Reaching the lost at any cost and making disciples of all nations.
We are musicianaries; musical missionaries with one primary goal; to reach as many different peoples and nations as possible with the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ. We commit to sharing this great news through our lives, humanitarian efforts, music and at each of our outreach events with a clear call to salvation. We desire that all of our actions and songs give glory to God, edify the body of Christ and encourage the church to embrace diverse styles of worship.
As trailblazers, Christafari is continually pioneering the genre of Gospel reggae in the U.S. and throughout the world. But the band is more than just musicians: they’re “musicianaries” (musical missionaries), spreading the message of hope and salvation globally to approximately 150 outreach events per year.
Christafari was founded in 1989 by Pastor Mark Mohr. Raised in a Christian family, Mohr strayed from his spiritual upbringing during his teens and turned to drugs and alcohol, going as far as growing and even dealing marijuana. After running away from home, living on the streets and hitting rock-bottom, he had an undeniable encounter with God that drastically transformed his world. At 17, Mark re-committed his life to Christ and took what he now calls his “Freedom Step” out of addiction.
At that point, his greatest desire was to help others escape the same bondage that once entangled him. He felt God leading him to start the first Gospel reggae band in America. Just two weeks later the band was birthed at a camp talent show, when a friend said, “So you’re not a Rastafarian anymore; you’re a Christafarian.” And the name stuck!
While their name may just sound like a play on words, in Biblical Greek it stands for a group of people who bear or represent the name of Christ. “At that time, the best advice I was given was to go to Bible College so I could be theologically and doctrinally sound,” says Mark, who attended BIOLA University with an emphasis on pastoral studies and missions. During his college years, Christafari continued to take shape as Mark wrote songs for the band’s first three albums.
In 1999, after recording two albums with Gotee Records under the tutelage of TobyMac, Mark branched out and founded his own record company, Lion of Zion Entertainment, with the goal of “reaching the world through world music,” and he later launched GospelReggae.com
In 2002, while ministering in the Caribbean, Mohr met Trinidadian musician Avion Blackman. The two married a year and a half later and Avion joined the band full-time on bass and vocals. Avion comes from a very large musical family. Her father Ras Shorty I invented Soca and Jamoo music and trained his children to become his own backing band. She began singing lead on stage with him at only four years old and playing bass in his band The Love Circle at 14.
Christafari is comprised of men and women from various continents, countries and cultures that share a love for reggae music and passion for following Jesus to the ends of the earth.
[TOURING & MEDIA:]
Christafari has performed in 46 states, over 70 nations, at two Olympic Games and even for the President of the United States of America. The band’s first major tour was 1995’s Reggae Sunsplash that had them traversing 46 cities in 53 days.
Since then they’ve performed at most major reggae and gospel/CCM festivals with the top artists in the genres. The group has had the privilege of performing at many of the country’s most prestigious venues like LA’s Greek Theater, Dodger Stadium, the Presidential Inaugural Ball, and even from the steps of our nation’s capital before a crowd of 500,000!
Christafari has been featured on The 700 Club, CNN, MTV, MTV Brazil, ABC, TBN, JCTV, BET, TBS, Greg Laurie’s Harvest and many more.
Christafari is no stranger to chart success. Since the release of their first “Reggae Worship” album in the early 90s, most of their CDs have held positions on both the Christian and/or Reggae Billboard charts.
In 2012 Christafari made history as the first Gospel artist to hit #1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts with “Reggae Worship: a Roots Revival.” Each of the band’s subsequent studio releases has also topped the Billboard Charts.
However, speaking about the band’s chart successes, Mohr states, “We care a lot more about hearts than charts. Our passion is for souls, not sales, and we only do concerts as a way to make converts and fulfill the great commission.”
[BECOMING FULL-TIME MISSIONARIES:]
After the inception of Christafari, the band took several annual mission trips to Jamaica. “The funny thing is that one of my first prayers to the Lord after coming to Christ,” recalls Mohr “was, ‘Please don’t make me a missionary in the jungle in some Third World country.'” He now thanks the Lord for not answering that prayer – for it would quickly become the greatest desire of his heart.
After visiting places like Africa, Central and South America and some of the most remote islands on earth, it became clear also to the rest of the band that these were the types of places that the Lord wanted them to invest their time and talents in from here on out.
Their mission was simple: “To reach the lost at any cost and make disciples of every nation.”
But the band quickly became troubled by the reality that Third World nations and developing countries couldn’t afford to fly out even a single member of the band, let alone their entire team. They decided the answer was in becoming full-time musical missionaries – willing to travel to the ends of the earth in an effort to preach the Gospel through the universal language of music to those who could never afford them in conventional terms.
Each of the members in Christafari has the same mission and vision, a commitment that requires tremendous sacrifice and discomfort. But this is right where they believe the Lord has called them. Seeing lives changed across the globe makes it entirely worth their while, and the results have been astonishing: in 2016 alone the band saw over 132,000 decisions for Christ at their outreach events in 22 nations! They are well on their way towards their goal of seeing one million decisions for Christ within the next decade.
Not only does the band travel the world proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ through reggae music, but they’ve also set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They try to find and fill a need in each country they visit, such as visiting hospitals, serving at orphanages, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and ministering to those whom Jesus called “the least of these.”
Christafari is convinced that Jesus commanded them to deliver His message to the ends of the earth, not only to countries that could afford to pay for them to tour. Christafari’s mission is simple: “To go to the ends of the earth until all have heard, and until all have heard we’re not quitting.”
– Mark Mohr