Tyler Perry visits Lakewood Church to talk about faith, childhood and film ‘ministry’

Credit: Jamie McCarthy

Credit: Jamie McCarthy

There’s something people may not know about mega-entertainer and film and TV mogul Tyler Perry.

On Sunday, Perry shared with a packed audience at Houston’s Lakewood Church that he once went to seminary to become a minister.

His first sermon, though, didn’t go over so well. He determined his “ministry” might lie outside the church walls.

His ministry today is in his movies and television shows. Although he’s a Christian, Perry said his movies may run the gamut from sci-fi to R-rated, but they will always have something in common: a “message of hope that people can take with them.”

The topic of his message was “Climb and Maintain.” He cited Scripture, Genesis 22 when Abraham was tested when God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

He talked about how people can be tested, but that God is preparing them.

Perry, who has family in Houston, is longtime friends with Senior Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, who serves as co-pastor.

Perry and Joel Osteen took some time for a brief conversation before his speech.

Osteen recalled telling Perry that every time he looks at him, “I think of Madea. I can’t help it.” He remembered asking Perry  during a radio interview  when he was coming to Lakewood.

Perry answered in his familiar Madea voice that she would be there as  soon as Osteen “get a smoking section” in the back, next to a bar “and we’ll sit there all day and listen to you.”

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Perry talked about his difficult childhood as he and his mother were verbally and physically abused.

“I was a child born to two wounded parents and they were wounded children themselves,” he said. Perry said he used to crawl under the  porch and make up stories to ease the pain.

“The little boy’s imagination is where the man goes now to feed his dreams,” Perry said.

Perry also spoke about the difficulty of making it in the business, which he now understands was God testing him.

He also talked about his studio and how he buried Bibles at the gates so people are blessed going and coming as they drive over the Word.

RelatedTyler Perry defends pal Joel Osteen from criticism after Hurricane Harvey

The audience included U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and the Rev. William A. Lawson of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

Last year, Perry  took to social media in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to defend Osteen from criticism that the church failed to immediately open its doors to those seeking shelter in what turned out to be unprecedented flooding.

In fact, Tyler pledged at  the time that he would  give $250,000 to Osteen’s Lakewood Church to help buy supplies.


Perry, as well as Lakewood Church officials, said there were safety concerns immediately after the hurricane.

At the start of Sunday services, Osteen told those gathered that the day was going to be “a spiritual reboot.”

He declared that people were not going to leave the church, the same way they came in. There would be “more joy, more faith and more victory.”

RelatedPhotos from Tyler Perry's show at the Fox Theatre

Perry has often spoken about his faith and recently penned a spiritual guidebook called, “Higher is Waiting,” and had a 2017 tour, "Higher Is Waiting: A Conversation with Tyler Perry, "that included a stop at the Fox Theatre.