Hey Everyone!!! I am so excited to present to you this interview with Elder Johnell Nicholas! The first time I heard this man was in a youtube video, where he and his group "InSpirit Ministries" performed at Hezekiah Walker's choirfest during the stellar awards weekend last year. While watching the video, you could literally see the atmosphere change, because of the anointing that rests upon this group. Ever since watching that video, I have been a humongous fan. Johnell is an amazing person who is humble and ministry focused. So without further ado, I present to you my interview with Elder Johnell Nicholas.
How did you begin your music ministry?
I started music ministry as a child in my family church, and as a teen joined Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago...that's where the gift of music was honed in me. From there I grew in music ministry and was nurtured and matured while serving as a choir director and worship leader for several churches and choirs within the Chicago area.
What has been your greatest accomplishment since starting ISM?
I would have to say witnessing the people of God be inspired, encouraged, strengthened, healed, delivered and edified through worship while we ministered. It's a very humbling thing when God sees enough in you to use you for His Glory.
What do you believe is the separating factor between you and ISM and other gospel artists?
One of my main goals was to have a ministry that consisted of people who not only were gifted in music but also had a heart for God, worship and lived the life we sung about. Living in obedience to God's Word and His expectations of us is something I often emphasized and encouraged and it was demonstrated every time we ministered. I would always say we are "walking stages"...meaning what we minister in front of the people on stage reflect the life we live when no one else is watching.
Since you begun ISM, what has been your goal ministry wise?
To reach people through pure, genuine and authentic worship. That's really been my only goal. God favored us to release a CD project April/2012, and through that project and even before then, we were blessed to bless the people.
As minister of music for the very Pentecostal Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the front man and leader of ISM, how do you balance those two very time consuming roles?
Great question! (lol)....Recently, after some serious prayer and guidance, I made a very difficult decision to discontinue ISM and focus solely on the responsibility entrusted to me by my awesome Pastor (Elder Eric Thomas). Serving as Minister of Music for a historic church can be tedious at times, but it's humbling and an honor and I want to make sure while I'm graced to serve in this capacity, that I do it to the best of my ability. Prior to ending ISM, there were times where it became a little too much trying to balance my church's three services (11am, 3pm and 8pm every Sunday), my Pastor's speaking engagements and ISM's engagements, but I thank God for my Pastor and his covering me and being a great support during those times where I had to be absent due to an ISM commitment.
What things do you personally do to maintain a successful relationship with God?
I try my best daily to maintain a consistent life of prayer, Word study and worship. Of course at times, it's met with challenges and attempted distractions, but nothing in this earthly life is worth risking a broken relationship with God....so that keeps me connected as well...the desire of not wanting to lose the fellowship with God.
Who are your mentors and what has been the greatest things you have taken away from them?
My number one mentor is my mother (yes, I am a momma's boy....lol)....her calm and sweet personality is one that I try to portray everyday. My mother also taught me to appreciate the smallest things in life, keep God first and never focus on things that don't matter or that I can not change. My next mentor would definitely be my Pastor Elder Eric Thomas....he is a true spiritual father and covering. He lives what he preaches and never change....He is a holy and humble man and most of all, he genuinely loves God's people...I try my best to walk in his footsteps and live out those same characteristics in life and ministry.
Musically who are your greatest inspirations behind you and your sound?
There are a few....Judith McAllister, Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, J.J. Hairston, William Murphy and William McDowell.
If you could relive one moment over to either live again or make different choices or decisions what moment would that be?
Whoa....Now this answer would take a whole lot of space...lol...I would sum it up by saying if I could rewind time back some years and do somethings differently, Lord know I would!...but since those times have come and gone, I've learned from them and I'm determined to never repeat some of the moves, choices and decisions made in the past.
What scripture is the theme for your life?
Several! But I would say Romans 12:1-2 and Joshua 1:7-8 and Jeremiah 29:11 and.....well, that's enough for now....lol
When can people expect to hear new music from you and with your next project and what advancement should your listeners expect?
With me no longer having the group, I'm not sure when new music will be released...I know there's more for me to do, but I'm seeking God for what's next. It is my Pastor's and my plan to record our church choir in 2014, and that project will consist of something for everyone....traditional/churchy, contemporary, and praise and worship. Whenever God releases me to do something else personally, I'll continue to stay in the vein of praise/worship probably more so with a prophetic touch this time around..."songs of the Lord" have been flowing lately (Glory to God) and I would love to record those moments and release to the people...
What advice would you give someone who is being called into a form of music ministry from God?
"TRUST in the LORD with all thine heart and lean NOT to your own understanding...in ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE GOD and HE WILL DIRECT your path." If you seek God, let Him direct your path, stay humble, never get the big head, always give God the Glory and live a life pleasing in God's sight, you will not be steered wrong!
Where do you envision your ministry in the next five years?
Within five years, if I'm not still serving in music ministry capacity at my church, I maybe pastoring...I know eventually God would have me do so but I am in NO RUSH for that to happen! Lol!
If someone wants to contact you to have you minister at their event how can they go about that?
Though I no longer have the group, I do accept ministry opportunities and go alone or with a small group. If anyone is interested, please send all ministry inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can someone purchase your music out right now?
Johnell Nicholas & ISM (InSpirit Ministries) "Declaration John 4:24" is still available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Music, Rhapsody, CD Baby, etc...please go download today. You will be blessed!!
As we all can see, Johnell Nicholas is an amazing man of God. Even though Johnell and InSpirit Ministries are no longer a unit, with the level of anointing on his life, I am more than sure that this will not be the last of his musical endeavors, so let us continue to support him!
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