Lecrae Moore had no intention of attending Impact 98 and didn't even know what The Impact Movement was really all about.
As Christmas break approached, a Christian friend connected with the 19-year-old and told him about the event -- a rallying point for thousands of young African Americans across the nation seeking God and committed to serving Him.
The event would be taking place in Atlanta, Ga., which sealed the deal for Lecrae. But he had no idea what God had in store for him and how his life would change for eternity.
Lecrae says that his experience at Impact 98 ignited a fire inside of him.
"I saw all of these people hungry for the word of God and excited," he says. "Keynote speaker James White's message changed my life. It was at that point in time when I finally understood the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Outside the doors of the conference, he joined with other conferees during a day of outreach, hitting the streets of Atlanta and taking the message of God's love and forgiveness to whomever would hear.
"I didn't know but 2 things -- I once was blind and now I could see," he explains.
Impact 98 was a spiritual launching pad for Lecrae's new life as a believer. He returned to the University of North Texas, printed his testimony and passionately distributed it around campus.
He also pursued fellowship, accountability and discipleship with other men who could mentor him in his growing faith.
During the following years, Lecrae also uncovered a unique talent of his -- music through rap and rhyme -- a gift that God would soon use for His glory.
Today, Lecrae is a nationally-renowned Christian hip-hop artist and integral member of the cutting-edge Reach Records roster. He released his first album "Real Talk" at the age of 25, an innovative sophomore project "After The Music Stops," and a widely successful third album "Rebel." Lecrae claimed the No. 3 position on iTunes' Rap chart in 2008 with this latest album.
Using his musical drive, gift for rhyme and heart for ministry, Lecrae's desire is to lead others to Christ, with a passion to see their lives forever changed like his was at Impact 98.
The Impact Movement's rich history began in 1991 as a conference for African American college students. Conference founder Tom Fritz had the idea to host an event where Bible teachers would challenge conferees to live a life devoted to Christ.
The result: more than 500 African American students attended and their lives were significantly changed.
Subsequent national conferences followed, on a biennial basis. The most recent, Impact 2008, took place in Atlanta, Ga., with an attendance of more than 1300 students, young professionals, pastors, youth ministers, staff members and volunteers from around the nation.
In 1996, Impact, now a sister organization of Cru, incorporated a 'movement mentality' to reach beyond the walls of the national conference.
This placed a foundation for the ministry's current strategy that includes a world headquarters of more than 40 staff members in Orlando, Fla., a long-distance campus coaching focus for over 100 colleges, a developing community engagement focus nationwide and a world missions concentration, specifically on the continent of Africa.
Impact's unique mission is to take the truth of Jesus Christ to the campus, community and world by producing leaders of African descent who are spiritually focused, financially responsible and morally fit. This commitment illustrates a vibrant partnership with Cru, helping to build spiritual movements everywhere.
"I believe God wants to fuel this movement to achieve even more for His kingdom in the future than we have accomplished in the past," says Charles Gilmer, president of The Impact Movement. "Leaders with godly character committed to the truth of Jesus Christ who serve their community in a world context -- that is what this movement is all about."
Lecrae's story is one of thousands in The Impact Movement, where lives have collided with the gospel of Christ, have been changed for eternity and have been used by God to ignite spiritual fires for Him nationwide and throughout the world.
And this is only the beginning.
"Darnell J. Wilson climbed on a table and said, 'We are The Impact Movement. Who wants a free water bottle?' He started throwing bottles into the crowd. 'Surprisingly, people caught ‘em, but one person got hit in the head,' he said."
Why is it still so difficult for us to embrace and live out Dr. King's dream, even more than 45 years later?
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