Donnie McClurkin opens up about his broken past and the music God gave him
By May Olusola
Three-time Grammy winner, producer, songwriter, radio show host, actor, and pastor Donnie McClurkin hosted the Perfecting Music Conference in Dallas in late October. McClurkin founded PMC and takes it to different cities in the United States, presenting music workshops—as well as a job fair with career services and 400 openings at major corporations. PMC also hosts a health fair and classes, all designed to minister to people spiritually and naturally. The two-day event was crowned with an evening service at Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church in Garland. In between workshops, McClurkin opened his heart to MannaEXPRESS, talking about his purpose, his past, his music, and his relationship with God.
How did you come up with the Performing Music Forum?
Kirk Franklin, myself, CeCe Winans and a few of us always talk about how God has blessed us. We all come from meager backgrounds, broken lives and families, and always wondered why God took us to where we are today. Now that God has given us so much, we are obligated to prepare the stage for the next generation. We have got to give back what has been given to us, because we cannot keep this position always. I need to make a platform for others and to use what God has given me the right way.
How do you feel after visiting each city?
Most times discouraged because of the poor attendance. I am struggling to understand why the lack of unity, fellowship, camaraderie exists among church leaders. At lot of that is always on my mind. I could do like others do and come on my celebrity platform and circumvent leadership, because you know people will come in a heartbeat--but it is outside the jurisdiction of a pastor. I want to go through the leaders, and what I have found in doing that is that when the leaders don’t push or promote, the people become afraid to cross the line. I just want to kick-start this and leave the rest to the pastors without being the focus of it.
Do you have other charities you’re involved with?
We have a prison ministry, a work release program for prisoners that come out, missions in Jamaica, West Indies, and we are starting something in Japan and Turkey. We feed the hungry in the community. We have a royal Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless four times a year where brand-new items and lots of goodies are given out. We also have “church without walls” for 11 straight weeks every summer with 1,000 people inside the church and 3,000 on the outside. God said, “What if people never change--will you love them the same away? If the homosexual, the drug addict, the rich, the gang-banger never gives up to receive Jesus, will you stop loving them? Is your love conditioned to when they become like you? Is your love unconditional? If it is not, do not try to represent me, because that is not me.”
I know a bit about your story, but I’m curious as to when you started experiencing Christ.
July 14, 1969, at 9 years old. I was born and raised in church. There was a benefit for them taking me to church from birth. [He starts sobbing.] You don’t know what kids pick up, and all my years of going to church from lap baby had become a part of me. You cannot immerse a child in anything without it going into the core of it. If you put a child in a positive environment it will have a positive impact, and if you put a child in a negative environment it will have a negative impact. I was raped at 8 years old by my uncle, but it was too late because they already had me in church. Though the rape caused homosexual desires and activities as my years went on, it was too late because the seed of righteousness was inside and they had trained up a child in the way that he should go.
Through the activities, the falls, sex with more men than I can count, there was always the haunting still small voice reminding me, “This is wrong; this is not God.” Everything that happened negatively happened too late, so it could not cause irreparable damage because the seed of righteousness got there first.
God is so wonderful. He took me on a journey. Life became remarkably significant after I lost all my childhood through 20 years of struggles. I lost a lot of time, but thank God. God told the prophet, “I will restore the years the cankerworm, the locusts, and the caterpillar destroyed; I will give it back.” Those are not idle Scriptures but genuine prophecies from God. And He gave me back all those years, everything that I lost - He gave me a name, time, and a purpose. He redeems my family, gives us our heritage, our lineage, and now at 51, my life is no longer full of pain, struggles, and turmoil. I am on the best journey that He has ever taken me on.
I see so much brokenness and humility that is lacking in Christian leaders.
Anybody who knows God has to be humble. You know who knows God by how they act. You know a tree by the fruit it bears. You cannot know God and not be humble. It is impossible. You don’t have to call me Pastor--my name is Donnie. I don’t need a position. I don’t need a limo, extravagant clothes, lavish hotel suites, and a jet. This suit I have on cost only $120. Humility comes from knowing God. When you know God, you can’t help but be humble because you are nothing before Him.
You have written a lot of inspirational songs. Where did the inspiration come from?
Again, it is Him--it’s Him. In Psalm 42, He said, “And His song will be with me in the night time”--He puts the song in you and asks you to sing it to Him. When you get the approval from the King, the song takes on a different life and meaning.
When I finish singing, I back away to the shadows so Christ the hope of glory can be seen. You cannot put a check in my pocket to sing your favorite song. I am a maestro for the Lord, not a jukebox. He gives me the song, it impacts me, and He says give it back to me. It blows my mind that God wants to hear me sing.
By May E. Olusola is the Publisher of MannaEXPRESS
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