Pastor speaks on Kanye West, faith ahead of Sunday Service shows

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SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) — A surprise for event organizers, conference attendees, and fans of Kanye West — his Sunday Service show is coming to Pigeon Forge this weekend.

The Grammy-winning rapper-turned-gospel singer told Strength to Stand Youth Bible Conference creator Scott Dawson he wasn’t thinking about coming, he was.

RELATED: ‘It’s really a God story’: Kanye West puts spotlight on Pigeon Forge

The conference itself sold out within days of the headline announcement and a second Sunday Service show was added with tickets available to the public.

In East Tennessee, a student pastor at Seymour First Baptist Church says West’s name on this weekend’s event is giving Strength to Stand the attention, he believes, it deserves.

“It’s interesting to see, I’m interested in seeing what the Lord is doing with Kanye. I’m excited for Strength to Stand to get that publicity and notoriety,” said Jason Vineyard.

Vineyard will be attending his eighth Strength to Stand Conference this weekend. He’ll be taking a group of 18 students ranging in age from seventh grade to seniors in high school.

“Anytime you do something like this, you want people to be impacted by the Kingdom of God, you want people to fall in love with Christ and to see that there’s a God out there that loves them and cares for them,” said Vineyard.

He says he knows there are critics of West’s change to faith-based music, even those who doubt West’s sincerity. He’s not concerned, he says, if it takes West to teach about God for some to listen, that’s worth it.

“What the church does in reaction to Kanye, the rest of the world is watching,” said Vineyard.

Students, like 10th grader Logan Tull, are excited for the weekend of events. Not specifically West’s performance, but the chance to learn about God from anyone.

“It sounded like it was a really huge thing, because he was famous… it’ll be interesting to see what happens,” said Tull.

West and the Sunday Service Choir will perform twice on Sunday, Jan. 19 at The LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. The first performance, for Strength to Stand conference attendees begins at 10 a.m.

The second performance is at 3 p.m. and open to the public. Tickets are still available online.

Clear bag policy is enforced.

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