To bring more youth to church, you simply have to show them love and be authentic with them according to Tyrone “Tye” Tribbett, American gospel music singer, songwriter, keyboardist, choir director and founder of the Grammy-nominated and Stellar Award-winning gospel group Tye Tribbett & G.A. (Greater Anointing) as well as the founding pastor of Live Church in Orlando, Florida, where he says they strongly believe in the “love first” principle.
Before anything, at Live Church, Tribbett says they want everyone to know that they are loved by them just as they are loved by their heavenly father. He says this is the attitude and mindset towards everyone who walks through the doors of Live.
“We see all the old people there [at church, but when it comes to young people] the first thing is – you’re doing this, take the earring out, stop wearing that, you look like a floozy. Love ‘em,” said Tribbett who brought the gospel and the house down on the second day of the 14th Jazz In The Gardens (JITG) Music Festival in the City of Miami Gardens.
“And most churches don’t keep it real. They’re not authentic. They just want money or their churches filled. Some people don’t care about none of that. I just want to love people and help people and we going to keep it real.”
Tribbett said authenticity and love are two things that youth are drawn to which is why he said gangs become attractive to them, because they feel accepted and they keep it real.
“You love ‘em and you keep it real with them, they will be drawn to that,” said Tribbett.
Tribbett founded Live Church after 20 years in the music industry and their motto is simple: “My Life, His Way.” According to the pastor at Live they exist to “breathe” new life into the city of Orlando by empowering a passionate Christ-culture of worshippers through excellence, truth and love. Tribbett said this is done through relevant teaching, encouragement, invigorating and demonstrative praise and worship and unbiased love for all people.
And just what made him want to do a church after 20 years in the industry?
“Twenty years in the industry,” he said.
“It’s hard. Industry is the industry – gospel or hip hop. The industry is still about the work, so it’s still sharks in the pool of gospel music too. But I was convicted. We moved to Orlando just to enjoy our lives, and I started feeling the vibe in the area and I was like whoa, they need our testimony, to hear what we need to say. So, I had a little interest meeting and it grew. After almost two years it’s incredible what God has been doing because of our testimony. Anytime you’re in Orlando come check us out. The church is called Live and I promise anything dead in you is going to come back to life.”
Tribbett has a number of testimonies which he’s not afraid to share. He said not until you have testimony do you realize you have the power of God in your life.
He recalled his pastor parents getting a divorce when he was and adult, which made him go “whoa” even though he knows divorce is almost common to hear now.
“I was like they’re going to hell for getting a divorce. Things happen in my life and my life shattered, but that’s when I really knew God.”
He encourages people to embrace their testimony.
“Embrace when you are weak in one season, but now you’re strong. People need to hear that you were once vulnerable, but now you’re confident. They need to hear that you were broken but now you’ve got it all together. Don’t be afraid to share in your story.”
He’s even put what he’s gone through in song. “He Turned Me” was about he and his wife Shante, who was a member of Greater Anointing going to get a divorce.
“I was living in L.A., she was in Jersey, we were separated … I committed infidelity – it was over. We was done; the marriage was done. The only problem with our divorce plans – I was talking to God over here, she was talking to God over there and God kind of brought us back together, so I do know that there is hope. Even after infidelity God can heal, so that’s where that song came from. God turned it around, and he can turn it around for anybody. I’m a witness. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
With a number of popular songs to his credit – “Bless The Lord (Son Of Man)”, “What Can I Do”, “Work It Out”, “If He Did It Before … Same God”, “You Are Everything”, and “Victory”, across multiple albums, Tribbett is a success by any stretch of the imagination. But he says in today’s social media climate that the definition of success is a little distorted, and that he tells young people that he mentors to redefine success, as it’s not what people around them are saying.
“I would encourage people to be content and you will make it and not even realize you make it, because the process will be not just a destination.”
And for those grandparents and great grandparents who are still holding on to an image of the gospel of their youth, and hold steadfast to the train of thought that it is the way the Word should be heard, Tribbett says things change.
“As the world evolves, we’ve got to change the method not the message. Don’t look at the presentation – look at what we say. Read the words on the album – if the message is the same then we’re serving the same God.”