In a society where Friday night life is associated with partying, clubbing and banqueting, Minister Thomas Brakeen Jr. offers an alternative for youth and young adults where said night is enjoyable without resorting to the ways of the secular world. The concept, “Keep It Real Fridays” offers a setting where youth and young adults can enjoy fellowship with brethren through song, dance, games and theatrical productions. Unlike most regularly scheduled fellowships, which are stationed at the home church, Brakeen is led to make the bi-weekly fellowship mobile to help expand its acclaim, as well as unite the Body of Christ. By having it at different churches in the Washington Metropolitan Area, Brakeen is performing hands-on marketing of what God purposed for his life. On Friday, January 15th, Philadelphia Community Baptist Church became Keep It Real Friday’s latest tour stop.
Brakeen opened with prayer and acknowledgements of everyone that played a part in making the evening’s event possible, which included the Pastor Norris Jones, founder and pastor of the host church; Lynura Jones, who served as the liaison between PCBC and Brakeen, the night’s scheduled performers and the congregants in attendance. Before going into the program, Brakeen presented to some in introduced to others to Keep It Real Fridays.
“God gave me the vision two and a half years ago”, said Brakeen. It started with only 10 regular supporters but attendance increased as time grew. From there, Brakeen went into an icebreaker where the audience was asked find a person who has all five vowels in his/her first, middle and last names. The next icebreaker asked for a television connoisseur to sing the entire “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song. Two people proved capable of fulfilling those challenges and walked away with a cash prize for their troubles.
At the conclusion of the icebreakers, Brakeen introduced the opening act for the evening, local youth group New Generation, worshipped through song with “Let Us Worship”, “I Will Worship”, “How Great Is Our God” and “I Worship You”.
Before going into the second act, Brakeen implored the viewing audience to redirect the energy used in rooting for sports teams or other means of entertainment towards praising God. He followed with a testimony on how thankful he was for God’s intervention in his life which resulted in the disposal of self ambitions.
The Greater Refuge Church of God in Christ Dance Team shortly followed with a step presentation. As if the choreography of the young men and one little lady wasn’t entertaining enough, Brakeen asked for the group to teach him a routine. While Brakeen couldn’t match the routine step for step, he was able to execute a Matrix, bullet dodging move which was part of their latest routine; so the mission was somewhat accomplished.
Next was the lyrical stylings of rapper New Jeruse, who opened with an a capella freestyle, encouraged us to “P.U.S.H.” (Pray Until Something Happens) and to go to “Sunday School”.
The evening detoured into a dramatic direction, thanks to the “The Missing Ingredient”, a skit courtesy of the Philadelphia Community Baptist Church Drama Ministry. It involves a young lady who grew up in the church allowing Satan so much leeway in her life; she rejected the voice of God, which landed her soul in eternal damnation.Following the skit, Dorothy Hoffman came forward to give an emotional account of losing a friend who took God’s grace and mercy for granted.
The evening was capped with benediction, offering and post-fellowship networking.