BISHOP JOSEPH W. WALKER III
(Nashville)—Bishop Joseph W. Walker III will succeed Bishop Paul S. Morton as Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Morton, who will retire in 2015 and founded FGBCFI 20 years ago, made the much-anticipated announcement in Louisville, among thousands of FGBCFI Conference attendees and a worldwide television viewing audience. The appointment, which was determined by the votes of the FGBCFI Bishop’s Council, sends a powerful message of trust and respect in Walker, the 45-year-old proven and successful leader.
“I’m humbled and thankful by this God ordained responsibility and opportunity. I’m so grateful for the confidence Bishop Morton and the Bishop’s Council have shown in choosing me as the next presiding bishop. Certainly, I am committed to the positive future of the fellowship. I will continue to work hard each and every day to insure that the mission and vision established by our founder is fulfilled. We will remain strong, committed and undivided during this transition,” said Bishop Walker.
Bishop Walker pastors one of the largest churches in the United States, Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, which has grown from 175 members in 1992 to more than 28,000 members today. Mt. Zion Baptist Church is one church, with three locations, offering 30 plus ministries for social and economic enhancement of the Nashville community and abroad.
Named as one of the top 20 African-American pastors in the country by TheRoot.com, Bishop Walker sits on noteworthy national boards, including the board of the American Red Cross, and holds a Governor-appointed post on the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. The influential leader, while preaching seven services per week at Mt. Zion Church, has an international Internet, television and radio ministry reaching hundreds of thousands around the world.
Bishop Morton presented Bishop Walker to the anticipating conference attendees with gracious comments. “I appreciate dedicated people. I thank God for the 21 spirit-filled men of the Bishop’s Council. We listened to God for an answer as to ‘who should be the next Presiding Bishop,’” said Morton. “Trust me and the people God has assigned to my life, this was not a political process. It happened through much prayer. I thank God for His faithfulness. Bishop Walker is a man of character and integrity. The hand of God is upon his life. A new anointing is on his life for this moment and for this time. I ask Full Gospel to extend the same kind of respect to him, as you have given me. I’ve watched his ministry. Please trust my faith in God with this assignment. I believe he’s [Walker] going to take us where we need to be.”
Bishop Walker will assume his role during a season where the church culture is wrestling with an array of challenges and negative media surrounding it. An astute, spiritual motivator, Walker has turned tragedy and hardship into triumph and testimony: in 2005, his first wife passed away due to cancer; in 2007, his home was destroyed by fire; and in 2012, a flurry of baseless and unmerited lawsuit allegations were filed against him. The adversities have tempered Bishop Walker to be a leader prepared to lead a movement. In 2009, Bishop Walker remarried; in 2009, Bishop Walker’s home was restored; and in 2012, the lawsuit allegations were dismissed 100 percent by the Tennessee Judiciary.
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