Listen: Laura Bennett chats to Rich Wilkerson Jr about his new book, Sandcastle Kings, and his friendship with celebrity couple Kim and Kanye West.
He officiated the wedding of Kim and Kanye West, he pastors the rapidly growing Vous Church in Miami, he’s an author and world-travelling preacher, and he and his wife Dawn-Cheré feature in a reality TV show, Rich In Faith.
Rich Wilkerson, Junior sure has his plate full.
Hope Media’s Laura Bennett recently caught up with Rich to ask all the questions you’d probably want to ask him yourself.
Being Friends With Kim And Kanye
Celebrity couple: Kim and Kanye West were married in 2014 by Rich Wilkerson, Jr
The famed pastor has come into the spotlight since marrying Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in 2014. But he said he never planned to become friends with the celebrity couple; rather that God simply brought it about.
“We don’t have a strategy to reach celebrities,” he said. “It was never ‘let’s figure out how to meet these people’. I think it was really divine appointments that God brought about, and they continue to be our friend. God’s just opened up relationships and we just try to steward them.”
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Rich and his wife Dawn-Cheré have been both praised and criticised over their friendship with the Wests, but the pastor is unapologetic, saying that Christians are called to follow Christ’s model of friendship.
“I think we need to be engaging every space,” he said.
“I just want to be a person that is known as a good friend for people like Kim and Kanye or any one of our friends. And what you see about Jesus is that He was definitely a good friend in all sorts of different spaces at different times.
“So I think when criticism comes, I think I don’t want to be critical to the critics. I want to try to respond, and realise, they’re not trying to be mean or bitter, I think they’re trying to understand.”
The Message Of ‘Sandcastle Kings’
Watch: The promotional trailer for Rich Wilkerson Jr’s book, Sandcastle Kings.
In 2015 Rich published a book titled Sandcastle Kings, whose cover artwork was created by Kanye West. The book is based around Jesus’ parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock, and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.
He said the book’s key message is that Jesus came for something “much much deeper than just morality”.
“We can’t prevent storms but we can prepare for storms, by making sure that we build our life on Jesus.”
“Jesus came to change you from the inside out, and He really calls us to be a brand new creation in Him,” he explained. “I really hope people find encouragement as they discover life is full of challenges, but there is a God who promises to walk with us through every one of those challenges.”
The book also shows how trials come to everyone in life.
“In life, wisdom doesn’t prevent storms, being a Christian doesn’t prevent storms, knowing God doesn’t prevent storms. We can’t prevent storms but we can prepare for storms, by making sure that we build our life on Jesus.”
In his promotional video or ‘trailer’ for the book, Rich explains “Jesus came not for a makeover but for a takeover”.
The Fast Growing ‘Vous Church’ In Miami
In the spotlight: Rich and Dawn Cheré Wilkerson
In his chat to Laura, Rich also talks about his marriage to Dawn-Cheré, and how together they started a small young adult service called the Rendezvous, that has now grown into a church of thousands called ‘Vous Church’.
“We believe you can belong before you believe, and you can belong before you behave.”
It’s a church known for its culture of raw honesty, and for the hundreds of people who are coming to Christian faith through its influence.
“Vous Church really is just a church that’s about meeting with Jesus and connecting with people, and we want to be a church that helps people who are far from God connect to God,” Rich said. “We believe you can belong before you believe, and you can belong before you behave, and that faith is a journey.”