Trip Lee Shares Stories in Chapel
A packed out Conn Center listens intently as Trip Lee leads chapel on Sept. 15. Born William Lee Barefield III, he is a hip-hop artist turned pastor from Dallas. Lee engages students through his smooth, spoken-word like voice as he delivers a timely message in the form of a story from Ephesians chapter two.
After releasing five albums and two books, it is safe to say that Lee has had a successful rap career. However, he recently made a transition from the hip-hop industry and now serves as a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Atlanta.
Lee, who frequently travels to minister, has a special place in his heart for storytelling.
“I get the opportunity to use my life, music, writing, and speaking all to do what I think is the greatest thing in all of the universe, which is being a part of telling the story about Jesus,” Lee said. “Stories are an important part of our life and they always have been...they are a part of what we do.”
Much of the message Lee preaches revolves around the idea of telling the gospel through storytelling. It is important for him to use the art of storytelling to be relatable and relational.
Throughout his career Lee has learned that doing work with the purpose of glorifying God can be incredibly challenging but absolutely necessary.
“I can’t make decisions about what I’ll do based on how people will respond; how much people will like me. It’s really easy to fall into that trap [of doing things to please others] and doing things that have me on the stage in front of people can make that more difficult. To fight that takes a lot of very intentional intention. I have to put things in place to remind myself…that at the end of the day my glory is not very important, but God’s is eternally important.”
Along with staying grounded in his ministries, Lee constantly makes an effort to find the right balance between work and family.
“[Finding the right balance] is something I’m always tweaking a little. The hardest part is that I have to travel a lot. [Now, with a family,] I do a lot less events than I used to so I can be home a lot. There’s something [that needs balance] in every season of life…for me it’s just reevaluating how I spend my time.”
Through years of making music, Lee has learned that the growing never stops. In fact, when it comes to his musical influences, Lee has an interesting way of looking at who and what inspires him.
“It can be different people in different seasons. I try to posture myself as a learner just in general. Anytime I see anybody just do what they do great, it inspires me because there are things I can learn from people. Stevie Wonder’s not a rapper but I’ve learned a lot from [him] in terms of music like how to convey particular emotions, how to connect with people in certain ways and with song structures and arrangements. I try to purposefully have a wide range of influences so that I can be as good as I can be at the stuff I do.”
As Lee continues to grow from the wisdom of others, he reflects on his calling and what the faithfulness of that calling looks like.
“All of us have to figure out what it looks like for us to be faithful with the gifts, opportunities and desires that God has given us. When I think calling, that’s what I mainly think about is a desire, ability and opportunities. When I think about my life I have to think about the stuff I can learn from others, obviously, but I have to think about how can I be faithful with my set of gifts and opportunities and desires,” said Lee.
After the release of his last album and book, both titled Rise, Lee wants to encourage people to follow Jesus now and glorify Him in all things.
“I got saved when I was fourteen years old and it’s hard to be a Christian at any age but especially while we’re young, so that whole book was aimed to help us think about what it looks like to follow Jesus while we’re young,” Lee said. “I want to encourage people to live for Jesus now.”