It might sounds like a cushy gig, but it’s a lot of work chasing celebrities.
That’s what 25-year-old Dylan Novak does for a living: he seeks out where big-name (and small-name) celebrities are going, and tries his best to meet them there, all so he can share the Gospel with them.
When he was 13 years old, Novak told Faithwire, he was “the biggest superhero/comic book nerd in the entire world.” So when a comic convention came through Knoxville, Tennessee, he told his parents he had to go. Eager to meet celebrities who played his favorite superheroes, Novak said he started watching all their movies and shows, and when that well ran dry, he turned to interviews.
He found an “Oprah” episode with the late Margot Kidder, who became famous for playing Lois Lane in the “Superman” film series. At the time, she was talking to the host about her role in a little-known Christian movie from 2000 called “Tribulation.” Asked by Oprah what the movie meant to her, Novak recalled, Kidder said “absolutely nothing,” admitting she was an atheist.
“I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, because that’s when reality hit me that Margot Kidder is just like you and just like me and just like everyone else — she’s a soul on the way to heaven or hell,” Novak said. “And at that time, she was on her way to hell.”
After watching that conversation between Kidder and Oprah, Novak said he felt “burdened” to share the Gospel with the “Superman” actor. So he grabbed a few tracts from his church, and headed to the convention. He went on to share Scripture with Kidder two times before she ended her own life in 2018.
What does it look like now?
The Virginia native said his ministry has since expanded past comic book events. These days, a lot of his encounters with celebrities are “in the field,” meaning he keeps an eye on concert venues, speaking engagements, press appearances, and red carpet events, and waits outside backstage doors, near hotels, and at airports, hoping to steal just a few minutes with the celebrity he’s spent hours, if not days, tracking down.
Since he went full-time in 2015, Novak has met more than 500 famous people, including President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Steve Martin (“Pink Panther”), Stan Lee (Marvel), Kate Flannery (“The Office”), Duane Chapman (“Dog the Bounty Hunter”), Charlie Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”), Pete Davidson (“SNL”), George Takei (“Star Trek”), Bret Michaels (Poison), and many others.
Novak’s most receptive encounter to date, though, was with Jerry Lee Lewis, whom he met earlier this year. The pioneer of rockabilly music told The Guardian in 2015, “I worry about whether I’m going to heaven or hell.” Ever since he read that interview, Novak said, he had wanted to meet the 84-year-old entertainer. He was able to do just that in February.
“When I was talking to him, the first tract he pulled out of the gift I had given him said, ‘How to make sure you’re going to heaven,’” Novak recalled. “He lit up like a Christmas tree, and he told his wife, ‘Judith, he knew what I needed.’”
A week after their conversation on Feb. 18, Novak said he received a letter in the mail from Lewis. In it, the singer told Novak he had “accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.”
“It’s so crazy to see how God can open these doors,” Novak reflected.
Another notable encounter for Novak was his conversation in September with rocker Bret Michaels, whom he has met twice. More than anything, Michaels told Novak he “love[s] that you truly, genuinely care about me.”
“So many people are constantly asking celebrities for something, whether it be money, or an autograph, or a selfie, or whatever,” Novak said. “It’s like, ‘What can they do for me?’ Instead of, ‘Hey, I’m here because I love and care about you and your soul.’”
What does the future hold?
Novak said he plans to continue raising support alongside his soon-to-be wife, Morgan, whom he proposed to in October, so they can continue the ministry full-time.
“Morgan has the greatest evangelistic heart of any woman I’ve ever met; she has a humongous passion for lost souls,” Novak said of his fiancée. “She has brought a whole new life to the ministry.”
Novak has big hopes for their work, explaining he’d like to have every Bible personalized with each celebrity’s name embroidered on the cover.
“There’s a lot of events every single day,” he said. “I could truly be somewhere chasing somebody every day, but for obvious reasons, I can’t do that — our funds limit that.”
Before he became a Christian, Novak said he wanted to research every major religion because “forever is too long to be wrong.” Novak knows now he couldn’t be sharing the Gospel with all these celebrities if he didn’t believe it himself, noting his work has challenged him to pursue “a deeper understanding” of Scripture.
“It’s an accountability, because it doesn’t matter where you are, your life is a witness — whether you’re a thousand miles away from home or a thousand feet from your front door,” he said. “If someone hears you professing that you’re a Christian, your life better back it up.”