Though I am not all that familiar with rap singer and song writer Kanye West, 42, I should be. He has won 21 Grammy Awards (putting him on the top ten list of most wins) and his 140 million record sales also makes him one of the best-selling artists of all time. And for the period of 2005 t0 2015, Time Magazine ranked him among the world’s 100 most influential people.
And top all that off he is married to Kim Kardashian, a star in her own right.
But there have been rumblings recently of Kanye’s belief in Christ. In a broadcast on Queen Radio found on Apple Music, singer Nicki Minaj was interviewing “Chance the Rapper” another Christian artist when she mentioned that Kanye told her that he is a born-again Christian and became one shortly after he was hospitalized for bi-polar in 2016.
“Sometimes in the music business, we think other artists don’t believe in God or aren’t spiritual as we are. Then when you find people because I was just with Kanye, and he told me he’s a born-again Christian now.”
And it’s now being reported Kanye is leading a church service in Los Angeles. According to reports it is held weekly at various locations around Los Angeles that also include Kanye’s home. At times services are even held outdoors in the forest and fields surrounding LA. When the service is held indoors, depending on the location, it often includes an elaborate light show.
Variety reports attendance is by invite only. I am sure it is done for various reasons. Obviously, if such a service was opened up to the public, because of Kanye’s popularity, thousands would flock to the service making it almost unmanageable.
Variety adds that invitations to Kanye’s church are “highly coveted” in the Los Angeles musical scene.
And for the services, Kanye has rewritten some of his songs giving them a more spiritual flavor and also brings in other Gospel artists. He also works with a choir and Variety columnist Shirley Ju gave us a bit of insight in what a church service is like:
“So what’s the service like? Think: next level and beyond. West has the ability to transform a choir into a moving live orchestra, leaving outsiders to muse about the mysterious prayer circle from afar.”
According to Newsweek, people’s description of the services range from a “spiritual retreat” to a “concert” to a “worship ceremony.”
And not only is attendance at the church by invite only, but according to Variety people sign non-disclosure agreements stating that they won’t talk to the press about the services, but are allowed to post on social media.
Many notable stars have attended including Diplo, Katy Perry, DMX, David Letterman, Orlando Bloom, Francis & The Light, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds plus many others including obviously members of the Kardashian family.
Of course there are those who criticize the service questioning its exclusivity and some wonder about Kanye’s motives.
But the Apostle Paul was very clear as he sat in a Roman jail, that he rejoiced Christ was being preached even by people whose motives were questionable:
17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, (Philippians 1:17-18 NASV)
And I certainly have no reason to question Kanye’s reasons for holding these services because there is a noticeable anti-Christian sentiment in Hollywood these days and I don’t believe his faith in Christ should be considered a popularity stunt.
Others have questioned the sincerity of Kanye’s faith, but in her podcast Minaj noted she has seen a marked change in Kanye. Jesus stated that is difficult (not impossible) for the rich and famous to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23). And I for one don’t fully appreciate the unique challenges they face embracing faith, but all things are possible.
This past spring, Kanye West also held a Sunday morning church service at the highly popular Coachella music festival held annually in Indio, California. And there has been a distinctive Christian theme in some of his music:
“Yes, God, We don’t want no devils in the house, God. We want the lord (Yes, Jesus) And that’s it.” from Kanye West’s song “Ultra Light Beam”
- Kanye West’s Sunday Church Service: Where Spirituality and Exclusivity Meet: Variety
- Did Kanye West Start A Church? What is ‘Sunday Service’ and Which Celebrities Have Attended: Newsweek
- Kanye West tells Rapper Nicki Minaj he’s now a born-again Christian: CBN
- Kanye West bringing ‘Sunday Service’ Gospel event to Coachella Music Festival: Faithwire