You’ve most likely heard by now that Kanye West – one of the most influential artists and cultural icons of our era – released a polarizing gospel record, Jesus is King.
The bold Christian lyrical content and lack of profanity have undoubtedly shocked the world in contrast to its predecessors. The record-breaking album, along with its associated interviews, film, and Sunday Services, has the world talking non-stop. Some are elated and celebrating the thousands coming to Christ, while others claim it to be Christian hype or inauthentic given his past.
But when does the Bible call us to question someone’s conversion based on someone’s history? We take the stage each week full of imperfection and selfishness yet God doesn’t question our ability to steward His name.
People feared, doubted, and attempted murder when God chose to use the least-likely Christian-persecutor to proclaim His good news throughout the world (Acts 9:19-31). All I know is that whatever the heart (ours not to judge), Christ’s name is boldly proclaimed across the world by one of the biggest influencers we’ve ever known. That’s something to get excited about
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18 NIV
Authenticity is easily calculated by how much a person has to lose. Kanye has a career, global image, money, and the most-searched clothing brand in the world. All of this could easily falter in a culture where Christianity is widely unpopular.
He doesn’t care, and isn’t that such a beautiful thing? There is so much to learn by watching what’s happening here.
Sadly, the church is known more for playing it safe than taking risks. We get so concerned with how people perceive us that we try to be “cool” to minister to people while sacrificing authenticity. We don’t want to look “weird” so we pass by those who need prayer and healing instead of being the Good Samaritan. We forgo trying out new sounds and church service approaches because we want to make things predictable and palatable for the masses.
But you can’t gain without risk. Creativity is defined by risk. Christianity is risky and is founded on a Creator who took many risks creating us.
Kanye is opening new doors for people to encounter God by risking everything and letting go of the parameters of what a Sunday service has to be…what a Christian record has to be. It’s not “cool” because he’s trying to package his product to reach a specific demographic. It’s cool because it’s “him” and it’s authentic.
If you took away the Christian lyrics it would still be a Kanye record. If we took away the Christian lyrics from our music would it still be an authentic Spirit-filled “Us” record? Or are we being defined by Christian culture?
I’ve never been more excited for what God is going to do in arts, music and how we view worship. Many people see the worship genre as purposeful service to others, while everything else is just “entertainment”. However, I believe God is breaking down those walls, and Christians are going to start producing fresh music that heals souls and represents God in every genre.
There will be more “Kanyes” that God will establish who will stand boldly on their faith – creating what God has put on their hearts without the fear of having to fit specific standards defined by industry, church culture, and radio.
Right now, God is using Kanye to redefine what secular and Christian culture look like. He’s creating an authentic blend of church, art, fashion, and music that’s built on not caring what culture tells him he has to be, only what God says.
What if we started letting go of what culture told us we had to be? What worship has to sound like? What music for God has to be and where it has to be placed? What we have to dress like at church? What our pedalboards look like and what guitars we play?
What if we shifted our goals from trying to make Christian culture more attractive to defining what culture is for the world?
Kanye’s authentically trying and I believe it’s just the beginning. Our purpose and our music is bigger than the four walls of the church. We should be inspired.
How do you think Kanye’s new album has impacted Christian culture? How would you like to see the Church grow in terms of taking creative risks? Let us know in the comments below!
You may also be interested in these resources!
- How to Build Creative Guitar Sounds for Worship
- Find Purpose in Worship Through God’s Creativity
- Episode 58 Dissolving the Line Between Sacred & Secular with Fleurie
- Should Worship Leaders Wear Hype Clothing?
- The Problem with Coldplay: And Their Effect on Modern Worship