LOUISVILLE–Although T.C. Taylor’s vision is to reach people from urban culture, he doesn’t want New Breed Church labeled a “hip hop” congregation.
“We have a heart for people from that social context, but we don’t do rap on Sunday morning,” said the pastor of the new multi-ethnic church, which meets at the Academy at Shawnee in West Louisville.
“It’s more than music,” Taylor says of hip hop. “It’s dress and a way of looking at the world. Jay-Z, Kanye West and some of these rappers are the philosophers of our time and shape the way people see the world.”
Hip hop enthusiasts often stress money, dress and fame as life’s ideals. Taylor wants to raise up a different standard and proclaim, “No. This is how God wants us to live.”
Mentoring support from Curtis Woods of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Todd Robertson, lead pastor of Antioch Church, helped Taylor plant a new work. It meets in an area that is 79 percent African-American.
After eight months of worship for members of the core group, New Breed held its public launch service Jan. 19. It meets in a building housing Shawnee High School, an early-child education program, and an academy for new immigrants.
At the first service, Taylor surprised Woods with a generous check to the Cooperative Program. It represented a portion of the offerings the core group collected during 2013.
Noting that his protégé drew inspiration from another network, Woods said instead of being left on his own, Taylor can look to associational and state convention resources for guidance and moral support.
In return, the new church expands the number of intentionally multi-cultural congregations that represent one of the KBC’s primary goals.
“First and foremost it’s missiology,” Woods said of New Breed, which includes people of African-American, Anglo-American, Puerto Rican and Laotian backgrounds.
“It tears down walls culture has created. For Kentucky Baptists, it will be a conscious reminder that heaven will be multi-ethnic and all people will come together to worship one King and one Christ for His glory.”
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Taylor and his wife moved to Louisville so he could enroll at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Although he came to Kentucky with the idea of pastoring a traditional African-American church, Taylor changed his mind during a visit to Sojourn Community Church.
“I was rocked by all the young people,” Taylor recalled. “I thought, ‘This is what I want to see, but in an urban context.’”
Eventually, that led him to Antioch Church, another multi-ethnic church located in the south end of metro Louisville.
A former missionary with the North American Mission Board, Robertson planted it four years ago after local experience as an associational missions strategist and missions pastor. Years before, Roberson served as a church planter in Florida.
Robertson met with Taylor weekly for two years to help him prepare. Robertson said New Breed has a similar philosophy to Antioch, which includes half a dozen nationalities. Antioch recently planted a church for Bhutanese/Nepali immigrants who speak Nepali.
Not only are these new outreaches one way older congregations can see their legacy continue, Robertson said Kentucky Baptists need to appreciate that the gospel is bigger than human differences.
“That’s part of my reason for being engaged in a multi-ethnic church,” Robertson said.
“We often say the gospel is more powerful than anything, but then we sort of set aside race or ethnicity and say, ‘Except for that.’ But there’s a lot to learn on both sides when we’ll get around people who aren’t like us.”
New Breed has been averaging 50 to 60 in Sunday attendance. Its 30-plus members meet in three home-based “missional communities” throughout the week.
Taylor’s goal is to double attendance, membership and home group numbers by the end of 2014.
He also hopes to see more active community ministries. Last summer the church hosted a barbecue for the neighborhood and a monthly “poetry slam” that allowed singers, artists and others a venue to perform.
The pastor wants to serve as a model of a church that is both biblically-solid and culturally-relevant while inspiring others to plant urban congregations.
He will do so as a loyal Kentucky Baptist.
“I believe in the KBC and the Cooperative Program,” Taylor said. “I want to do anything I can to serve Southern Baptists. They’ve served me well.”