Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Wedding Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. Praises …

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Rich in Faith’ brings young pastors to reality TV spotlight.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As a MTV executive, Rod Aissa helped develop “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica,” the reality series that peered into the lives of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Wednesday), live on 30th and Biscayne Boulevard, so they witnessed the action of Art Week up close. “I dominate Citibike,” he said of the bicycle rental stations. “I’m the guy holding up traffic on U.S. 1. But during a recent promotional visit to Chicago, the Wilkersons also seemed very happy they now have split off from Rich’s father’s ministry in Seattle to launch their own mega-church in Miami.

EST Wednesday) features Rich Wilkerson Jr. and his wife DawnChere, both 31 and offspring of ministers, as they launch a youth-oriented Miami church and grapple with balancing work and home life. But viewers will see a softer side of our town, not the flashy metropolis featured in say, Real Housewives or Million Dollar Listing. “We get asked why we are doing this because we’re not reality TV fans,” said Rich. “But love it or hate it, it’s the language of our culture. Rich — known in celebrity circles as the man who officiated the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian — said launching a church in the early 21st Century is not without its challenges.

And for us it’s another great platform to encourage and help people.” In each half-hour episode, cameras capture Rich and DawnChere amid their daily routine, which includes moving away from working at the pastor’s parents’ Trinity Church in Miami Gardens and mounting their own church called VOUS in Wynwood. While there may be a common impression that younger people don’t attend organized religions’ churches in the numbers earlier generations did, Rich Wilkerson said, “I think our generation today is discovering authentic, real, transparent experiences — faith-based and otherwise. “So when people talk about millennials, there’s always those buzzwords —’Let’s be relevant’ — but I think relevancy comes down to authenticity. Vous, the church the Wilkersons are founding, has a certain glitz of its own, with music, dance, strobe lights and fog machines added to appeal to their generation.

How the duo came up with the name is kind of interesting and slightly ironic: It’s short for “Rendezvous,” a popular Tuesday night service for young adults at Trinity. “As it grew — from 12 to well over 1,000 people — we found out pretty quick that no one knows how to spell it and they would Google the word and all kinds of weird things came up,” said Rich, laughing. “Everyone started calling us the VOUS and before we knew it it had a life of its own.” Drama? They take their ministry to the street as well, meeting people on their own ground. “So often it’s really easy, especially for people of faith, to sit around and report negatively about the status quo of where our nation is or where entertainment is,” said Rich Wilkerson, author of the newly published “Sandcastle Kings,” which includes a blurb from Kim Kardashian West (Wilkerson’s optimism and “passion for the Word of God are contagious,” she said). “Our idea was to do something that’s encouraging, that’s positive out there. Rev Rich (as he is known) officiated their Italian wedding in May 2014, but the new parents will not make an appearance. “I’d rather be the person that lights a candle instead of cursing the darkness,” Rich said simply. “Of course, everyone’s life has drama, but all things have a resolution.” “You’ll see she’s not always so kind to me. A number of shows are based on families for whom religion is a visible part of their lives, including UP’s “Bringing Up Bates,” in its third season.

Others focus on the clergy, among them Oxygen’s “Preachers” franchise that started in Los Angeles and moved on to include other cities. “Preachers of LA” was criticized by some African-Americans ministers who said the show could foster the inaccurate idea that preachers are in it for fame and wealth. Hollywood’s fascination with pairing reality and faith has dubious roots, said Dave Johnson, a film and TV writer-producer (“Against the Grain,” ”Doc”) and a Parents Television Council advisory board member. “It’s like the old circus, with the sideshow tent,” Johnson said. “They’ll use little people, they’ll use Christians, they’ll use tattoo people. Her husband made it clear, “I preach God’s word, but when it comes to injecting ourselves into God’s messages, let’s just not show one aspect of who we are, let’s show the full gamut: the good, the bad, even the ugly.” “I often think the ones where I shared doubts, where I shared fear, where I shared anxiety were the ones people could relate to. He had yet to see “Rich in Faith.” It demonstrates “how our faith and relationship with Jesus is really the greatest influence in every part of life, whether marriage, at work, with friends and family,” she said. Thanks to a youthful friendship with entertainment journalist Jason Kennedy, the couple came to be friends with Kennedy’s longtime colleague at E!, part-time Chicagoan Guiliana Rancic and her husband Bill — themselves no strangers to the world of reality TV.

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/lynn-elber and she can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber

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