This past weekend, producer and actor Tyler Perry was the main speaker in all three services at Lakewood Church. Pastor Joel Osteen invited him to share his testimony and encourage attendees to never give up on pursuing their dreams. He has previously been seen visiting the church alongside Oprah.
Many people appreciate Tyler Perry and are inspired by his success. However, for some observers, him being the main speaker at a church worship service (essentially, a guest “preacher”) was a bit too much for a very specific reason — his relationship with Ethiopian-American model Gelila Bekele. He and Ms. Bekele are not married but have a son together named Aman.
One Lakewood church member wrote on Facebook: “I support my church and will be in attendance this weekend. I have no doubt that Mr. Perry is gifted and talented as an actor, writer, producer, director, humanitarian and whatever he does in his business world. My problem lies in what is ‘known’ about his life. He is supposedly living in a lifestyle of fornication with the mother of his child. This opens the door for all kinds of spiritual implications for him and the churches who give him a ministerial platform.”
Another commenter said, “I think the church leadership needs prayer since they’ve allowed Tyler Perry to speak at church knowing he is living with a woman who isn’t his wife.”
On the other hand, some expressed support for Perry on account of his message. One person who attended the service wrote, “It was great getting to listen to Tyler Perry this morning at Lakewood Church. He shared his story with us and encouraged us to always look to the Lord during our most troubled times. Why: God is and has always been the sacrifice for the troubles that you go thru.”
Another wrote in comments on a church blog, “It was great having Tyler Perry with us today at Lakewood Church. His story is heartfelt and authentic. I thoroughly enjoyed Tyler Perry in all 3 weekend services. Tyler’s encouraging word was Climb and Maintain correlates to Pray and Worship.”
Watch Tyler Perry and Joel Osteen from one of Lakewood’s weekend services below.