Watch It: Kanye West brings Sunday Service to Jamal Bryant’s 'New Birth' megachurch
Article By Rebecca Johnson // EEW Magazine // Church Culture
Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant welcomed rapper Kanye West and his collection of choir singers and musicians to minister at his megachurch Sunday.
West visited New Birth Missionary Baptist Church for a popup performance called “Sunday Service”—something Bryant said was “epic.”
In the caption of an Instagram photo of the raised-fist 48-year-old leader posing with the deadpan hip-hop star, he acknowledged the controversial nature of his decision to host 42-year-old West.
“Significance doesn’t come without controversy!” said the preacher who was installed as pastor of the prominent church in March 2019, previously led by the late Bishop Eddie Long.
“Yesterday was epic at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. A generation that churches have failed to connect with came to worship GOD and scores of them became saved,” said Bryant who, before accepting his current role at New Birth, led the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, which he founded and grew from 49 people to more than 10,000.
His ministry focus has always been engaging culture and reaching generations of non-churchgoers. While West has not been embraced by all—especially Christian purists that shun the urban lyricist for his previous profane, sexual and secular music that glorified lust, power and wealth—Bryant sees West’s transformation as a key opportunity to reach a new crop of people.
The rapper’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, on the ABC daytime show “The View,” said West’s “Sunday Services” are the focal point of a Christ-centered musical ministry and that he is born-again.
“You don’t have to understand the vessel to see the vision,” said Bryant, adding, “God doesn’t anoint based on people’s approval. Thank you Kanye West for being available to be used for this assignment.”
West, who has publicly admitted to struggling with bi-polar disorder, told New Birth congregants and attendees that included fellow rappers T.I. and 2 Chainz, “You know the devil presents so many flashy, shiny objects. I’ve seen everything that the devil could’ve showed you via TV, videos, car dealerships, jewelry, houses, and I’ll tell you—he broke out singing—“nothing beats God.”