(Photo courtesy of rapzilla.com)
A Look at Kanye West’s Sunday Service
By Keni Kirkwood
The name Kanye West brings about a great many reactions these days. I remember the moment I first heard that Kanye West had proclaimed -literally- that Jesus is King. Until then, I had only heard of Kanye through the occasional headline. My family and I, like many, were confused. “What’s that about? Is it for real?” we asked.
Then one chilly afternoon, we got the chance to experience Kanye’s Sunday Service for ourselves. I knew from the moment we were escorted down front to our seats, I was in the middle of something I would never forget. I took it all in, from the flowers surrounding the stage, to the choir high fiving us as they exited. And now I’m here to share that moment with you.
I know this is a rather controversial topic. A lot of people are asking if this is real, just like my family did. Some may even wonder if the project known as Sunday Service can really be considered “church”. After all, there are bright lights and giant LED screens, all surrounding an army of a choir on a stage in the round. Then in the middle of it all is Kanye West, rapping about Jesus. One might fear that all the show elements could end up distracting from the actual Gospel message. There’s also the question of a sermon- is there one at all? If so, what does that even look like?
It turns out that the answers are quite refreshing. Firstly, Jesus is most definitely at the center of this experience. The so-called spectacle on stage doesn’t have time to do much distracting because every moment is busy pointing to The Savior. There is no question who Kanye West considers the star of this experience . . . and it’s not himself, which might surprise critics. In fact, with the stage surrounded by a tall arrangement of wildflowers and a 50+ person choir, Kanye himself was almost difficult to see.
What amazed me most at Sunday Service was the spirit of the worship. There was a feeling of complete freedom like I’d never felt before. Maybe that’s how King David felt when he danced before God, free and in the moment. I looked around and I saw people everywhere dancing and jumping before the Lord in unbridled joy. That’s what I think heaven will be like, people from every walk of life freely celebrating their Savior.
As for the message, there was an actual sermon delivered by a pastor from California who did an excellent job. The topic was—fittingly—The Prodigal Son. There was even a unique take on the classic alter call: an opportunity to accept Christ, with a number to text if you made that decision and an invite to meet with a leader afterwards to follow up. It was a completely non-threatening approach.
I believe the concert style format of the service is likely to attract the curious and those less likely to attend a “normal” church service. In my opinion, that’s wonderful news because Jesus wants us to reach everyone. (See Mark 16:15) In that regard, it seems Kanye is on a church revolution.
His journey reminds me that the Bible is full of radical transformations. God proved time and time again He could use anyone to spread His word, even criminals and outcasts. Scripture is the story of Grace. The apostle Paul probably talks about grace the most. He was an enemy of the church who had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life. That transformation led him to travel the world sharing Christ’s message and starting churches. It was a revolution. Grace made it possible. I think that thought is pretty relevant here.
In conclusion, while Sunday Service may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I believe it has the power to reach a lot of people. It may not be conventional, but worship is about us and God. Whether we’re in a cathedral or convention center, it’s about Christ’s grace and glory.
Stream Sunday Service at sundayservice.com