ARTIST: Kanye West | SUITABLE FOR: Over-13s
This album is a gift crying out to be played and discussed in your youth group. The global rap star has, amidst criticism and wariness, very publicly announced that he has given his life to Jesus and this latest release was completely transformed from the original album he had planned to become an all-out worship song. This session is not designed to try to make judgements about the sincerity or motivation of the singer, neither is it aiming to view him as a hero for his faith, but rather to explore the transformation Jesus can make.
Begin the session by asking the group to think about what it means to be a Christian or a follower of Jesus. What does that look like? How do you see it in others? What difference has it made to your own life, if at all? Who do they look to as a follower of Jesus?
LISTEN AND DISCUSS
Introduce the track ‘Selah’, checking that the group are all familiar with the transformation that has occurred in this singer’s life and how this album has changed to reflect that. Explain that this particular song really explores that theme as it was planned to be on the original album and was completely rewritten to reflect the changes that had occurred in Kanye West’s life.
Play the track, providing copies of the lyrics for the young people to follow. As a group, discuss:
- What strikes you most about this song?
- What does it tell you about the way Jesus changes lives?
- What questions does it raise for you?
Draw your young people’s attention to the lyrics: “Everybody wanted Yandhi, then Jesus Christ did the laundry.” These words describe the transformation, or ‘making clean’ that Jesus performed in his life.
Critics have all noticed that for the first time, this album contains no expletives and this very song was ‘cleaned up’ from its original version.
As a group, look at the following questions, perhaps discussing them as appropriate or alternatively using them as a tool for reflection:
- What does it mean to you for Jesus to transform your life?
- What difference does or would that mean to you?
- How do or would people see the difference in you?
Turn to the Bible and read 2 Corinthians 5:17. As a group, discuss what it means to be ‘in Christ’, and how he alone can completely transform a person’s life. As appropriate, share this further with your group, offering to talk further and pray with individuals to accept this invitation to a new life.
As you draw to a close, invite the young people to take a look at some of the other tracks and lyrics, perhaps to look at them further in another session. Pray for your young people and for all those Christians in the public eye, that God would strengthen them as they keep their eyes on him.
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