, high-quality inspirational music you need to support your favorite artists. Buy their albums (don’t pirate them from friends) and go to their concerts. More importantly, pray for them. It’s a battlefield out there.

~

If you’d like to hear my interview with Mark Mohr, visit my Internet radio show
GOD UNPLUGGED.  There are dozens of amazing interviews with recording artists, athletes, actors, and authors in the archives.

If you’d like to read Mark’s complete testimony, pick up a copy of my book, How Do You Know He’s Real: God Unplugged at your favorite store or online retailer, or order an autographed copy on my WEBSITE.

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