- October 19, 2022
Read the full story about Streetlights Bible and founders Esteban Shedd, Aaron Lopez, and Loren La Luz.
By Jeff Smith
Friends and Moody Bible Institute graduates Aaron Lopez (2007, Radio Communications) and Loren La Luz (2006, Pre-Counseling/Family Ministries) were traveling and singing in a band with Esteban Shedd (2005, Communications) when Esteban convinced them to join him in developing a new audio Bible venture.
Over the next 15 years, Streetlights Bible has steadily grown as a digital resource. Headquartered in Chicago, it is now engaging a global urban culture through the creative presentation of God’s Word.
“The culture needs to hear the Word of God contextualized with urban music, with God’s ethnically diverse body of people actually reading the Word of God,” Aaron says. “It’s authentic hip-hop music being scored along with the reading to contextualize and present the Scriptures.”
Widening audience and impact
In the early days of Streetlights, Esteban, Loren, and Aaron developed audio Bible tracks geared for 16- to 30-year-olds living in an urban cross-cultural setting. But Streetlights’ emerging popularity led to an audience growth across a surprising range of demographics.
“I would say (the target audience is) the general population at this point mainly because we’re a digital-learning world influenced by urban-global communication,” Loren says. “We reach people in urban areas and suburban areas. We're reaching moms and people in prison. We’re meeting the needs of youth leaders, people who need a resource like Streetlights to get their young people into the Word of God.”
The Streetlights team is continually amazed at how God orchestrates and uses the professional media resources they produce, including a New Living Translation print version of the Streetlights Bible from Tyndale House Publishers, to impact lives.
“We heard from a truck driver who said he would listen on his long commutes, and the Word of God was so pivotal that it transformed his marriage,” Loren says. “Another man reached out to us who said he was an atheist. He did not believe in God. Somebody recommended Streetlights Bible to him, and he found himself listening every day during his commute to work. And he said, ‘I gave my life to the Lord!’”
Streetlights’ influence has expanded to six continents, far beyond its founders’ expectations.
“Week after week (we hear) from people who are local here in Chicago, nationally from people in New York, California, Texas, all the way to people in Latin America—Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico,” Loren says. “We've heard from people in Australia, South Africa, England, Canada, and the Philippines. The Lord has allowed us to have a connection that is global.”
‘It’s just been such a blessing’
As one of numerous examples, a Houston, Texas, resident told the Streetlights team, “I've been in rehab after a pretty insane relapse with alcohol and drugs, a DWI, and ending up in jail. Since doing AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) again and engaging with what I call my ‘Jesus Mentor,’ I've been super serious about getting back in the Word.
“My mentor's wife suggested I listen to Streetlights, so I did and—dude!—I’ve been totally consumed with Jesus! It's helped me to shut off every other worldly thing and just tune in to who Jesus is. I even follow along with my NLT (New Living Translation) on my Bible app, and it's just been such a blessing.”