On Friday, Kanye West dropped his gospel-inspired album Jesus Is King

By Helen Murphy and Steve Helling
October 25, 2019 03:25 PM
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Kanye West is trying to spend more time with his religiously minded friends — including famous Texas pastor Joel Osteen.

A source close to the rapper tells PEOPLE that Osteen, 56, has invited West, 42, to his Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, as first reported by TMZ. The megachurch welcomes as many as 50,000 people per week, according to a 2018 article in the Houston Chronicle — a figure that doesn’t include the estimated 10 million people tuning in on live streams at home.

“It’s true. [Kanye] is very interested in going and spending more time with Joel,” the source says. “They are friends. They message each other a lot. They have deep conversations.“

The insider adds that West “has an open invitation to the church” and will go “when it fits into his schedule.”

“He wants to learn how other churches do things,” the source says. “He wants to spend time with other Christian leaders. He’s open for tips and guidance. This is all very important to Ye.”

Kanye West; Joel Osteen
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Though West’s Sunday Services have become famous this year, the source says that the musician may not perform at Osteen’s church: “I don’t think he’d want to perform, but you never can tell with Kanye. He does a lot of things at the last minute.”

On Friday, the rapper released his gospel-inspired ninth solo album and accompanying IMAX film, Jesus Is King, after months of being more open about his faith. The album includes spiritual-themed titles such as “God Is,” “Follow God”, “On God,” “Use the Gospel,” “Jesus Is Lord” and “Selah.”

During an interview with Zane Lowe of Beats 1 published on Thursday, West explained that he believes it’s his job now to “spread the gospel” and “let people know what Jesus has done for me.”

“I’ve spread a lot of things,” he said. “There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessy had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free.”

Kanye West
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In April, a source told PEOPLE that West is “extremely passionate about his faith and wants to share it more regularly with people,” adding how “he spends a lot of time studying and praying, and wants to share his journey.”

The source continued, “He believes in the healing powers of music, but also believes that God can step in and heal people’s brokenness and their issues.”

As a source told PEOPLE on Thursday, West’s wife Kim Kardashian West is also a fan of West’s transition to gospel music and “much prefers his new album over previous ones.”

“This one is so much more mature and spiritual,” the source said. “Like music that their kids can actually listen to. It doesn’t have any foul language. She loves how Kanye is evolving.”