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'There Was a Time When the Devil Had Me': Kanye West Ministers to 12,000 at TN Youth Conference

Image Credit: ABC News
Image Credit: ABC News

Kanye West and his Sunday Service Choir performed at the Strength to Stand Christian youth conference in Pigeon Forge, TN over the weekend.

West stepped onto the stage and powerfully spoke the lyrics from "Jesus is King," "Follow God" and "Closed on Sunday."

Standing before more than 12,000 students, West proclaimed, "I believe Jesus died for my sins. There was a time when the devil had me," The Christian Post reports.

"Do you know the good news? Jesus can save a wretch like me," he continued. Along with his choir, he sang the words, "I stretch my hands to you/Father I stretch."

The event featured big names in the Christian sphere, but when Kanye announced he was bringing his Sunday Service choir, interest went through the roof and the free event was booked to capacity within minutes. 

Other performers included Hillsong Young & Free, Lecrae, and Jonathan Edwards.  

Since 1994, Scott Dawson and his organization, the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, have held Strength to Stand in Pigeon Forge. 

Dawson explained that he discussed the conference with West 10 weeks ago after needing a replacement for John Crist, the former headliner for the conference.

He said that some people discredit the rapper's conversion to Christianity but he is certain that West is a fellow believer.

"I don't know what's going to happen in his life. I don't know what's going to happen in my life. I don't know what's going to happen in your life. But I am firmly convinced I'm speaking to a brother in Christ," Dawson said. 



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Altogether, 17,000 students took part in the three-day conference - the largest gathering to date. Dawson said that on the first night of the event, more than 400 students dedicated their lives to Christ.  

"We're just humbled that we were able, through a divine orchestration, to deliver a cultural icon like Kanye West and the transformational power of the gospel," Dawson said. 

Kanye and his gospel group have been making headlines with pop-up services at places like Coachella, an appearance at Lakewood Church with Joel Osteen, and most recently at the Lincoln Center with an opera called "Mary," describing Jesus' birth from the perspective of His mother.

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