Worship is the new pop. The world is being brought to Jesus by artists and singers, but we’re not talking about Hillsong, Bethel or Chris Tomlin. Rather, multiple surprising artists have been leading, not only the church, but also the world into worshiping God during the past year in surprising ways and places. Here are a few of the many artists who are lifting up the name of Jesus and leading the world into worship.
1. Kanye West
Although intended to be strictly musical services, Kanye’s Sunday Services have on occasion welcomed words of encouragement, including a very gospel-centered message by Rich Wilkerson at one event. Kanye has hosted the Sunday Services in a different location every week, including Coachella. To top it off, Kanye announced that starting with his latest album, Jesus Is King, he will no longer make secular music. Only gospel music from now on.
2. Justin Beiber
Beiber has been making major life changes for the past several years, and it has certainly been reflected in his music. From leading worship at Coachella to singing worship songs during his own concerts to leading a worship set at a church in Los Angeles, Beiber has been using his talent to bring glory to God in powerful ways.
3. Avril Lavigne
It had been five years since Avril Lavigne released any new music until September 2018 when she released a worship song. Head Above Water is a cry to God for salvation. One stanza says,
God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
4. Lauren Daigle
Daigle is the only artist on this list who started out as a Christian artist and singer-songwriter. However, somehow her explicitly God-centered hit song, You Say, has made music history as the only song to ever top both Christian and Adult Contemporary charts. Daigle has also made guest appearances on Jimmy Kimmell, Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Fallon. Despite criticism from some Christians, her music has been a source of encouragement and inspiration for many.
Are these artists for real, or just frauds?
All of these artists along with others have faced criticism and accusations of hypocrisy and insincerity. But there are a few things Christians should be reminded of and encouraged by:
- First, no one knows a person’s heart but God. It goes without saying that these artists, along with every other human on earth, are not perfect. But imperfection doesn’t equal insincerity. I Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.” Let’s choose to believe the best and hope for the best concerning these artists.
- God uses surprising people to accomplish His plans. In the Biblical book of Acts, Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians, throwing them in jail (Acts 8:3) and even supporting their deaths (Acts 7:58). Then he encountered Jesus who changed his life, as well as his name from Saul of Tarsus to Paul the Apostle. If He can transform a man like Paul who tried to end Christianity, surely He can save an artist—yes, even Kanye West, aka Yeezus.
- Even if they are insincere, God can still use them. In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul, who was in prison at the time, said that ever since he was arrested, more people have started sharing the gospel than ever before. However, some of them seem to be doing so pretentiously, not sincerely. What was Paul’s response? He said, “[T]hat doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice, (Phil. 1:8).” Even if one or all of these artists are just doing what they’re doing for show, we can trust that God is using them to work in the lives of many people either way, and that’s a great reason to rejoice.