The Memphis based Church of God in Christ recently elected Bishop J. Drew Sheard to head the over 6-million-member Pentecostal denomination. Among his cabinet picks, he made selection of new leadership to head the Music department with Dr. Myron Williams as President (the first male ever to serve in this capacity in the church’s over one-hundred-year existence) assisted by 4 Vice Presidents, Derrick Starks, Kierra Sheard Kelly, Rosalind Sanders Jones and Ivan Johnson. Award winning songwriter and producer Derrick Starks views the appointment as a major milestone in ministry that spans producing and contributing to the modern day Gospel songbook, writing chart topping songs for Bishop Paul Morton, Dorinda Clark Cole and others while taking Gospel to all the nations for some two decades.
“God is Great, I don’t even know where to begin, I know it sounds very cliché, but what a year it has been for so many of us”, Starks says. “Covid thrust us headfirst into the midst of a crisis and we had to learn how to pivot even in the midst of the pandemic. We had just released the new album from The Whitfield Company on my label, TWC rose to the occasion and the album is even now getting rave reviews. Anyway, our first single was climbing the charts, and then Covid struck with such vengeance. We saw people around us get sick and leave here and many of us asked why and were just left with unanswered questions. I prayed and sought the Lord for direction and the assurance I got from Heaven was to simply trust God. He reminded me that He was an expert at being Master of the Universe, He’s still in control and of all the other times He has sustained His people. I was comforted in knowing that God didn’t need a recess or a reset, He is and will be a present help with 24/7 access to aide us in whatever situations we find ourselves in. We followed the leading of the Lord to start Life Worship Church Atlanta. One of the things that has really blessed me is our ability to be a conduit and help others especially during this time. We are the channel through which the blessings of God flows and we are examples of His love. With all the challenging days that being a pastor has, I am glad there are days that help us feel it’s worth something”.
Starks adds, “Let me also add I love the Church of God In Christ and the music department. I have grown up in this church. Starting with Dr. Bettye Nelson and the Children’s Choir, the incomparable Professor Iris Stevenson McCullough with the Youth Choir and then Dr. Clark with the Mass Choir. We lived for those days. For those of us who know it, Music is an effective tool of evangelism. We are called to spread the Gospel and music is the perfect vehicle. I am blessed. God has blessed me to have the opportunity to lay framework upon a strong foundation. I am so thankful for this chance and celebrate our esteemed leader, Bishop J. Drew Sheard as well as the incoming IMD President, Dr. Myron Williams, who has been a long-time friend and brother. I am committed to continue doing the Lord’s work until He returns.”