We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Rains and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
That it isn’t all about me. Even if it is my vision, there are still those called/equipped to help in that vision or endeavor and they matter just as much. I’ve come to a place, either because of age or just making a ton of mistakes, where I realize that I am just a piece in the big picture. I’m just one puzzle piece, and every opportunity I have where I can help the other pieces of the puzzle shine through or be see, I need to take those as they are presented and help bring them up and into the light with me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
C O L L A B O R A T I O N … Don’t get me wrong, I like having my time to shine sometimes, but things are just better and sweeter when done in community with others. It can be bigger and better when it isn’t just you. My heart lies heavily in the area of racial reconciliation, especially within the church world. There is just SO MUCH WORK to be done. Hundreds of years of hate, shame, and pain. My specific giftings are centered in the worship world or aspect of the work. I do a lot of events and activities that have me reaching out. But, it is the kind of work that is worth it. Part of my motivation comes from the fact that my family’s history, unfortunately, lies on the wrong side of history when it comes to the issue of race or ethnicity. At a young age, I discovered the ugly truth that I had a great grandfather who was a part of the KKK. I have never forgotten the day I found that awful hood in my family’s old cedar chest. That evil perpetrated motivates me. Such egregious evil requires a lifetime or more worth of work, light, and love to overcome the impact left behind. Through my work with organizations like Threaded, Project Unity, and UNION Young Adults, I get the opportunity to help in the work of setting things right, specifically in the Church. With Threaded I work as a producer of annual events such as COME.Unity, a multi-church, multi-ethnic, multi-denomination event that brings together extremely diverse backgrounds and pasts for an evening centered around creating relationships, reconciliation, and collaborative action in our communities. Through Project Unity’s, Together We Sing initiative, I again get to help bring together diverse voices from all over the DFW both in the Church, Jewish, and Muslim communities. We have the opportunity each year to bring the message of reconciliation to the annual Night of Gospel and Inspiration at the State Fair of Texas. UNION Young Adults allows me the opportunity to lead a diverse group of young people from different church backgrounds in weekly worship services where our focus isn’t on what divides us, but rather on WHO unites us. What unites us, as a people, is stronger than what divides us. It is up to us who believe that to keep preaching, teaching, and SHOWING that message. Will it be easy… NO, absolutely not. The work of reconciliation isn’t for the weak-hearted, but it can take the weak-hearted and turn them into compassionate-hearted individuals and from individuals to communities. Listen, If I can do, so can YOU!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love little hidden spots all over the DFW, but one of my favorites is a little spot in Richardson, TX. Communion Neighborhood Coop. It’s THE coolest spot. Restaurant, Bar, Coffee shop, Cooperative Workspace, Event venue AND they have a barbershop! I LOVE this spot so much. Their food is awesome, the coffee is legit, one of the coolest and comfiest places to get some work done, and their owners and employees are just second to none. They are truly incredible. Their hearts for their employees and community showed bright during this Pandemic. While restaurants and companies were having to shut their doors because of quarantine, Tim and Amy Kahle along with some key staff, mapped out a plan to keep their employees paid and serve the needy in their community. Friends, it was truly incredible what they were able to do. They changed their entire menu to family-style because people were going to be doing A LOT of eating at home now and as people purchased family meals, Communion began to give away family meals to those who had lost their jobs and couldn’t buy groceries, as well as serving our front line workers. Yes, like everyone else things got hard for Communion too and they had up and downtimes, but they pushed through and made the impact on their employees as small as it could be. If there was ever a business to support, it’s the ones like Communion Neighborhood Cooperative who strive to put people first above profits.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to those who have recognized the potential in me over the years and help shape that potential into power and purpose. Two such individuals are my friends and brothers, Antwuan Malone and Markus Lloyd. These men are simply incredible. They are thought leaders in a time where other leaders seem to have lost their minds. They have both given me a place to more fully express the giftings that reside within me. Markus, with his organization, Threaded, has continued to give me space and opportunity to learn the beauty and necessity of having hard conversations that matter and how I can play a part in racial reconciliation. Antwuan saw the worship leader in me and has given me the room to grow as a leader, singer, musician, and servant. These men are shining examples of what great leaders can be. They love and serve their families and their communities with everything that they have even when they are encouraged to be quiet and sit at the back of the bus. These are men, real men and I am honored to have them in my life and the lives of my family.
Laura McCarthy Photography Charles Terry Photography Stump Dakel Photography