Online entrepreneurs are scalping free tickets to rapper Kanye West’s Nov. 17 “Sunday Service” at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church for hundreds of dollars as faithful and fans struggle to find a space in the sold-out 17,000-seat church.
The widely touted concert promoting West’s new gospel-rap album Jesus Is King has been expected to draw “huge crowds,” the Christian Post reported, an estimation corroborated by the frantic last-minute rush to get tickets even at exorbitant prices.
As a typical example, one online ticket-seller identified as @takingpayment is offering four tickets to the West & Osteen Sunday Service for $300 each or $1000 for all four.
Roughly half of the tickets for the Lakewood Church service were made available to church members through a special pre-offer requiring a code, while the other half were offered to the general public.
A spokesperson for the event said that general admission tickets became available from TicketMaster as of 10:00am Saturday morning.
“This is a FREE event, but attendees must have a mobile e-ticket. A FREE general admission mobile e-ticket can be obtained through TicketMaster.com or the TicketMaster App beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16,” the spokesperson said. “Anything other than Ticketmaster would be fraudulent.”
While the church concert will begin around 7:00pm, ticket-holders will be allowed into the church starting at 5:30pm. Attendees will be permitted to start lining up for the event at 4:00pm.
“The evening Sunday Service will include musical performances with Kanye West and his choir. It will be streamed Live on Facebook.com/JoelOsteen, YouTube.com, LakewoodChurch.com, the Lakewood Church App, and sundayservice.com,” reads a statement from the church.
Kanye West, who converted to Christianity this year, is also slated to appear on stage Sunday morning at 11:00am to offer a testimony at the megachurch in the form of a 30-minute live conversation with Osteen.
“Joel is still putting his questions together, but he will talk about Kanye’s journey to his faith,” said Donald Iloff, Jr., a senior executive at Joel Osteen Ministries earlier this week.
“Kanye and Joel are friends. He’s been wanting to come out for some time and it just worked out for this weekend,” Iloff said
Lakewood Church is America’s largest megachurch, and draws an average of nearly 50,000 attendees each weekend, and its celebrated pastor, Joel Osteen, is followed by a television audience of some 10 million people.
Osteen and his wife, Victoria, are both “excited” about what God has been doing through West, the Lakewood spokesperson said.
“We’re excited. It’s really neat to see what God is doing in Kanye’s life. Joel is very excited, Joel and Victoria. It will be a fantastic weekend,” the spokesperson said. “It’s going to bring a lot of people who have never been to Lakewood as well. Kanye has a big influence on the culture.”
Earlier this week West brought his Sunday Service to inmates in a Houston, Texas, jail.