You don’t have to look very hard to find Derrick Engoy on the Internet. He has his own website and blog, as well as pages on Facebook, ShoutLife.com, Kindle (a social prayer network), One.Voice.To.End.Slavery, Suite 101, MySpace and Twitter. His two books, I’m Bored With Christianity and Verbal Paintings, can be found at major retailers. He has a band, Elements Live, and has written for online publications such as Newidentitymagazine.com . He’s also on the pastoral staff of New Life Center in Harbor City, Calif.
But then again, Derrick considers himself an artist, an activist, a spiritual person, a pastor, a husband, a father … among other things.
While you’ll certainly find Derrick at the New Life Center church, you’ll be just as likely to find him in a coffeehouse, a club or a bar, reciting poetry and emceeing for Elements Live—in his own words, “carrying the messages of hope [to overcome] injustice and choosing to live a life that focuses on change that has eternal implications.”
“These are the very places that need to hear God’s message,” he explained. “I do go and recite poetry in churches, but my heart is more drawn to those venues where God seemingly doesn’t exist.” In the words of his profile, “I am committed to helping others discover God outside of the ‘religious routine.’ ”
As a child, Derrick grew up Catholic, and went through a time of “having a bad taste for church” to a new relationship with Jesus. Encouraged by Foursquare pastor Ken Bringas, he became involved with church, eventually becoming a licensed minister.
During his process of searching and finding Jesus, Derrick had discovered a passion for creative writing, particularly spoken-word poetry. In fact, his second book, Verbal Paintings, is a collection of years’ worth of poetry that he says “became a literary picture of my transition from a godless life to a God-filled life … a literary journey of my transformation.”
Though reflective of his personal journey, Derrick’s poetry is far from self-centered. “I bring up a lot of issues in my poems: human trafficking, orphans, poverty,” he said. “These issues have been ingrained in my life since college years, when I began speaking out for those who are oppressed.
“One of the latest pieces I’m working on is a rewriting of the first chapter of the Book of John in a spoken-word format,” he said. “It’ll be a way for me to read John 1 in a secular venue.”
Both Derrick and his wife, Marissa (she is a singer) plan to continue to spread awareness of social issues hand-in-hand with the gospel, taking the love of a compassionate God to those who may not be aware of His existence.
“Ironically, I love the church now,” he said. “Maybe it is because of where I am at: I love the people I’m surrounded by, and the opportunities that God puts in our path.”