GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Bishop Bryan Pierce Sr. is one of the most well-known pastors in the Piedmont Triad. But his journey to the helm of one of the largest churches in the area was full of twists and turns and he says everyone knew the latest turn would come but him.
After accepting an invitation from Greensboro native Isaac Caree to join a newly-formed gospel group – Men of Standard – Pierce says he initially said no.
“… I’m going to start pastoring. He said just pray about it. Me and my wife prayed about it and God told us yes,” he says.
He moved his family to Greensboro and they joined Mount Zion Baptist Church soon after. He was offered a job as a staff pastor, and later accepted a pastoral position in Concord. He did all this while still touring the world with Men of Standard. He says it was on tour that he heard God speak.
“I need you to go back home and dedicate full time to pastoring,” he recalls hearing.
Pierce eventually came back to Mount Zion and was promoted to senior pastor in 2013. But he tells FOX8 he couldn’t escape the thing that brought him here: music.
“I had so many people saying, 'When are you going to do a solo project, when are you going to do it?' I was like that's not me, no I'm good.”
When gospel music superstar Tasha Cobbs-Leonard asked him again in 2016, he said he was ready.
Pierce recorded “Glory” live at the church and it debuted at number three on the Billboard gospel charts this summer. Its theme came out of his desire to take the Mount Zion experience to the masses.
“Whenever the glory of God came into this place, it created an opening for miracles, for healing, and so we did not want it to be contained here to 1301 Alamance Church Road or the city of Greensboro,” Pierce said.
He says he never wants his church to be known for its 5,000 members.
“I want to be known for the bags of groceries that we give out. We want to be known for the gas giveaways, the things we do in the community to help people that could never do anything for us.”
He recently released a book about his journey.
“I didn't see all this. There was no solo project, no book in my future. I didn't see the growth of this ministry and everything that's happening today. All God wanted was for me to say yes through this transition.”
The recording was a family affair. His daughter co-wrote the title track and his son coordinated the background vocals.