At the intersection of ministry and music sits Bishop Paul S Morton, esteemed worship leader, author and award-winning recording artist. With his final solo album, LEGACY: Live in New Orleans, on Tehillah Music Group/Entertainment One, the co-founder of the Greater St Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans and senior pastor of the Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Atlanta, desires to “reach everybody, in every area, with my gospel music.”
Bishop Paul S Morton recorded LEGACY: Live in New Orleans at his home church – Greater St Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church – to a sold-out, overflow crowd of 2,500, a choir with more than 100 singers and a procession of guest luminaries, including Shirley Caesar, Rance Allen, Tasha Cobbs, Zacardi Cortez, William Murphy III and Lisa Knowles.
Bishop Paul S Morton is preparing for the next phase of his journey, and making room for others by passing on the mantle with his mélange of purposeful, praise experiences. The 15-track offering was designed to uplift and serve, as the passionate leader acknowledges: “If God gives you gifts, I believe you maximise those gifts, because you can meet the needs of people in many ways. God has ways of drawing people and, in the Bible, Jesus says: ‘If you lift Me up, I will draw.’ In my music, when I give Him the glory, He will draw.”
The recording of LEGACY: Live in New Orleans is far more than just a final recording. It represents a transition for Bishop Morton in faith, spirit, mind and body. “In 2006, my body was attacked with colon cancer. That was a difficult time in my life; I had just come out of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I believe in spirituality, that’s number 1. There has to be the Spirit over the mind, the Spirit over the body,” says Bishop Morton. “How is Paul Morton going to respond to cancer? Well, I’ been preaching about it, I’ve been singing about it: if God can heal, God can deliver. So now it’s going to be important for my testimony to be real. Well, I believe God’s Word. In fact, it’s come out in many of my songs, coming through Hurricane Katrina, coming through cancer… I’m still standing.” Bishop Paul S Morton is retiring from recording to devote more time and energy to producing and mentoring younger artists.
Glorifying the Lord has always been one of Bishop’s greatest gifts. Raised in the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) and as the son of a Bishop and Evangelist, music was his special talent. When the Ontario-Canada native transitioned to ministry and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, it was here where his worlds blossomed in every way – ministry, music and marriage. Now approaching his 40th year with wife Pastor Debra Morton, their family expanded to include three children and seven grandchildren, plus an international spiritual and expanded musical family. In creating LEGACY, Bishop Morton collaborated with longtime friend, producer Trent Phillips. Trent not only orchestrated the musical arrangements, along with co-producer AyRon Lewis, but he is also responsible for the vocal arrangements of the 100-person Greater Change Mass Choir, comprised of the Greater St Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church Choir (New Orleans, LA) and the Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church Choir (Atlanta, GA). The live setting added to the audacious sounds, synergy and motivation that comprised the album, sonically capturing the spirit of resilience, faith and lively worship from Bishop Morton’s sold-out live recording in New Orleans.
The culmination of Bishop Paul S Morton’s final recording is an extension of how he lives his daily life: balance. To accomplish all that his schedule requires with music, ministering across two states, and meeting the needs of his family, Bishop is very clear on his process. “Balance is something we have to learn, because I am so focused on our success. I’m not on an ego trip. I surround myself with people who can help take the load off. And I trust people to help me to do that.” Striking that equilibrium is also what keeps the 66-year-old running five miles a day to honour his temple.
Bishop Morton is a self-described “agent of change”. With this LEGACY album and with his personal legacy, Bishop acknowledges: “I want people to feel my love, seriousness and integrity for God. I want to be an example of what retirement looks like, and be known as a Kingdom representative at every step. I want my legacy to be that you can survive after 65. I’m still going to mentor people and pastors. I am still going to write books. I still have purpose.” And, if his past is any indication of his future, it continues to be an exciting time to be Bishop Paul S Morton.
“I want to be one, that whenever I sing I want to be able to minister to people. You know what ministry is? Ministry is about meeting a need. Thank God, the Word comes through song and that’s why I love singing. I love to help people through song, and that’s why I know on this project, whatever need you have… there will be a song on there for you.”
For more information about Bishop Paul S Morton Ministries, visit www.paulsmorton.org