Donnie McClurkin – Essence Interview March 2009


In an article appearing in Essence this past March Pastor McCLurkin is quoted as saying:

“As pastors, we have to link arms and have bi-partisanships. The [Black] church has always been the face of the community. Now we have to take on the responsibility of becoming true servants to the people from all walks of life. I get so mad when I see these pimpin’ preachers driving Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, flying around in their private jets, and making it seem like prosperity and money is the way of God when 90 percent of your congregation is on Section 8 or can’t figure out how they are going to keep their lights on or feed their kids. I’m big on perception, and what would it look like for me to live so lavishly if the people in my church are struggling?” says Pastor McClurkin in the article.”


In venting his frustration over the behavior of some in the church community, Pastor McCLurkin reveals his own humility and sense of service to God and God’s people, by outlining his own relationship, financial and otherwise, with his church and his refusal to take revenue from a congregation that he has built from the ground up.

“I’ve done great in gospel music, and only a few of us have accomplished what I have, and guess what? I live in the ‘hood, not some place on the outskirts of the ‘hood. There ain’t no gate around my house; I have a white fence because the people I pastor live in that community. I have one vehicle and it’s not a

Mercedes, it’s a Lincoln Navigator. I don’t receive a dime—not an Abraham Lincoln copper coin—and haven’t for the last seven-and-a-half years because I’m okay.” he tells Kenya Byrd of Essence Magazine.

As such, Pastor McCLurkin has become a model and an example for others to emulate. His mentality and actions, that places a greater emphasis on service than profit, can only be admired by all of those who love the Lord and are seeking to do his will to the best of their ability. Pastor McCLurkin makes it clear that he has options, but chooses to live a modest and humble lifestyle because that what God has called him to do.

If I wanted to buy a Phantom or Bentley I could and not hurt my pockets, but I’m okay with what I have. I can sing and work and I let all that money go back into the church so we can buy the delicatessen on the corner, or the house next door to make it state-of-the-art low-income housing. We’ve trained our people to put their leaders on pedestals, and some people want to live vicariously through their pastor and say, “My pastor has this and he’s on television and so on,” but then what do you have? How have you prospered and grown? So when I hear other pastors say, “My people take care of me,” I’m thinking, But you’re supposed to be taking care of the people. I just don’t get it. Pastor McCLurkin goes on to say.

What is best gleaned from the wisdom and honesty of Pastor McCLurkin is his healthy attitude about the church and who it belongs to. His “ecclesiology”, which is worthy of our consideration, perhaps best represents what Christ had in mind when he gave pastors to the body of Christ in the first place.

I don’t have a church, but I do have a church that I pastor. I can’t name something the DonnieMcClurkin Temple because the people do not belong to me and if they did that would mean I have slaves. I am simply a vessel to deliver God’s word. At the end of the day, it’s God’s church, not mine, advises Pastor McCLurkin.


5 responses to “Donnie McClurkin – Essence Interview March 2009”

  1. RiverAngel42 Avatar

    We are sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time. I know when I moved to the south I found myself having a similar problem esp. when I went out on my own looking. It seemed like I always found a church that lacked the home town feeling that I longed for.
    Eventually I asked a co-worker what church she attended. By doing this I was able to find a church that has been established for over 100 years and while large has a very rich family and community history. I’ve been a member every since.

    Don’t give up, stay prayerful! There are still churches out there led by Good Pastors who are concerned with the spiritual growth and development of their communities and congregation. Rev. McClurkin is not the only one :).

    Be Blessed

  2. Kay Star Avatar
    Kay Star

    Thank God for Pastor McClurkin. I can’t find a church to attend in Charlotte, NC because every pastor here is so bent on outdoing the other that it sickens me. Who has the biggest church, who takes in the most money, who drives the newest car – they all should be ashamed. Some of them have even been indicted and gone to prison because of their greed, and yes, the people in this area are struggling. Some pastors still have the nerve to ask for more money, a large, special love offering, a one-time offering, but only until the next time they ask. Father, help us all!

  3. That is a nice article. He has a profession other than the church, some ministers it is their sole profession, I think that makes a difference. His thinking reminds me of your Grandfather.

    1. I beg your pardon…!
      Preaching is not a profession….It is a service.
      That is the very problem pastor McClurkin is tallking about. Too many pastors have taken this service to be a profession and want to be paid for it. They have “pastor anniversary offerings”, “Pastor’s wife offerings”, and rely on the congregation to finance their home, car, and lifestyles while the congregation can often barely make it from payday to payday. Go to your bible and see what a pastor is. The deciples were the original pastors and it was their charge to go out and teach the masses and heal the sick. I can’t find anywhere in the bible where they were to be paid.

  4.  Avatar

    Props to Pastor McClurkin. I think our communities would improve greatly if we had more pastors willingly to live off of less.

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