I know what you’re thinking: “wow, this guy is late to the party. This Kanye thing was last month.” And you would be right. I am a little late to the party. But hang in there with me for a minute.
Celebrate radical transformation
We tend to be far too skeptical. If it doesn’t match our experience or expectations, we find it hard to believe.
We all love great—miraculous, in fact—stories of people coming to faith in Jesus. But for whatever reason, when it comes to celebrities, many of us tend to sit back in our chairs and wait with eager skepticism. We wait for them mess it up–for it all to be a sham. Perhaps it’s too good to be true. Perhaps it exposes a flaw in our own faith. But I think, as a church, it is important for us to take a minute and celebrate every transformation. Whether it’s the addict that turns their life around in a Spirit empowered instant, or the perseverance of a life live in constant pursuit of Jesus. Both of these—and everything in between—is a win to be celebrated.
Leverage your platform
There is a captive audience and a whole slew of people who wouldn’t normally listen to truth.
Comfort seems so much more desirable. Routine and rhythm are more predictable. And it is certainly easier to only be concerned with yourself and those immediately around you. Which essentially causes the majority of us to not even consider something like a platform. That’s for authors, entertainers, and preachers, right? Nope. We all have a platform. We all have a ministry. Wherever God has placed you and whoever God has placed in your life, that is your platform. Whether 1 person, 1000 people, or 100,000 people, you have influence in someone’s life. That is your platform and you are called to use it. It means you are taking your faith from your personal private sector and making it incredibly public—precisely what Kanye did.
Disciple the newbies
He’s not perfect. He has, and will continue to make mistakes, miscues, and create misunderstanding. He needs mentorship. Don’t we all. As a church we invest huge amounts of resources to the reaching people with the gospel. As we should. But shouldn’t we invest more into making disciples, helping people persevere, and walk the difficult road of following Jesus?
Think about this. Companies like Comcast or AT&T spend millions of dollars on acquiring new customers. Great deals, discounts, and what seems like the greatest levels of customer service imaginable. That is until you are the customer. We all know what happens. No more deals, no more customer service—you get the idea. Don’t worry, I’m not saying the church is like Comcast! That’s just downright mean. I just think its far too easy to get focused on getting new people that we forgot about the current community. If you are truly discipling your community, there will always be a steady stream of new people coming in the doors.
He likely has more to lose than most of us, yet he is far more bold than most of us. I get it, for some of us being bold about our faith could result in losing a job, creating tension in families, or alienating our friends. It feels like a lot to lose. I’ve been there. I lost a job once, because some of my co-workers discovered I was in seminary. They immediately perceived me as bigoted and close minded.
Boldness is not about creating tension or animosity. It’s about standing firm in truth. This is what I think is admirable about what Kanye has done up to this point. He is doing a good job (not perfect for sure) of speaking truth despite the risk of losing some of his most loyal fan base and thus losing sales.
He has been vocal about how the church views him and his journey. We can learn a thing or two from his words. And yes, sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. It’s hard to tell if the water is dirty when you have been swimming in it for a while. We need people on the outside to tell us. The same is true of the church. Regardless if you agree or not, it’s wise of us inside the church to listen to those on the outside. Right or wrong, it’s a perspective worth listening to.
To be clear, I would not consider myself a fan of Kanye. In fact, before his decision to follow Christ, I couldn’t have named one song. I’m more of a Needtobreathe kind of guy. Nevertheless, I am celebrating with heaven and I am incredibly hopeful and excited for what God can do through his testimony, and his willingness to share the truth with such a huge platform. Let’s rally behind him, teach him, love him, correct and rebuke when necessary, and give God the glory for it all.