In between Kanye West’s sets during an impromptu, sold-out show in Detroit last week, a lean figure with a blonde pompadour took the stage and preached the gospel.
“I’m here to tell you that while our God is the judge over the universe, he’s also a God of mercy and he’s a God of love, and he sent his Son to die on a cross because he loves you,” said Adam Tyson, a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and the pastor of a small Bible church. “He wants to be exalted in your heart today.”
His 12-minute sermon focused on the prophet’s vision in Isaiah 6. It’s weird to hear a sermon at a Kanye concert, but then again not that weird if you’ve been following Kanye’s Sunday Services. These gospel music and fellowship gatherings that started among his family, friends, and elite guests at his Calabasas, California, estate, grew into a type of concert experience for the Jesus-seeking artist.
On the road with the rapper as he performs Sunday Services to promote his next album, Jesus is King, Tyson believes God is “being exalted and people are being moved.” The audience is receptive to his sermons, he said, and he has received positive feedback after the shows.
“I came to hear Kanye,” one fan told Tyson. “But then I heard the message of forgiveness from the Bible.”
From Yeezus to Jesus
Tyson’s ministry career took an unexpected turn the day Kanye happened to visit his congregation, Placerita Bible Church in Santa Clarita, California. The 43-year-old pastor has found himself not only discussing the gospel with Kanye, but thrust into the hip hop artist’s circle, flying to Cody, Wyoming, for Bible study with him and his employees, and to tour stops to preach alongside the lineup of gospel and soul music.
Tyson sees Kanye’s Christian music and gatherings as totally genuine. Kanye is on a mission to share Jesus with the world, Tyson told CT.
While Christian fans have dissected Kanye’s faith throughout his career, a recent claim that Kanye is no longer producing secular music made headlines and sparked more conversation online. Kim Kardashian, Kanye’s wife, teased the Jesus is King album in August on social media with a picture of a setlist including songs titled “Selah,” “Through the Valley,” and “Sweet Jesus.”
Kanye’s latest show on September 29 also included a sermon by Tyson and took place on a Sunday morning at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Queens, New York. One Sunday Service singer told a Page Six reporter at the concert that Kanye is “a real born-again Christian. His heart is 100 percent in the right place.”
Swapping a suit for skinny jeans
Placerita Bible Church is a modest Los Angeles area church with an average attendance of about 350 people, many of whom are affiliated with nearby conservative Christian liberal arts college, The Master’s University, where Tyson teaches biblical counseling. Tyson also received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry at The Master’s Seminary.
Tyson said that Kanye was invited by an employee who attends Tyson’s church to visit, and he did. After the service, they chatted for a few minutes and set up a meeting for a week later. They walked through the whole gospel, including passages such as John 3:16 and the Romans Road, concluding their conversation with a discussion that shifted away from justification and more toward sanctification, Tyson said.
Kanye has attended church in more traditional settings before, including Rich Wilkerson, Jr.’s Miami Assemblies of God church years ago (Wilkerson has also preached at Sunday Service and married the Wests in 2014). Wilkerson has previously told CT: “There’s not a strategy or a network. It’s just, ‘Let’s befriend people.’ The goal is to be like Jesus, and I think Jesus would show love and grace to anybody in his path.”
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Source: Christianity Today