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Interviews : Elder William Murphy

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Elder William Murphy

:: Official Web Site  :: 

To prepare the hearts and minds of an assembly of believers for the presence of the Lord is an unusual responsibility.  It requires full devotion to the condition of souls, an earnest desire to please God and a passionate heart for worship.  William Murphy, III is certainly one of those rare characters, set aside to achieve this divine purpose, so that others from the body of Christ might benefit.

Since the release of his gigantic hit, Praise Is What I Do, this Detroit native has emerged as an authority on worship, ushering in the presence of the Lord, while setting the atmosphere for worship and supplication.  His marvelous ability to minister has been in full effect for the last four years at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, where he serves the 15,000-plus members alongside his pastor, Bishop Eddie Long.   Murphyís ability to invoke the Holy Spirit during divine corporate worship has singled out his awesome ministry as authentically rich in substance and style, adding to his credibility as an anointed and highly revered Worship Leader wherever he goes. 


Elder William Murphy

Recently, William Murphy III released his second and most impressive album to date called, All Day (M3M), solidifying his status as an exciting new artist on the horizon. Some have suggested his vocal range bears resemblance to Tonex, while his undeniable anointing is that of his vocal mentor, Marvin Winans.  But if you asked this humble minister about his prospects, heíd set the record straight and refute his tag as an artist.  Elder Murphy is first and foremost a minister of worship, a worship leader and any other title would be disingenuous. 

After all, his experiences in life have revealed a clear lesson, which is simply this - God has prepared him for exactly one purpose Ė to worship God with everything that is within him.

BLACKGOSPEL.COM spoke with the animated Murphy about his fascinating experience growing up which serves as both inspirational tale and a testimony to those seeking entrance into Godís holy presence.

Christopher Heron: Elder Murphy, you currently serve as the Senior Minister of Worship at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and as the International Director of Praise and Worship for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship.  As you see it, what is the critical role and responsibilities of Ministers of Praise & Worship in this day and age?  And how do you personally fulfill your responsibility that involves ministering to tens of thousands of people at any given time?

Elder William Murphy, Jr.:  First of all, I see it as a heavy responsibility.  Traditionally, the responsibility for preaching has always fallen upon the preacher.  This may be a little controversial, but I believe each assignment, preaching and worship, is a weighty assignment.  Weíre in a place where Israel was, where God was present and would speak to them but the men of God had to have a personality.  Israel had to have a representation of flesh to hear from God.  And now, weíve come full circle, where today people have had enough personalityÖenough ĎKing Saulsí and people are looking to experience that one-on-one relationship with God.  That doesnít necessarily happen during preaching but actually during the period of worship when the people of God can actually commune with God like Moses.  The scripture says that Moses communed with God, face to face. 

There are people that come to our service every week looking to get in the presence of God.  Thereís a difference between a corporate presence and being personally in the presence of God.  Thereís a difference between the omnipresence of God and what I call the manifested presence of God.  God is everywhere, so technically youíre always in His presence.  But thereís another level of presence which I term the manifested presence of God, the glory of God, that third dimension presence.  Thereís a place where we can go to where the glory of God is present.  Our responsibilities as worship leaders are heavy.  The role of the 21st Century Worship leader is a weighty responsibility because our goal is to bring a church into the manifest presence of God.  I am extremely humble that God would trust me with this responsibility to bring a people into His presence, especially where my church Ė New Birth Ė is positioned in the body of Christ. 

New Birth is a forerunner and a standard bearer.  Our church sets the tone for a lot of churches around the world.  So, my responsibility is not an easy job or one that I asked for but God put me here and Iím just doing the best I can.  I try to stay cutting edge but what was cutting edge last year is the standard this year, so you have to be willing to change, be open and not stuck on anything.  One of the greatest lessons Iíve learned from my spiritual father, Bishop Eddie Long, is not to get locked into anything, always be willing to let go, always be willing to hear the next word from God and not be stuck on the last word you received.  So, itís been all wonderful but I donít take any of it for granted.  I guess Iím a living manifestation of that word which says that God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise.  Iím just excited to be a part of what God is doing in these last days on the earth through the ministry of worship and music.      

CH: Youíve labored for the Lord alongside Bishop Eddie Long and Elder Kevin Bond for the last few years.  What are some of the valuable lessons youíve learned in ministry from these men of God and perhaps from others you hold in high esteem?

WM:  One of the greatest lessons Iíve learned from Bishop Eddie Long is how to stay in my lane.  Bishop Long is not well known for his singing but Iíve been pushing him lately and heís been coming out of his comfort zone and the result is incredible.  Iíve learned from this man of God how to stay in my lane, not to be fearful or intimidated about what somebody else is doing.  I know pastors who would likely have an issue with calling me to minister after, before or even while they preach.  This man is so secure in what God is doing through him that heís able to allow me to flow freely in my gift, Kevin Bond to flow freely in his gift.  The only requirement bishop makes is that we stay covered and relative in our role. 

One of the greatest lessons Iíve learned from him is to utilize the gifts of talented individuals around us.  He said something so keen the other day.  He said that if youíre the smartest person in your group, itís time to get a new group.  Iíve learned to surround myself with people whose skills are sharper than mine and who can pull me up to the next level.  Thatís why in worship, Bishop Long has always surrounded himself with leaders in worship like Darwin Hobbs, Gary Oliver, Judith Christie-McAllister, Byron Cage and myself.  Heís always surrounded himself with Ďfathersí in worship, which has helped him to push the worship experience to the next level at New Birth.          

CH: Elder Murphy, your recording of Praise Is What I Do ushered in such an undeniable divine spirit in Gospel music.  The impact of that song is still felt to this day.  Did you have any sense that this song would move the hearts of men and women in such a profound way?  Do you remember the experiences and emotions that went into writing this specific song, at the time?

WM: Brother, thatís funny you should ask that question.  Wherever Iíve gone, people have asked me that same question.  Thereís no way in the world that I ever would have thought that God would give me something that would touch millions.  It was a song birthed out of a crisis in my life.  At the time I had just written the song, I had just experienced a divorce.  I felt like a dead man walking.  I was certain that my days in ministry were over.  I knew that my ministry had just come to a screeching halt.  I felt that no one would invite me to minister and I would lose my anointing.  Thatís why itís so important to have that personal relationship with God.  I told God that thereís no way Iím walking away, because I love God too much but thereís no way I felt I could get on the microphone to sing or preach again.  So, I started investigating what else could I do.  I only had a year of college so I wasnít ready to run a corporation, I couldnít start a business because I didnít have any money at the time. 

I just asked the Lord, what can I do, what exactly do I do?  Then, I asked Him what exactly could I do to support my two sons?  Thatís when those words were birthed out of my spirit.  Praise is what I do.  Thatís the one thing I could do.  I messed up just about everything else but I could still praise you, through the good or the bad.  That song was born at the most difficult time in my life.  Often, people come up to me and tell me that this song has gotten them through some of the most difficult periods in their life, too.  And that to me was such a blessing to hear.  So, God is just so awesome and so unbelievable to take a tragedy and flip it to make the experience such a blessing to so many people. 

CH: Your reputation as a gifted Minister for Worship goes back many years.  What led to your earlier spiritual relationships with Bishop Clarence McClendon and Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. and to your eventual ties at New Birth with Bishop Eddie Long?

WM: Let me tell you what led to those relationships.  It was being faithful to my relationship with my biological and spiritual father, William Murphy, Sr.  A lot of people like to jump ship when things are not going their way.  One of the problems I have within the body is that a lot of ministers do not understand what it means to be a true son.  What it means to be a true son is to allow your father to (symbolically) circumcise you which means that youíve availed your father to all your private areas.  Things you wouldnít show anyone else or tell anyone else, youíre willing to share with your father, so that He can cut away excess flesh and you can be reproductive.  A lot of people donít understand that theyíre not as productive as they could be because theyíre not circumcised and have that excess flesh. 


Elder William Murphy

So, my relationships with Bishop Clarence McClendon and Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. and now with Bishop Eddie Long were born out of faithfulness.  I didnít go to New Birth because I was taking a pay raise or because it was New Birth or because I would work with Bishop Eddie Long.  I went there with the blessing of my biological and spiritual father.  If he had not given me the release to go, I would not have gone there.  And now, I am seeing the fruits of being faithful.  People ask me, what do you tell aspiring artists or ministers and I tell them to be faithful wherever God has assigned you right now.  Itís not because Iíve made all the right decisions or because Iím the perfect man.  Itís not because Iíve always said nor done the right thing.  But one thing I can claim to be is a faithful son and because of that, God has honored my faithfulness.

I was faithful to my grandfatherís ministry for 10 years and to my fatherís ministry for 9 years. This is the season that God is going to exalt the sons and daughters of faithfulness.  If you continue to be faithful and obedient to your father, thereís no limit to what God will do in your life.  Praise Is What I Do, the song, is all over this world because I was faithful to my grandfather and father.  Now, I am being faithful to my spiritual father, Bishop Eddie Long, and who knows what God is going to do for my seeds of faithfulness to his ministry.  The sky is not even the limit.

CH: Your first solo album was a delightful mix of Contemporary Gospel, Praise & Worship and Inspirational music.  What do you have in store for the world in your new album?

WM: Iím really excited about my new album Ė All Day.  The Lord told me that this album would go to the nations.  Then, I received another revelation telling me that the album was going to the nations, both geographically and culturally.  It goes from Praise & Worship, using one of the best Praise & Worship teams in the country to a song called, Hear My Prayer, with a double-clap.  Itís as Baptist a song as youíll ever hear.  I lot of folks know me from Praise Is What I Do or from the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship CDís but people donít know the full scope of what God has given me.  In this album, we went from Traditional Baptist to Contemporary Christian to Rock to Hip-Hop.  The title track, All Day, was written by me and my brother Sammy Davis and was produced by Warryn Campbell.  This album is going to bring you into the manifest presence of God. 

Thereís another song on the album that some people are saying will be the next Praise Is What I Do, whatever that is, called Created To Worship.  It was written when I struggled with money and being a divorcee.  I was facing a cycle that my family went through.  My mother was 15 when she had me and my parents had never married.  I wondered why I couldnít be born into a different set of circumstances.  So, in this song, I share my testimony about being a son of teenage parents.  I speak about how the enemy would want me to believe my life was a mistake but how God assured me that I was created to worship.  Thereís another song on the album called Ignite My Fire where we actually worshipped through the recording of that song for 21 minutes.  Thereís some powerful stuff on this album. 

Note that both my CD and DVD are available for sale on my official web site, www.williammurphy.org.  All the worship is captured on the DVD.  We were at the Megafest in Atlanta a few weeks ago with a kiosk, playing the DVD and people would stop, watch and weep as they saw the manifest presence of God captured on the DVD.  All Day is an album youíll want to play all day.  Thereís something on it for everyone.  Itís a real blessing to the body of Christ.

CH: Most people would assume that your duties to a mega church like New Birth is enough responsibilities for one man.  Yet, youíve found the time and energy to write, arrange and record another album.  What was the driving motivation to release your new album?  Are you just as inspired as an artist, as you are a minister of worship?

WM: My inspiration and motivation for recording the album, All Day, is because I heard God say, ďDo it.Ē  I wasnít under contract to do another album.  As you know, Iím an Independent artist.  I didnít need to make money.  It was the Spirit of God.  The first five days of every month, my church prays at 5:30am every morning.  At the end of that fifth day in February of this year, the Spirit of God told me He was going to release this style of worship Heís been growing in my Spirit.  I was in the middle of negotiations to sign with a label, so I told the Lord I didnít have the finances to do this on my own.  But God said just move by faith and trust Him and so we moved on it.  I had only six weeks to pull everything together.  The Holy Spirit led us to invite five other predominantly Caucasian churches, so it didnít look like New Birth.  It looked like the All Day Mass Choir, like what the body of Christ looks like.  So again, my motivation to release the album was because God said it was time to release this sound to all the nations and so we did it. 

I believe we recorded the right songs for the right season.  I donít think of myself as an artist.  I am a minister of worship or a worship leader, whether Iím at a church or at a stadium.  Iím not an artist; Iím a minister of worship.  Thatís what I do, thatís what I am and thatís what Iím always going to be.   The scripture says that he who wins souls is wise.  That means that if youíre going to win souls, youíre going to operate in wisdom.  So, there are things weíre going to do as ministers to draw attention to us from those who wouldnít normally pay us any attention and make ourselves attractive to the masses and not only to the body of Christ.  William Murphy is not an artist; I am a minister of worship. 

For more information on William Murphy III and his new CD, All Day, visit his official web site at www.williammurphy.org.

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