The service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, September 15, 2019, may have been back to church Sunday, but there was another reason the congregation saw a surge of people visiting. While everything else in the service was business as usual under the direction of senior Pastor Jamal Bryant, the last third included an appearance by Kanye West with his Sunday Service choir that was part worship and part sharing from Kanye about his personal experience with faith.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church: Give God Freedom to Do What He Wants
“We’re going to give God freedom to let him do whatever he wants to do,” Bryant said as a way of introducing the rapper. “All I ask is that you would be mindful that you are not here for a performance—you’re here for worship. I don’t care who walks in the room, there’s only one star in this room,” Bryant said while pointing his index finger to the ceiling.
A group of singers then congregated before the stage with a director leading them from the stage. Kanye could be seen to the director’s left, holding a microphone in his hand but only occasionally opening his mouth to sing, without the use of the microphone. The group sang a couple of gospel-style songs no one could accuse of being “watered down” with “spiritual but not religious” themes. The singers belted out lines such as, “Jesus, you’re the only power that can save this world today” and “Stand on the Word.”
Bryant could be seen observing the music from the stage and swaying to the beat.
Kanye Prays and Shares His Faith
Kanye broke out in a spontaneous prayer during one song, saying “You sent your only son to die for us and all you ask is radical obedience to you…You’re not asking us to do the least (“at least I…”). How we gonna do the least when you did the most?” The crowd erupted in clapping when he said that.
Kanye’s prayer lasted several minutes and vacillated between him speaking directly to God with his eyes closed and speaking to the crowd about his personal experience getting to know God.
“Thank you for saving me, for replenishing me, for delivering me,” Kane said, addressing God as “Our Father, Jesus Christ.”
“When I found out about you and got closer to you, I got closer to my children, I got closer to my family,” Kanye said. “‘Cause the devil had me chasing a gold statue, had me chasing cars, had me chasing numbers.”
Kanye also said he’d seen God “work miracles in my life.”
Kanye: Don’t Worry About Wealth or the Opinion of Others
Coming close to delivering a sermon, Kanye admonished the crowd not to be overly concerned in garnering wealth or the praise of man.
“You know the devil presents so many flashy, shiny objects. I’ve seen everything that the devil could have showed you via TV, videos, car dealerships, jewelry, houses, and I tell you: Nothing beats God.” Breaking into song, he repeated: “Nothing beats God” and he added, “and a sound mind.”
“Let’s not be concerned with the opinions of man at all. Only the opinion of God. Let’s not be concerned with the validation of men at all. Only of God,” he said as the crowd broke out in emphatic clapping.
Kanye declared: “To be radically in service to Christ is the only culture that I want to know about. In the four walls, out of the four walls, in the school halls…”