Jaye Thomas is the sort of guy you want to be friends with. He’s incredibly inviting, seriously talented and naturally cool looking. Jaye is also a singer, songwriter, and worship leader who has been a household name among the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) community since moving to Kansas City in 2008.
I recently made friends with him (good for me) and he was kind enough to answer our questions. I love his approach and his honesty. Enjoy:
1. Lots of racial tension/issues/conversation in American recently. What’s your take?
The thing is this: Racial tension is not new. It’s actually an age-old problem. It’s not even new in the church. In fact, the apostles spent A LOT of time talking to the church about racial tensions of the day. It was mostly the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans. It was even an issue that Jesus himself had to confront and discuss with the woman at the well in John 4 when she immediately made it a race issue. My take: I suppose I should have much to say being a black man in a mostly white ministry world and having grown up in the south and experiencing racism first hand. But my identity isn’t FIRST as a black man but as a Son of God. So with THAT perspective, I think the church has a LONG way to go in confronting these issues. Strides have been made but there is still much discussion to be had.
2. You’re sitting in front of a gay friend who’s inviting you to do worship at his wedding… You say?
If you heard the podcast I did a bit ago on Christianity and homosexuality, then you know that I’ve come from that lifestyle so it’s a subject that I am passionate about. While it is NOT the anthem or soundtrack of my life, it is something I care deeply about being confronted in the church. I have many friends who still live a gay lifestyle. Should I be asked by one to sing in their wedding my answer is simple. My reason is not. My answer is “No”. My reason is because I don’t do weddings. Period. At all. Not even straight ones. LOL. But another (and the primary reason) is because by singing in or participating in a wedding on any level, is to not only co-sign the union but to commit to stand with the couple in a biblical way to as to ensure the eternality of the union before God. Since “marriage” was God’s idea and is therefore something that is Holy to his heart, I can’t personally say that I agree with the idea of “gay-marriage”. If a couple want to be together, FINE. But why does it HAVE to be called marriage when it’s not by standards of the creator of marriage? I would commit to love them both and walk with them in friendship for LIFE but being that i have to personally account for my own life, with personal conviction I can’t sing at a gay wedding.
3. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done as a worship leader?
If you are asking what is my most embarrassing moment as a worship leader, that’s EASY. Believe it or not, FALLING ASLEEP DURING A WORSHIP SET! Yes. It has happened. More than once I might add. In my defense, I am part of a worship ministry that operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week. At the time, I was part of the night shift (from midnight until 6am) and I was leading worship onstage around 3am. I was still adjusting to that schedule and I simply fell sleep during a spontaneous song and apparently went into a deep enough into sleep that I was dreaming. I don’t remember the dream but I DO know that I woke up TALKING INTO THE MICROPHONE and said something like “boy, you better stop that! She is going to get you!”. Not only did the entire room hear me but so did the countless thousands who were watching by webstream. Good times.
4. Tell me about being part of IHOP KC? Best and worst about it.
Being part of IHOPKC has been one the best and hardest assignments of my life. Be best part is 24/7 prayer and worship 365 days a year. The worst part is 24/7 prayer and worship 365 days a year. It may seem glamorous or lofty to make 24/7 work with about 600 people but I can assure you, it gets monotonous very quickly. But it’s SO worth it. Also, just being part of a community of people really going hard after God day in and day out is insanely inspiring and brings my faith to life beyond the church pew.
5. You get invited to do a song at the inauguration of the next president. Tell me, who is that president and which song will you do? 🙂
Yeah. I am NOT even going there. I have NO idea who that president is or the song. lol.
6. How do you balance travels, music, family, ministry?
It’s a dance that is NOT easy to balance for sure. I have 3 kids and they are at 3 of the most demanding ages (1,3 and 17. Yes. I said 17). But luckily, I have a wife who is wonder woman in secret and she carries our home with incredible grace while I’m away (and while I’m home quite frankly). Music and ministry are my life and the hardest part is making time to have my own heart sung over and ministered to. It’s easy to get super man complex in music ministry. I’m reminded every day that I am WEAK and need to be ministered to before I even have anything to offer the world.
7. If you could infiltrate the iPods of everyone involved in ISIS, which song and which sermon would you upload for them?
I think the song would probably be “No longer slaves” by the Helsers because SO much of what this terrorist group is about is setting fear in the hearts of men. It would bold to make a statement to them that we are NOT slaves of fear because we are children of the MOST HIGH GOD! And I don’t think I’d send a sermon but rather a video of other muslims who have had radical encounters with the man called love -Jesus himself and how he won their hearts and turned hatred into love for him.
8. What does the perfect church look like?
The perfect church looks like the broken church who is aware of her brokenness. The greatest expressions I have seen of the church in a local congregation are those where jacked up people, who KNOW they are jacked up, love the jacked up and walk together toward the God is not far away but near to the broken. It was the humility of Christ that made him not only approachable but effective in his ministry on earth.
9. Anything you wish you would have said differently on the Podcast “Homosexuality and Christianity”? (Link below)
I wouldn’t have said anything differently but I would add more clarity to the statement -“… be the church to homosexual community..” in that i would have given more depth of what that can look like. I think it starts with simply learning to SHUT UP and not feel like we have to have all the answers to every question. It’s a complicated issue but with a simple answer: the blood of Jesus. He knows best how to minister to, change and transform a heart. He can do in a moment what years of preaching, and inner-healing can NOT do. I’m excited to see the church simply be the arms of Christ to the homosexual community. Literally. Just shut up and hold them as they talk, cry, laugh or whatever.
9. Favorite show on Netflix?
Easy. Sherlock. The British one. Its GENIUS!
10. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
Not that I wrote great songs or had a great voice. I want to be remembered as one who loved well. Loved God, loved people.
* Last spring Jaye sat down with my friends Jonathan Puddle and Benjamin Jackson for their Revival Magazine Podcast to chat about how the church at-large is struggling to respond to homosexuals in love and grace andholiness. The pendulum tends to swing from complete acceptance of people as they are (with little regard to change), to destructive hate piled upon homosexuals in the name of Christ.