This new monthly feature will give you the inside scoop on our events from backstage passes to interviews with our speakers, here’s what happens In Any Event.
If you’ve been to one of our recent Abundance events, you’ve likely heard from Jackie Hill Perry. And you’ve likely been helped and challenged by her wisdom, vulnerability, and the way she can most certainly turn a phrase. (You may also recognize Jackie as a contributing panelist in the video teaching sessions of our Christ-Centered Parenting Bible study.) Many of you have asked to know more about her. So, pull up a chair and get to know Jackie Hill Perry a little better.
A Christian Jill of all trades, Jackie is a speaker, teacher, rapper, spoken word artist, and writer, among other things. As she humbly puts it: “It all kind of just revolves around words.”
Once active in a homosexual lifestyle and grappling with gender confusion, Jackie came to faith in Christ at the age of nineteen. After her conversion, her heart and actions began to change as she grew to know Christ more deeply and the Holy Spirit did His work of sanctification. To listen to more of Jackie’s testimony, click here. While Jackie’s conversion story is certainly one of miraculous grace and joy, it was just the beginning. Since acknowledging Christ’s lordship in her life, Jackie has been using the unique gifts and experiences that He has given her to serve His saints and bring Him great glory.
Next up, a new rap album.
Following her last release, The Art of Joy, in 2014, Crescendo will drop in January of 2018. According to Jackie, the idea behind the album lies in the name: “This vein of Crescendo is growing in height when it comes to sound. When I grow in faith towards God and I grow in love towards God, my fruit gets really loud. I love better, I’m more patient, I’m more kind, I’m more gentle, I practice more self-control, all the fruit of the spirit begins to bleed out of me. I wanted to make an album kind of centered around this idea: Let’s keep going; let’s not be satisfied with the growth that we have now. You love. But, love more. You serve. But, serve more.”
Jackie is also putting the finishing touches on her first book, due to release in Summer 2018. Jackie hopes this memoir will serve as a valuable resource.
She says, “When I was coming out of lesbianism and just out of sin period, I wished I had a resource. I know memoirs are helpful. But, there’s only so much that I can learn by learning about you.” To combat that issue, Jackie includes scriptural helps and biblical teaching to guide the reader along, “I’m telling the story of my conversion, while also going to Romans to talk about what is conversion. What actually is repentance, what happens in the new birth, what is it to be filled with the Holy Spirit and what does that look like when we’re walking that out with Jesus. I tried to show my story but also use these moments to teach so that it’s an actual resource for people who are either in the LBGTQ community and want to come out or those who are walking alongside them.”
But let’s backtrack a bit to her spoken word art. For those of us who may not be very familiar with this art form, Jackie defines spoken word as “poetry that’s performed,” drawing a clear distinction between reading poetry and performing poetry. Jackie says that she pursued spoken word art because, “Poetry really is able to go into places that a sermon can’t. I saw it as a ministry opportunity. [With] a sermon, [the] guard is up. [But with] a poem, you assume you’re going to be entertained, not ministered to.” Jackie says that even from her early days in spoken word performance, she saw God providing fruit. Early on, she posted several performances online and received lots of “feedback from people who [didn’t] go to church who were just kind of anti-God who were now wanting Jesus from seeing a poem.” But, she’s not finished yet.
“As I started to develop teaching gifts, [I saw] that a lot of my poetry was me showing my spiritual gift of teaching. When I started to teach more and learn how to study the Bible rightly and apply it to myself and encourage other people with it, that’s kind of where my heart started to bend. That just felt more fruitful to me, to open up a Bible and talk about it. Poetry is fruitful but there’s just something different when you open up the Scriptures with somebody.” We couldn’t agree more. At Abundance, you’ll get to see Jackie exercise both of those gifts through teaching time and spoken word performance. And we believe you’ll be blessed by both.
Jackie says she enjoys partnering with Lifeway Women at Abundance events because of the women that it allows her to spend time with. She says she is ministered to and ministers to others in a unique way at Abundance that she’s not experienced in her other spheres of influence.
When asked what God’s been teaching her lately, Jackie referenced Luke 17:5-6. She says, “It’s encouraging enough to know that it really isn’t even the amount of faith that I have, per se, it’s who the faith is in. Cause it’s not me moving the mountain or me moving the tree, it’s God. And so, if I have just enough faith to believe that He really is all that He says that He is, then I really can do the impossible, and not the impossible in a worldly sense, but the impossible like love my enemies. The impossible like say no to the flesh. The impossible like be patient when my daughter’s acting a crazy fool. Those are impossible things cause I need the Spirit to do that.”
I think we’d all agree that we need the Holy Spirit in our lives in quite the same way. To do the impossible in our everyday moments when we can’t do it alone.
When she’s not working, writing, or touring, Jackie enjoys time with family—her husband, Preston, and daughter, Eden, an adorable two-and-a-half year old. When asked what she’s into right now, Jackie says she really likes one-pot meals because they make meal prep easier when she’s on tour, and she’s very into the show This Is Us. (Aren’t we all? Pass the tissues.) Speaking of meal prep, you’re definitely going to want to check out JHP Kitchen (@jhpkitchen), an Instagram account on which Jackie posts fresh, healthy recipes that she makes for her family.
To join us for our next Abundance event, visit www.LifeWay.com/Abundance.