Kanye West Is Reportedly Teaming Up With This Controversial Megachurch Pastor
Kanye West is taking his Sunday Service to a whole other level. The rapper will pay a visit to Lakewood Church on November 17, where he’ll sit down for a conversation with pastor Joel Osteen during the morning service, according to TMZ. Then, he and his choir will perform during the evening service at the Houston megachurch.
West and Osteen will talk about overcoming adversity
West — who has joked that he might change his name to “Christian Genius Billionaire” — has recently taken his popular Sunday Service on the road to spread the gospel and promote his album Jesus Is King. The next stop for the rapper will apparently put him front of Lakewood’s 45,000-member congregation, as well as the church’s TV audience of 10 million.
Osteen will talk to West about how he has overcome significant adversity in his life, sources told TMZ.
“Kanye used to be about nothing greater than himself. Now it’s all about a higher power,” a source told the tabloid.
Osteen is a controversial religious leader
West’s shift away from secular music and his recent declarations of faith have raised some eyebrows. Writing in the New Yorker, Jia Tolentino called his Sunday Service “vaguely cultlike.” When he and his choir performed at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in October 2019, some members of the congregation walked out. West has also tried — and failed — to trademark the term “Sunday Service” in order to sell branded clothing and shoes.
In making friends with Osteen, West is pairing up with another controversial figure. The head of the largest church in America — his congregation worships in an arena where the Houston Rockets once played — is incredibly wealthy. He lives in a $10.5 million home and has a net worth of $50 million. Yet when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, he was slow to open his church’s doors to those who needed shelter. That great wealth paired with a perceived lack of Christian charity rubs some people the wrong way.
“Joel Osteen represents the Christian 1%,” wrote Kate Bowler, a professor at Duke Divinity School in the Washington Post. “He is a wealthy man who unapologetically preaches that God has blessed him, with the added bonus that God can bless anyone else, too.”
West says he ‘works for God’
Osteen preaches the prosperity gospel, which holds that faith will be rewarded with financial wealth. West has expressed similar ideas.
“God is using me as a human being. … As humbly as I can put it, he’s using me to show off,” he said during an appearance on The Late Late Show. “Last year, I made $115 million and still ended up $35 million in debt. This year, I looked up and I just got $68 million returned to me on my tax returns.”
“And people say, ‘Oh, don’t talk about these numbers.’ No, people need to hear someone that’s been put into debt by the system talk about these kind of numbers now that they’re in service to Christ,” he added.
“[God’s] just showing out,” West went on to say. “Yeezy worth $3 billion … Kanye West works for God.”