For Parents: Talking and Thinking Points on Kanye West’s Conversion

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Christian twitterverse has been buzzing for the last few weeks over the apparent conversion of Kanye West. Your kids are sure to know about what’s going on with this enormously popular artist; it’s a good idea to be prepared to talk with them about it.

Kanye has been hosting “Sunday Services,” which is a hip-hop worship service. One recent Sunday Service included the preaching of Pastor Adam Tyson, a graduate of The Master’s Seminary who has been meeting with Kanye weekly (at Kanye’s request) for the sake of discipleship.

In a surprise visit with Jimmy Kimmel, when asked if he’s become a “Christian rapper,” Kanye responded, “I’m a… Christian everything.” That’s a good answer.

His new album dropped last week and is entitled, Jesus is King. It is packed full of his reflections on his old life, the new life he has found in Christ, and praise to God for his salvation. It’s a short album at only 27 minutes, and it’s worth the listen.

Upon listening to the album twice through and seeing all the buzz on social media, I took a few minutes to write down some quick thoughts about Kanye’s conversion to Christianity, and how we might respond.

  1. If God can save the Apostle Paul, God can save Kanye. If God can save me, God can save If God can save you, God can save Kanye. Thinking that Jesus could not (or would not) save Kanye is blatantly unbiblical and anti-gospel.
  2. Why do we believe deconversion stories but not conversion stories? What does that reveal about our perspective on the power of God?
  3. Jesus told a parable of four soils. Only the soil that produced enduring fruit was considered good soil. Endurance takes time, so be patient with Kanye.
  4. When Paul converted, the believers in Jerusalem were skeptical. Surprise is normal. But let’s not stand in the way of what God is doing in someone’s life when there is apparent gospel-fruit.
  5. It’s a bold move for Kanye to drop a new album so quickly, professing so many rich gospel-statements. This move could cost him many friends and damage his reputation. Isn’t this exactly what repentance looks like – to turn around and confess what you’ve done wrong and to start honoring God instead?
  6. Consider the ways some of Kanye’s friends might feel betrayed right now. This is likely how we feel when Josh Harris and others reject our tribe. His fans might have very strong feelings against what’s happening and take it as betrayal. You know how that feels from the other perspective.
  7. Kanye is still Kanye. You have your own sin and personality quirks that God is continuing to work on. Assume the same is true of Kanye. Be gracious and patient, the way you would treat any other new believer.
  8. Kanye has talked openly about his mental health challenges over the last few years. God still does miracles and maybe that’s the case here. But it’s wise to be cautious and to dig into a biblical posture on mental health for new converts who have suffered mental breakdowns in their past.
  9. Pray for Kanye to be discipled over the long-haul and to somehow find a church where he is not the main driver. Consider the challenge of discipleship for someone with his visibility and draw. Pray for God to give Kanye wisdom, and also for those who would disciple him.
  10. If this album is Kanye’s public repentance, it would be good and biblical for him to step away from the spotlight while he is discipled and grows in his faith. There’s a reason one qualification for eldership is that one should not be a new convert.

Check out the youth ministry side of the blog today for further theological insights into Kanye’s conversion.

Mike McGarry is the Director of Youth Pastor Theologian, has served as a Youth Pastor for 18 years in Massachusetts, and has two youth group aged kids at home. He earned his D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has published three books – most recently, “Discover: Questioning Your Way to Faith.” Mike is committed to training youth workers to think biblically about what youth ministry is and to training them to teach theologically with confidence. You can connect with him on social media @youththeologian.

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