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Jesus on the World Stage—How God is Using Star Power to Draw Others

Could it be that God is leveraging star power to influence a lost and dying world?

In November 2019, Kanye West stood before a crowd of 16,000 people and candidly talked about his conversion to Christ in his trademark, no-nonsensical, pointed tongue. Speaking to Joel Osteen’s Lakeway megachurch in Houston, Texas, West recalled his 2016 mental breakdown that resulted in a hospital stay. Amazingly, Kanye admitted that God had been drawing him in for a while but that the Devil had been distracting him for a long time. 

Testifying that visions and revelation from God were behind the inspiration to make a Gospel album, the singer/rapper told Osteen that he had no clue how to begin. West said his lack of awareness was due to the Christians around him who were too worn down by society to speak up and profess the gospel to him. West called out Christians who were afraid to speak up and profess Christ as a witness to him.

Not much has changed about his boldness, with the exception that he now proclaims Jesus to be the real superstar. Similarly, he’s creating a firestorm of criticism–and new followers–hearing about the gospel like never before.

Related: Lauren Daigle Performs on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Pop icon Justin Bieber is no stranger to the Devil’s distractions either. After some tumultuous teen years that ranged from vandalizing neighbors’ homes to assault, DUI, and attempted robbery charges, Bieber found himself at the center of a nationwide, online petition intended to deport him from the country because of his disrespectful attitude.

Fast forward to 2019, and Bieber has openly found peace in his faith with the support and encouragement of his wife, Haley Baldwin Bieber. As a faithful attendee occasionally leading worship at Hillsong Church in Los Angeles, the star has developed close relationships with fellow members and the pastoral leadership. Last August, the once wholesome teen heartthrob shared on his Instagram account that God had been drawing him through his struggles.

Throughout 2019, other Hollywood players credited faith as the crucial ingredient to lifestyle changes. Even Chance the Rapper told Ellen Degeneres that his newfound faith in Jesus is the real reason for his generosity in helping others.

In truth, celebrities don’t face the practical, everyday problems that the average person does. With unlimited resources, power, and freedom, the perks of stardom can become a toxic grab bag of potential chaos. Hitting rock bottom is often the result of out of control behavior or circumstances that have spiraled beyond their ability to navigate.

But at the core of these very public conversions, a common thread of redemption weaves in and out of the conversation. Celebrities are sharing their struggles, making them relatable to their fans. From Kanye to Bieber, Chris Pratt, and more, all say that trusting God pulled them out of dark places and bolstered their faith. The rise of celebrities finding an anchor in God is thrusting Jesus and faith into the spotlight like never before. The profundity of faith has never been perpetuated more than in today’s celebrity culture. From the White House to Hollywood, the name of Jesus is being raised for all to hear. While Christians fundamentally believe that God is everywhere, ironically, all of pop culture is now seeing that Jesus is everywhere, including the world stage.

Could it be that God is leveraging star power to influence a lost and dying world?

Whether Christian critics like it or not, celebrities can shape the faith of a whole generation. Unfortunately, skeptics want to challenge the authenticity of these Hollywood conversions. Living under the scrutiny of the spotlight is challenging enough, but staying the course while knowing critics want them to fail is going to be the real test of faith. Nevertheless, those who do not understand God’s ways will never understand how He can and will use all things to draw men unto Himself for His Glory. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We see this ringing true in the life and career of Christian artist Lauren Daigle. The singer’s “Look Up Child” album has the distinction of being the longest-reigning collection on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart. In September of 2018, Daigle’s LP debuted at No. 1 in the Christian genre but also landed at No. 3 on the overall Billboard 200 Chart. This crossover feat meant that her music beat out popular mainstream artists such as Drake, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. Daigle says the only goal she had for this album was for it to be a great source of hope and joy for all.

It wasn’t long before Daigle’s music caught the ears of Hollywood. A month later, she appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show where the talk show host herself heralded the singer/songwriter’s artistry as incredible. To the audience’s surprise, Ellen sent them all home with a complimentary copy of Daigle’s CD.

Days later, the singer was forced to defend her decision to perform on the show due to Ellen’s lifestyle choices. Daigle’s music clearly presented the gospel to Hollywood, and thanks to Ellen went out to the masses; nevertheless, some felt the singer didn’t hold up her end of Christianity by not condemning Ellen’s lifestyle.

We will never know the spiritual impact of Daigle’s performance that day, or how many hearts found hope as a result of Ellen gifting the CD to everyone in the audience. Lauren Daigle sang her heart out for her Savior, yet her critics revealed a lack of faith by refusing to see that God uses all things, circumstances, even opinions, and viewpoints that differ from their own. (Romans 8:28) Daigle should never have to defend where God opens doors for her to share His love.

Throughout the scriptures, we see that God famously used imperfect people to accomplish His divine directives. Before we say that Kanye, Bieber, or even Lauren Daigle are not spiritually qualified to artistically carry out His purpose for this generation, we mustn’t forget who He’s used in the past: Peter denied Christ three times (John 18), Elijah was suicidal (1 Kings 19), David was a murderer and an adulterer (2 Samuel 11), and Jacob was a cheater (Genesis 27).

No one is beyond serving the kingdom even when they fail. In fact, God seems to relish using flawed people. Maybe that’s the real cultural relevance that the scoffers are missing here. 

It’s obvious to see that He is using very flawed and broken people to draw a lost and dying world. These celebrities all have one thing in common. They are talking about a Savior who is making Himself known in their lives. They are sharing how a relationship with Jesus is changing every area of their lives. And perhaps that’s the real discomfort for their critics here. These celebrities have found relationship over religion to be the transformational factor and saving grace in their lives.