Say hello to John McClure Jr. As the 5th runner up on Season 2 of BET’s “Sunday Best”, John is simply living out his destiny. Staying true to the title of his debut album, its evident that John McClure Jr. was “Born to Worship”. I took some time out to talk with John, we invite you to listen.
So Divine: Hey John! I see you’ve been keeping busy. What have you been up to?
John McClure: I actually just recently finished a play called Tell Hell I Ain’t Comin’. It was my first acting debut and this particular debut was something that I was definitely looking foreword to. I met a great number of people that I was very happy to meet and work with, and learn another part of the arts. So I’m happy with what God is doing and I’m just continuing with that.
So Divine: Is that something that you see yourself doing for a long time, as far as acting?
John McClure: Acting? Yes. Music as well, yes. I have to say yes to both. I find myself spreading my wings a little bit, and I see myself doing this longer and actually making a career out of it because I don’t want to just do this just because it’s something to do. I want to be an example, and I want to make sure that anything that I put my hands to becomes something that’s glorifying God. So the answer is definitely yes.
So Divine: When did you realize that you were called to ministry?
John McClure: I realized it a while ago but I just kept running from it (Chuckles). I guess it kind of dawned on me last year; August 14th to be exact. In 2009 I left corporate America. While working there I was a little frustrated with the things that were going on, but God told me it’s not even about you, it’s about where I’m taking you and where I’m placing you. And so I really heard his voice during that transition, and it became then when God really spoke and said Ok, I called you for a certain reason I called you out of this place, and now I want you to do the things that I called you to do. So that’s when I knew I was called to ministry, and I haven’t looked back since.
So Divine: Why were you running?
John McClure: It was a number of things. I was afraid of what could happen [as a result of] not getting that actual steady paycheck; because I am a husband first, and I have to make sure that my household is taken care of. I want to make sure that all bills can be paid ‘cause you know, I gotta take care of business! (Laughs) At the same time, I think I was afraid in really trusting God, but I had to trust him and totally depend on him in order to make things work. I had to consult with my wife, to make sure she was ok with it. I don’t want to do things out of my own will; I wanted God’s will to be glorified. And that was the most important thing.
So Divine: Your motto is “A Worshipper without Compromise”…- did I say that right?
John McClure: Yes, you did.
So Divine: What do you mean by that, or what does that mean to you?
John McClure: Well the Bible speaks of how Jesus said to worship him, and those that worship him must do that in spirit and in truth. I find myself as someone who will worship God when things don’t look right. I will worship him when things are good. I will worship him in spite of because he is God. That’s what worship without compromise is. I’m talking about sacrificing myself beyond all other measures beyond all other cares and really concentrating on him, worshipping him in the truth and knowing that he is God. It’s like no holds bar for me right now. It really is.
So Divine: What does it take to get to that level?
John McClure: Prayer and listening to His voice. When He speaks I listen, and I make certain that I put myself in the right alignment with Him.
So Divine: What sets you apart as a gospel artist?
John McClure: I guess my whole approach to the gospel industry. If God doesn’t get the glory I can’t really move. I’m not an entertainer. What separates me is pureness of heart. I really love God. I really do. Whoever reads this, I just want them to understand, that when they hear John McClure’s ministry that he’s singing from a place out of relationship, singing from a trueness of heart, from being healed, from being delivered, or whatever the case may be.
So Divine: You were on the BET series Sunday Best. Tell us what was your reason for going and what did you take away from that experience.
John McClure: Honestly, I wasn’t even gonna go. I wasn’t gonna do it. My wife kind of convinced me in going. I filled out the application the night before, and auditions were that Saturday. I went to DC early the next morning thinking there won’t be a lot of people there, but there were thousands and thousands of people. I remember it being freezing cold. I wasn’t dressed appropriately. I had on a blazer, a shirt, and some jeans. I stood in line for hours and hours and kept going through the process of each panel of judges. I got the call to come back on Sunday and then they said “Put on your Sunday Best!” They booked a flight for me and asked me what airport I wanted to fly out of. I was kind of shocked that I was going through all these preliminary’s, but God already saw if fit for me to be on the show. It was a great experience with 19 contestants, 20 including myself. We shared the stage with numerous people like BeBe Winans, Tina and Erica Campbell from Mary Mary, Donald Lawrence- he was my mentor and vocal coach-the list goes on and on. That whole experience just taught me that, you know, I can do this. I made it to the top 5, and God shared with me then that He put me on this platform for a reason; because he wants me to share the good news. There’s a reason why I didn’t win; I believe He took me as far as I needed to go. That was my experience and I won’t take it for granted at all. I made great relationships, and all of us still keep in touch. We had some great singers. I mean great singers. If we really preach the message and do what we need to do, and live a life of integrity, the gospel industry will not lack. I’m sorry; I’m preachin’ (laughs).
So Divine: No that’s Fine! That’s what we want! But why weren’t you going to go initially?
John McClure: Because I was just like ‘Competition? I don’t need to be doing this.’ I didn’t really feel up to it. Then I got convinced. And it worked out.
So Divine: Which brings me to my next question – How do you feel about people saying that singing gospel shouldn’t be a competition?
John McClure: Well, you know what? Sometimes there are forms of entertainment that need to be utilized in order for people to see the body of Christ at large and to understand what we’re singing about. So there are different mediums that have to be expressed in order for people to realize who we’re singing about. Or ‘What’s this God I hear you keep talking about’? Personally I’m not a competition type of individual. I believe God makes the room. You know, He says in his word “Your gift will make room for you, and bring you before great men.” So I’ll tell anybody, I’m not big on competition, but I know that there is a medium or a platform for it. Now, there are those individuals that take it to the extreme, and that does bother me as a gospel artist. But I gotta know what my purpose is.
So Divine: Well I hear that! Earlier you stated that you were married, and I just want to know, how do you balance your family and your ministry; because I know that a lot of people get too caught up in ministry and sometimes unknowingly, they neglect their families. So how do you balance that?
John McClure: Well the amazing thing is that my wife is my manager. We keep a lot of balance that way. I want to make sure that those who are a part of my ministry are close to me. So we kind of made the decision to have her go ahead and be my manager, and it works out. Now, at times it’s funny because its like, okay, you have to speak to my wife in regards [to my career], but she knows how to separate the two which is a good thing. And also when I travel, I don’t travel by myself a lot. She knows she can’t always come with me, but if I’m going to be away for more than 2 or 3 days, then I would normally want my wife to be with me. So we balance it like that. We don’t have any children yet so that may change once we have children; but I still want everybody to keep it in the same perspective.
So Divine: When is the album coming out?
John McClure: Okay, the album should be out by the end of this year. I am praying to the Lord! Pray with me! The single I’m looking to have out by the summer. I’m working really hard to get that. I would say probably early fall the album should be out.
So Divine: Why are you so convinced by this gospel?
John McClure: Why am I so convinced by this gospel…that’s a good question. I’m convinced first and foremost because of who God is. Secondly, I know what God can do, I know what I’ve seen him do, and I believe in what he does. There are things that to this day is beyond me. I’m like ‘God how did you do that?!’ That’s why I’m so convinced by this gospel.
So Divine: Do you have any words of encouragement for our readers who may say you know what, this life is a lot harder than I thought, and I think it’s easier for me to throw in the towel. What would you say to that?
John McClure: I would tell them don’t. Don’t throw in the towel. God is not slack concerning his promises. There’s a song that I wrote, it’s called “Stand” and the verse said “God did not create you to break your heart”. So I would say to that man or woman, that boy or girl that mother that father, don’t give up. Understand that God is a faithful God. Really believe in him, pray and seek his face. My guarantee-and I bank on this- is that once you seek him, that’s when he shows himself.
So Divine: Do you have any regrets in leaving your every day life to do ministry?
John McClure: Not at all. Absolutely not.
So Divine: Are you being honest?
John McClure: Yeah I’m being honest (laughs). You know what? I’ll say it like this; there was a moment where I had some doubts and I was like okay God, I don’t see it happening. When is this going to happen. I looked at it like, ‘Well God, you said in your word that you will supply all of our needs according to your riches in glory, so if I can’t trust you, who else can I trust?’ Why do I keep trusting in man, and you said it in your word? When you speak His word back to Him, it can’t return unto Him void. So I was just like alright God, I trust you. It’s almost like you have a ball in your hand, and you ball it up into a tight fist, and you stretch your arm forth and say “Okay God, do it!” But you’re still holding on to that ball with a tight grip. I had to really let it go. After I got over that, (laughs) I can truly say I don’t have any regrets and I’m not looking back I’m actually just going to move foreword and do what I need to do because this is why God has called me. Now, will there be times when there will be struggles and will there be times where there’ll be pain and disappointments? That goes without saying. But I really feel that at this point in my life I want to do things that are pleasing to God.
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