Kanye West and his “Sunday Service” will make an appearance at a Sunday service of the nation’s biggest megachurch this weekend. According to TMZ, West will share the stage with Joel Osteen at his 50,000-person Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas on Sunday to discuss how the artist was able to “overcome significant adversity in his life.”
Citing “sources with direct knowledge” of the arrangement, TMZ reported Tuesday that “the plan is for Kanye to show up at Joel’s 11 AM service in Houston this coming Sunday at the Lakewood Church.”
“Kanye will walk up to the pulpit and have a conversation with Joel that will last between 20 and 30 minutes,” TMZ reports. “Our sources say Joel wants his congregation — which stands 45,000 strong — and his TV audience — which stands at 10 million in the U.S. alone — to hear how Kanye has overcome significant adversity in his life.”
“Kanye used to be about nothing greater than himself,” one source told the outlet. “Now it’s all about a higher power.”
TMZ says their sources noted that Osteen plans to also highlight the contrast between Kanye before and after his spiritual awakening on Sunday. The two men, the sources say, have become friends, “especially since Kanye has doubled down in his devotion to God.”In an update to the initial report, TMZ announced that West is going to bring his own backup group:
It just got way better. Our Kanye sources tell us Ye will bring his traveling choir to Houston and he and the choir will perform during Sunday’s nighttime service. So, Kanye will take the pulpit and talk to Joel in the morning, and perform in the evening.
West has increasingly focused his public statements and his performances on faith.
His new, faith-focused album, “Jesus Is King,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts and has broken West’s previous online streaming records, according to The Christian Post. “The 27 minute music release garnered the second-largest sales week of the year for an R&B/Hip-Hop album, with over 100,000 copies sold,” the outlet reported last week.
“Number one in the country right now, number one in the world right now, Jesus is King,” West said last week in celebration of the album’s success. “Number one song, number one album, and they told me I would (inaudible) if I gave my life to Christ, but God is showing out.”
West’s faith-focused performances, which include his Sunday Service choir, have been big successes too. A recent West event at Bethany Church in Baton Rouge reportedly resulted in hundreds of people accepting Christ. According to an Instagram post by Curvine Brewington, a pastor at Crossroads Church in Lafayette, the event drew over 6,000 people and resulted in over 1,000 people responding to an altar call:
Tonight, @candacebrewington & I got to experience Kanye West’s Sunday Service at @bethany_church in Baton Rouge. If you’ve ever doubted the legitimacy or spiritual impact of this #sundayservice project, simply look at this incredible shot taken by @the.smitan during the altar call. YES, I said ALTAR CALL. Tonight, worship was lifted, the name of Christ was exalted, the Word of God was preached, a multitude prayed together, the Gospel was clearly proclaimed, and an opportunity to respond was given. In a crowd of 6,000 people from all walks of life, all ages, and all races, i witnessed over 1,000 people respond to The Gospel by raising their hands to accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior! Say what you want, & think what you want…. But trust me when I tell you – The Spirit of the Living God was indeed present. I danced, wept, stood in awe of God’s redemptive work, & can honestly say that tonight I witnessed a new wave of REVIVAL first hand. #Jesuesisking
•Isaiah 43:19 “Behold I do a NEW thing. •
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
As for Osteen’s megachurch, as of 2016 his Lakewood Church was still “the largest church in America, with a weekend attendance totaling 52,000 people,” The Christian Post reported (formatting adjusted):
Church Growth Today, a research center led by John N. Vaughan since 1980, said in a statement that Osteen’s congregation remains the largest in America when it comes to weekend attendance, noting that the church has seen a growth of 7,200 people since 2010. What is more, the church has five times as many followers as it did when it was led by founding Pastor John Osteen, who died in 1999.
The research also shows that 27 new megachurches have increased church attendance since 2010, though 39 others have dropped below 2,000 in weekly attendance, which is the baseline of what constitutes a megachurch, as established by Vaughan. “This newest research indicates that among the 100 largest churches 60 percent are growing, 20 percent have plateaued, and only 11 percent have decreased in attendance during the past five years,” Vaughan added.