There’s a tendency toward unbelief within all of us, so it’s not surprising so many are casting a cynical eye on rapper Kanye West’s seemingly sudden come-to-Jesus moment, but really, it’s been in the works for quite some time.
Adam Tyson, senior pastor of Placerita Bible Church in Santa Clarita, California, has started making appearances at West’s eye-catching “Sunday Service” events across the country, where he’s shared an unfiltered Gospel message. While his presence on the stage is new, Tyson has been working with West for a while now.
The California-based pastor recently talked with Billy Hallowell on “The Pure Flix Podcast” about the entertainment mogul’s newly revealed faith and what it’s been like to work alongside the celebrity, who grew up around Christianity and whose father — a former Black Panther — became a faith-based marriage counselor.
“[West] would say he knew about the things of God. … He said he was running from God,” Tyson explained. “[T]he first time I talked to him the first Sunday in June, he told me, ‘I got radically saved five weeks ago.’ I said, ‘Kanye, what happened five weeks ago?’ He said, ‘I was just under the weight of my sin and I was being convicted that I was running from God, and I knew I needed to make things right, so I came to Christ. I came out of darkness into the light.’”
Tyson, who leads a church with about 400 congregants, said West quietly attended Placerita two times in May, slipping in and out without much attention drawn toward him. When West returned a third time in early June, though, he waited in the back for the opportunity to talk with Tyson, who told Hallowell he and the rapper had a 15-minute conversation at the end of that service.
After that, Tyson and West began meeting together on a weekly basis. Their first meeting, Tyson recalled, lasted a few hours.
“I spent about three hours just going through the Gospel, making sure he understood clearly about the atonement of Jesus Christ, that God is holy, that we are sinners, that Christ came to die in the place of sinners, that by repenting and believing in him, we can have eternal life,” the pastor remembered. “And [West] was like, ‘Hey, man. I told you I’ve been radically saved; I believe that message and I wanna get that message out to the world.’”
Soon thereafter, Tyson started leading a Bible study every Tuesday night, where, in addition to West, anywhere from 20 to 50 people would attend. The minister told Hallowell he would preach a brief message and then open the floor for questions.
Tyson soon learned West purchased a ranch in Cody, Wyoming, so he figured their time together had come to an end, but he was wrong: West was eager to continue learning Scripture and knew he needed discipleship this early in his faith journey. The rapper began flying Tyson out to Wyoming every Tuesday so he could continue their weekly gatherings.
West has been flying Tyson to Cody for the last four weeks.
“He’s so excited about studying the Bible,” Tyson said. “How can you say no?”
For those who are skeptical or unbelieving, Tyson essentially said it’s important to take West — just like we would with anyone — at his word. Until he offers a reason to not believe he’s been transformed by the Gospel, there’s no reason to doubt his faith. In addition, Tyson said he’s “seeing a lot of fruit” in West’s life.
“The fruit that I’m seeing is he’s no longer continuing in some of the sin patterns that he was before he came to Christ,” Tyson explained. “Right now, every day, he is living and walking with God, so from what I can tell, there’s no reason for me not to encourage that and be a part of that.”
“I’ve spent enough hours with this man,” he continued, “to know God is at work.”
You can listen to the remainder of their conversation above.