Bishop Walker was born in Shreveport, Louisiana to Deacon Joseph and Rosa Walker. He is married to the former Dr. Stephaine Hale, who is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Vanderbilt University. Both agree that their most joyous accomplishment to date has been the birth of their daughter, Jovanni Willow Walker, who was born in May of 2012.
Bishop Walker received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds two honorary Doctorates from Meharry Medical College and Southern University respectively. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity.
In 1992, at the age of 24, Bishop Walker began his pastorate at Mt. Zion with 175 members. Presently, the ministry has grown to over 30,000 and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate of over 2,000 souls per year. Under his leadership, Mt. Zion’s ministry has expanded beyond its original location on Historic Jefferson Street to seven weekly services in three physical locations and also includes a worldwide virtual church location www.mtzionanywhere.tv which ministers to millions around the world, as well as the Word Network that reaches over 88 million viewers worldwide. In April 2006, his leadership also expanded to Jackson, Tennessee where the Zion Church became the first church plant of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Vowing never to abandon the Mt. Zion neighborhood/Jefferson Street area, Bishop Walker launched the New Level Community Development Corporation (NLCDC) in 2001. The NLCDC is committed to low-and moderate-income families and to community economic development. He states that the Mt. Zion Ministry will continue “to turn over the stone of economic irresponsibility . . . by investing in programs and by partnering with outside agencies to bring about a change.”
Bishop Walker’s philanthropic efforts shifted to a new level when he and his wife founded Drs. Joseph & Stephaine Walker Scholarship Fund. The Scholarships are made available through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and are given to assist people achieve their academic dreams. It gives thousands of dollars each year to deserving students and also awards a scholarship in the name and memory of his late wife, Dr. Diane Greer Walker.
A prolific writer, “Bishop,” as he is fondly called, is the author of nine books. He and his wife co-author book number eight, Becoming A Couple of Destiny. His latest book, RESET: Make A New Start, Walker explains how the eight “R’s” (Reset, Return, Review and Recalculate, Reclaim, Redirect, Reinvigorate and Revive, Reinvest, and Reinvent) will revolutionize your relationship with God. With theological wisdom, insight and a pastor’s heart, he shares how to return to God and find a new beginning through faith in Him.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Bishop Walker sits on noteworthy boards, including the Board of the American Red Cross, Citizens Bank and in February 2016 was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of Meharry Medical College. In early 2013, The Root.com named Bishop Walker as one of the 20 Top Black Preachers in the country, and most recently, EBONY recognized him on its “Power 100” list as one of the nation’s most influential African-American leaders.
His inspiring messages make him a sought-after university commencement speaker. An authority on having “the spiritual connection” in marital relationships, Bishop Walker is a regular guest on the Rickey Smiley Radio Show as well as a host of other nationally syndicated radio shows that reach millions across the United States. He also has been a guest on CNN, The CBS Morning News, The Roland Martin Show and B.E.T. and authors a monthly Op-Ed in the Tennessean Newspaper entitled Reset. Never ceasing to try new things, he was featured in the world premiere of the film Black, White and Blues, directed by award-winning Mario Van Peebles.
Deeply concerned about America’s youth and young adults, Bishop Walker is the visionary behind Mt. Zion’s Youth & Children’s Ministry, which includes the Judah Generation Youth Choir and its debut album entitled Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III Presents Judah Generation. Likewise, he is the visionary behind Mt. Zion’s Kid-Zone—a youth-centered facility for youth worship, tutorial services and outreach—and behind Mt. Zion’s College Ministry, which provides to thousands of college students a positive environment for academic adroitness and spiritual growth.
In 2014 in the wake of the social unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Bishop Walker galvanized the city together and founded Nashville Unites. It is rapidly becoming a national model of collaboration in addressing issues that divide communities. Nashville Unites partners with those in the community working toward positive change and provides strategy and real solutions.
Throughout his life and ministry, Bishop Walker has demonstrated a caliber of leadership well beyond his years. Recognized as a man from humble beginnings, he is a teacher, humanitarian, philanthropist, businessman, community volunteer, husband, father and pastor. Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III, is the International Presiding Bishop of Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, which consists of hundreds of churches across the globe that is connected together by common theologies of the church experience. This is an anointed man of God whose voice is calling for national and global leadership that enhances the quality of life for all people.