CTI 14:21 2015-2016
Birthday: February 24th, 1990
Hometown: Youngstown, OH
Favorite Bible Passage: Proverbs 18:16
Influential Music: Tim Carpenter, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jesus Culture
Favorite Book: The Alchemist
Favorite Hobby/Pastime: Watching Movies
Favorite Movie: White Chicks, Jumanji
Previous Life Work: Supervisor at Entertainment Company
Bradley came from a musical family full of faith. While he grew up in Ohio, he attended Columbia College Chicago where he studied Arts Management. The relocation to Chicago opened the door for him to sing background vocals for some amazing artists! He’s really looking forward to this next year!
Bradley’s Blog Posts
It’s been a bittersweet reality that our time as a team is quickly coming to an end. So many lessons, ministry opportunities, amazing people and places have come and gone. From the prairies of Iowa, to the mountains of Colorado and Montana, to the beautiful views of Highway 1, the Pacific Ocean, great food in San Francisco; we’re now in the Midwest. The greatness about all of these beautiful places is that they are all a part of the USA. Just like the many different people and cultures that are apart of this world and this team we are all apart of the body of Christ.
We have been told so many times that we are the most diverse CTI team ever. Yes – physically, we can see this but also we come from different parts of this country and all have had very different experiences. Matthew brought up this fact, in one of our team meetings, and suggested that we should begin to explore those differences. I’m so glad that we took the time to do so. To be quite frank, I think this team and whole experience would have been a failure if we didn’t recognize, ask, seek to understand and love our differences.
As believers, how can we answer the call to go if we aren’t willing to learn about the different communities, races, economic systems, cultures or all the “isms” we are trying to minister too. We would have a greater reaction if we took the time to have those hard conversations we all dread. If Christ didn’t want us to seek and understand each other he would have made us all the same. We are all made in his image maybe seeking to understand each other is ultimately learning to understand Him even more. We don’t get to pick who will be in heaven with us. In the same way, we didn’t get to pick who was a part of this team, but we have learned so much this year about each other and ultimately it will help us be able to better serve the people we will come in contact with in the future. We as a church will be better instruments of Christ if we understand and acknowledge that these are difference make us unique.
We have made it to Washington and just left Montana! Our host have been so amazing! The views have been absolutely breathtaking.
I wasn’t sure what to write about in this blog but God has been slowly revealing what it means to have identity in Him. I recently shared these following thoughts on my personal blog and I think it is something that we could all be challenged by.
One thing I don’t understand is, why society tries to put everybody into a box.
I’m a Christian (box), I’m black (box), I’m a male (box), I’m a black male in the United States (yes that’s a totally different box), I’m a performer (box) – and there are probably 15+ more boxes that belong to the name Bradley J. Banks. Even more that I can place myself in, more from my friends and family and even more from my enemies.
Often times I’m afraid to face or even step into my destiny because I’m afraid of the boxes that people will start trapping and labeling me with. I believe that once I’m put into a box I won’t be able to get out or even put myself into them to feel more secure.
Isn’t that what life is supposed to be? You pick your box, live, get comfortable, settle down, and expect to be happy in your box.
Even in my faith I put God in a box – with what He can and cannot do.
This manifests in ways like when I think that He’s not going to provide, that He’s not going to be my shelter, or that He’s not there when I need Him. Quite honestly, that is a sin we are all guilty of. Even though I know He is calling me to do great things, the truth is, I’m afraid. I’ve allowed fear to let me down time and time again.
If it was up to me I would go pick out the best, brightness, biggest box that I could buy and be content for the rest of my life but that’s not what I’ve been called for. That’s not what makes my heart beat faster. That’s not the life that I’m intended to live. I cannot continue to let people cultivate my life and experiences. Comfort is nice but serving the Lord can be quite uncomfortable at times.
God says this in John 15:16. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
I challenge y’all as we are encouraged to unpack our boxes as a team that you will think about ways you continually put God into a box. I encourage you to unpack and allow God to do work in your life. He wants to use us all we just have to be willing to answer when He calls.
What are you doing after this?
This is the question we get most often and probably our most dreaded. With winter tour coming to an end this is a question we all should be asking ourselves. Before coming to CTI I had my life planned out and was definitely on the path to achieving my goals. Was working a pretty comfortable job and very exciting lifestyle but the truth is there was no substance. I was allowing my image to be shaped by my career and personal goals. We know that we can only find our true identity in Christ (Colossians 3:1-3).
It wasn’t until I completely let go of my plans and my selfish will, that I became fully excepting of the fact that God plan and my own don’t actually line up (Isaiah 55:8-9).
After sharing with people that I would like to move into full time ministry after this I have gotten a lot of encouraging words but also people who have their own opinions on choosing that lifestyle. Many say “there’s no money in ministry” “everything you find will be volunteer”. I have been thinking about the sad but true reality.
David, Sam and I had a conversation about this in which I shared my reserves in responding to what I know Christ is calling me to do. How will I pay bills, put food on my table, put clothes on my back. Sam reminded me that I haven’t done any of that on my own and that strength only comes from God. I was reminded of Philippines 4:12-13
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I have already experienced hard times in my life. I learned how to only rely on Christ and Christ alone. Im not sure what is next for me, but I believe God and I won’t allow others to shape what that looks like for I know all things are working for my good because God is so intentional.
Arizona has been treating us well! Yesterday we performed at the Joyfull Cafe! And I tell you it was definitely the right name for the venue. The people were so wonderful and so full of joy. When were first arrived our contacts met Keilah at the front door; this was very inviting to us.. and then we got to set up and perform outside! It was awesome! I absolutely love open air shows they are so freeing. It really makes you reflect on how great and marvelous God is in all his wonder. I also love doing acoustic sets as they allow us to do some really fun things with our rep.
After one of our sets we got to meet one of our brothers in Christ, Ray. He was crying because he had a rough day but all I heard was his spirit calling for a deliverer. There are so many people in life who are yearning for something greater. So many people who don’t have the will or the power to conquer sin on their on. So many are crying for help. Christ is there, waiting. If we are silent how will those lost souls ever know? God used David and one of the employees to speak into Rays life and we also gave him a gift as a team! We are called to share this was a great reminder for us. I personally am so excited because I know God is going to use Ray in the future for some awesome kingdom building.
Thank Arizona for all the great weather, awesome people and superb food, especially In-N-Out, and our host, the Grifith family, for the awesome venison treats for us first timers (Matthew and I).
One of my favorite childhood books is “Oh The Places You’ll go!” by Dr. Seuss. Although he was a master mind and was very meticulous with his way of words. He also was such a powerful instrument in the development in children and adults. I was read this book recently and I was just amazed at how relevant it is in my current walk. I began to think about the biblical references could tie along with the message of this book, I stumbled upon a few. Ee cannot do anything or be able to answer the Call to go if we don’t allow him to direct our paths.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. “
Psalms 119: 105 your word is a lamp to my feet to light to my path.
“Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest”
Psalms 149:4 For the lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory
“Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. “The waiting place”
Psalms 27:4 Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strength thine heart: wait, I say on the lord.
We have to answer the call to go. There are so many people who are broken and are looking for Christ, don’t know who he is or what it looks like to follow him. I have to make the decision daily to go. In order to go we need to allow Christ to take the lead in our lives; he will take us to where he sees fit, in his time. We have had the opportunity to go to some really awesome places, meet just the most amazing people, and I’m so humbled that God chose me this year all because I chose to answer the call to go. Who knows where you are being called, I encourage you to answer. If you haven’t already or haven’t read this book in a while I challenge you to read it.
“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”
“Oh the Places you’ll Go!”