“The event will be a turning point for culture at the collegiate level and a catalyst of positive changes in OKC and beyond,” the FTS website reads. The event is scheduled to take place at the University of Oklahoma on April 29.
Chance the Rapper, whose birth name is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, is a three-time Grammy Award-winner. He has also been vocal about his faith in some of his songs, including “How Great” and “Blessings.”
Chance the Rapper has said that his grandmother raised him in the Christian faith, but that his relationship with Jesus didn’t become real to him until 2015 when his daughter Kensli was born with a heart condition that kept her in the NICU for over a week.
In 2016, Chance tweeted, “Today’s the last day my old life, last day smoking cigs. Headed to church for help. All things are possible thru Christ who strengthens me.” He has also frequently attended Kanye West’s Sunday Service.
Despite his faith, Chance’s songs often include explicit language and adult themes.
Chance the Rapper will be joined at the “Fill The Stadium” event by a lineup including Kari Jobe, Maverick City Music’s Chandler Moore, and evangelist Nick Hall.
Critics jumped on Hall after he announced that Chance the Rapper would be performing at a “student led, gospel driven” event, with some urging Hall to reconsider using the secular rapper.
“Chance the Rapper is a struggling Christian at best. Please don’t use him just to draw a crowd! Not fair to him and sets an unbiblical example,” one of Hall’s Instagram followers wrote. Another asked, “Chance??? Please explain how this is gospel driven?”
Hall shared with ChurchLeaders that for 19 years he has tried to get major secular artists to take part in outreach events. However, “the truth is, most secular artists won’t, even if their fans know about their faith. Because they’re surrounded in an industry that if they’re too public about their faith, it’s a huge risk for their sponsorships or potential job opportunities.”
“In the world we live in, the louder you are about your faith, the more you’re gonna get attacked,” Hall said. “And unfortunately, it’s attacks on both sides—that is what’s happening right now with Chance doing this event.”
“You know, it’s like he’s doing an event that’s a public event about Jesus, a public event with an evangelist, and so that’s not popular for a lot of people who are more mainstream. And then, simultaneously, you’ve got Christians that are mad, because, you know, he’s not perfect,” Hall explained.
This event is the result of a dream among some students at the University of Oklahoma to fill the school’s stadium for an evangelistic event, Hall shared. “Their hearts are seeing their friends come to Jesus.”
Hall said that “everybody tried to talk them out of trying to book the stadium, because the stadium has never been booked for a student-led event before.” In fact, the stadium has only booked two other non-athletic events in the last 50 years. One of those was a U2 concert.