There was no news media truck outside; or any media for that matter. No photographer. No local personality Event Host. Not even anyone to announce he was coming to the stage to start the meeting. But at 7:30 pm on the dot, out walks Grammy award winning and Top 5 Gospel selling artist, Tye Tribbet. With a simple smile, wave to the audience and mic in hand; he says hello and promptly begins praise and worship. At first, all those who had decided to attend this meeting – where he planned to share his new church vision- may not have known what to expect. However, as the sincere praise continued, and Tye and his praise & worship singers belted out “We give glory to God…,” it didn’t matter at that moment. With each song, from “Let Us Worship” to “You Are Everything” the energy was electric, overtaking and…it just felt…well, right.
And so did the rest of this meeting taking place on Wednesday night, at where The Kingdom Church formerly used to gather, in a somewhat obscure neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Orlando. After what felt like an impromptu mini-concert, folks let down their guards and sat with anticipation, waiting for Tye to lay the foundation for what would be him and his family’s new church plant in the city of Orlando. A simple post on his social media called for people living in Orlando to come out no matter their age, race, talents, gifts and interest to hopefully help build a multi-cultural team and network that will make this church vision, come to life. Many answered that call, even if just out of curiosity (or hopes of being a background singer in God’s Anointed), and there was only standing room in the mid-size church once the meeting started.
Planting this church is not a career rebound move for the preacher and artist, as he is still very much in the thick of things, where the music industry is concerned. Nor is it something he plans to do on his own, as it is clear his First Lady, Shante’ is ready and willing- along with supporting family and close friends. According to him, he was called and convicted to build this church, all while still being blessed to be on the upswing of his career. Just when he thought he was moving to the Sunshine State to relax and explore a new city, it would seem The Lord had something very different in mind.
Starting around October of each year, Tye starts praying about the following year and seeking God’s will for his life and for his family. He even goes through the Bible, reading the chapter and verse that corresponds to the upcoming year, to see if the Lord has a word for him that may jump out and quicken him. Well, in 2014 that happened. While still living in Houston, TX in a situation that was starting to feel like oil and water, he was longing to know the next step; the next move. While reading Genesis 20:15 (for the year 2015), he saw this verse: “Then Abimelech said, ‘Look over my land and choose any place where you would like to live.’” For most, this was just yet another verse in the middle of a Bible story, but for Tye this was life and his permission to move wherever he wanted to with his family.
Him and his wife sat and discussed the possibilities. With her family spread out all over Florida, and him remembering how much he loved the diversity he saw and energy he received during his House of Blues tour performance in Orlando; it seemed ordained that Orlando was that place they would choose to live. It didn’t hurt either that the sunny Orlando weather, was just as beautiful, and less hot then the Texas heat; and that he would still have his beloved Wawa on every corner to quench his convenience store desires. So in June 2015, with his wife and daughters on board, he made the trek from the West side to the magical city where dreams come true.
Growing up as a “PK” and in a family full of pastor’s and ministers; it almost seems inevitable this would be his calling. While music is a passion that exudes from him beyond the shadow of a doubt, preaching the Word comes just as naturally. In fact, the meeting seemed more like a sermon during certain moments and you could envision him on a pulpit; boisterously giving the Word. After years of having full out church services prior to choir practices, maintaining the “Word On The Street” street ministry in his hometown Camden, NJ for 3 years and serving as a Youth Pastor in Houston, TX it would seem all of that was simply training for a moment like this.
In this moment, today- Tye hears the Lord telling him that the city of Orlando has “dry bones” (referencing the story of the dry bones God brought back to life in Ezekiel 37) and it needs to breathe fresh air… a shock treatment of some sort. There is so much talent, beauty, greatness in the city which seems to have been snuffed out by boredom and the lack of real opportunities. He believes the Lord is calling him to help breathe life into the city, and he wants to do that at his church called Live Church, where you won’t just go to church, but you’ll go to live! He wants to speak life into the city through his Live ministries, not just focusing on the spiritual aspects- but all aspects that make us who we are. His hope is that this meeting is simply the first ripple that will eventually make a wave through the city of Orlando and beyond.
But it’s not about him; it’s so much bigger than him…and he knows this. Prayerfully though, September 25th, 2016 is when his family anticipates this vision will all begin. In the mean time each Wednesday night at their 7:30 pm meetings- leading up to that date- he is looking to build a team who is down for the cause. The work has only just begun, but something tells me that Orlando may need to make some breathing room.
Writer- Shani Lodge