Michael –– from banker to pastor

Name: Michael Holford.

Age: 38.

Education: Piedmont International University; University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus; Harrison College.

Qualifications: PhD in leadership (candidate); Master of Science in labour and employment relations; Bachelor of Science in psychology.

Occupation: minister of religion.

If one picked up a book written by Michael Holford and turned to the back to read the summary on the author, what would it say?

Michael is a Christian and the husband of one wife. He has a passion for ministry and people, and is dedicated to what God has called him to do. At the very same time, he loves a good joke (sometimes at the expense of others) and relishes any moment he gets to be in the background.

ScreenXshotX2016-06-28XatX5.20.13XPMWhich four words best describe you?

Funny, approachable, friendly and laid-back.

What drives you and keeps you motivated?

God, love of what I do, my natural inclination to be lazy, and hating to fail.

Having completed secondary school, you entered the world of work instead of a tertiary institution. What was behind this decision?

I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do as a career. I was asked to leave school after Lower 6 owing to poor academic performance; and my father told me I couldn’t stay at home and do nothing. So I became motivated to find a job.

You spent 17 years in banking, starting out as a teller and then moving into personal service. How has banking contributed to your development as an individual
and professional?

It has helped me in terms of my people skills; managing time and prioritizing; understanding the importance of money and being wise in the use of it; and the different ways to handle conflict. I always tell people much of my development came through the bank and the people there.

You completed undergraduate studies in psychology and then studied labour and employment relations at the Master’s level. Why these two areas, especially given how different they are?

In general practice, the two areas are different, but there is a specialized area of psychology called industrial/organizational psychology. It deals specifically with the factors that affect productivity, for example, stress, motivation, personalities, and so on. That’s what I did my thesis on in undergrad. It was that interest that led me to pursue my Master’s in labour and employment relations.

If you had to choose a creature that best represented you, which would it be, and why?

An owl. I’m always up late, and I’m always observing and thinking.

If you were to make yourself a superhero, what would your name be and what powers would you have?

Captain Laughter. I seem to have the unique ability to make people laugh, even when I’m not trying. I have the unfortunate reputation of sometimes making people laugh
at funerals.

If you had the opportunity to relive your life from the time you entered secondary school, what would you do differently?

I would be diligent in my schoolwork. I wasted a lot of my secondary school life being lazy and being distracted while trying to fit. I had the aptitude but never fully applied myself.

If you knew you were to be marooned on an island, what four things would you have with you?

My wife, Bible, food and water.

Most people know you as Bishop or Ricky. Where did these names originate from?

Bishop was given to me by Tracy Fowler owing to my admiration of Bishop T.D. Jakes at the time. I used Bishop as my icq name where we would communicate.

Ricky is a shortened form of my middle name Ricardo. My dad’s name was Michael as well; so I would be called Ricky at home to differentiate.

Michael Holford and the band KDB performing at Reggae On The Hill.
Michael Holford and the band KDB performing at Reggae On The Hill.

You were one of the founders and lead singers in the gospel reggae band KDB. How did it all start?

It started from an idea that Makonem Hurley, my brother Mark and I had to have a musical group that was different, but proclaimed biblical truth. At the time Makonem and I were artistes (Bishop and Scuzz), but we had no stable direction for our music or message. So we envisioned the band and began to write with purpose, choosing the genre of reggae as our main style.

Between 2006 and 2009, KDB graced many stages, receiving numerous nominations and awards –– the Flame Awards, Barbados Music Awards and the Marlin Awards (Nassau, Bahamas). Will we be seeing more of KDB in the future?

I don’t know. I have no plans. The last time I talked to Makonem he didn’t, and neither does Mark. I believe we were meant for that season. Many things which we advocated as a band in how we functioned, we can see now in many of the current local gospel ministers: biblically sound lyrics, originality, excellence, preparation, branding, and so on. If God wants it again, I have no issue.

You are a pastor at the Abundant Life Assembly. Had you always desired to be one, and what confirmed for you “now is the time”?

The thought came and went over the years, but it wasn’t something I desired. Among various reasons, I am a strong advocate for function over title, and I believed if it was something I was to do, I would be called and gifted for it.

In late 2013, the desire started to grow, and on the day my father passed away, I felt I heard the Lord say it was time. I said: “Lord if this is You, I will be obedient, but You have to put everything in place.”

The rest is history.

You resigned from your job at the bank to serve in full-time ministry. Many pastors work a nine-to-five job and still serve in their ministry. Why did you choose the full-time route?

God gave me a peace about leaving, and I really believed that He wanted me to go into full-time ministry. In terms of our particular assembly, with the magnitude of work which has to be done, there is a requirement for dedicated full-time pastors.

Now that I’m functioning in this capacity I see why it was necessary.


You are into your second year as pastor. What would you say has been the most challenging part of your job so far, and the most rewarding?

Most challenging has been dealing with different types of individuals, and giving counsel and ministry, according to what God wanted for them specifically. One size doesn’t fit all in this case. The most rewarding has been seeing the conversion and transformation process of individuals all to the glory of God.

There is a growing consensus that fewer young people are attending church. Having spent four years as a Sunday School teacher and two years as the youth director at Abundant Life Assembly, what would you say to young people and parents as to the benefits of not just attending but being part of a church family?

I shared just [this week] with our congregation Hearing God In A Post-Modern World and one of the points I made was that we live in a world that completely excludes God and godliness, and this is what our young people are exposed to via various media. It is important we counteract this by exposing our young people to God, godly living and godly practices.

Attending services and submitting to biblical teaching help in the grounding of their faith as young people. There is more to Christianity than just attending services, but hopefully what they gain from the services may be applied in their daily lives. Additionally, for parents, what occurs in the gatherings during services should be a continuation of what happens in the home. For the Christian family, discipleship and all the other foundational activities should begin at home. Church services should really complement what happens in the family unit.

What is one thing people might find interesting about you?

I am a shy and boring individual.

What has contributed to your success?

Faith in God, godly upbringing, familial support and good friendships.

What’s next for Michael?

Piedmont International University in North Carolina, United States, is where I next begin my residency for my PhD in leadership. By God’s grace, I would love to continue ministering in Barbados and across the Earth, especially in the area of discipleship and leadership development.

(If you are a young Barbadian professional, or know of any worthy of being highlighted for their amazing contribution, please contact us at corey@c2jfoundation.org)

33 Responses to Michael –– from banker to pastor

  1. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore June 29, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Proud of you young man. Continue to put God First.

  2. Sandra Rice
    Sandra Rice June 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

    He would get more money to put in his bank account !

  3. Veronica June 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Reggae is a genre – it is neither ‘holy’ or ‘unholy’ – just like money – it is how u use it (what u do with it> #judgementismine #saiththeLord

  4. Sheryl Thorne
    Sheryl Thorne June 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

    He knows how to make money lol

  5. jrsmith June 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    God always call black people to build a church or become a pastor.. thats why we will always be waiting and waiting on the white man for hand outs. is he hoping to be as wealthy as that pastor who has 3 private jets…

  6. Dwayne Gittens
    Dwayne Gittens June 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    All these pastors rising up and still ain’t doing God’s work so I guess he about to get rich

  7. Alea Alleyne June 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    More money in dey. Just ask H. Williams.

  8. Mary Amos
    Mary Amos June 29, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    So proud of you. May God continue to bless your life and ministry.

  9. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson June 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    He realises he can get more money by preaching, ( or preaching about something) than earning money at a real job, the banks fleece their customers now he’s going to fleece any one that will listen to him, hmm just like the banks,well trained.

  10. Tony Waterman June 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    You Have just Proven the you know NOTHING about Reggae or the Bible (Give me the Bible Chapter and/verse that speaks to this prfnity that you talk of) Next you can name me a Reggae Singer that has Profanity in his Songs, what you are Referring to is DANCEHALL and that is NOT Reggae, they are TWO Distinct Genres of Jamaican Music.
    Also Perhaps you should Read Psalm:Psalm 150 (New King James Version) Especially these 3 Verses

    3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
    Praise Him with the lute and harp!
    4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
    Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
    5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
    Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

    Reggae is included her i am sure.

    BTW!!!! can you supply more than ! AUTHENTIC reggae Song, that you would say has what YOU would call PROFANITY in it.

    Finally i will conclude by reminding you THat REGGAE is NOT DANCEHALL, and he is a REGGAE artist NOT a Dancehall Artist.

  11. H Alison Tyson-Davis
    H Alison Tyson-Davis June 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm
  12. Troy Hunte
    Troy Hunte June 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Every realise these man does get blessed with a trophy wife, a big house ,and the latest cars…? While the congregation does got a average bicycle, a small house and a ugly…

  13. Lois Holford June 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Troy Hunte, as his wife, I wish to inform you that no part of me is ” trophy”, neither do we own a house (bigg or small) or a fancy car. That is all!

  14. Corey Worrell
    Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Its really amazing that this young man becomes a pastor and your response is that he did it for money.

    What’s even more amazing is that people who are making these statements probably have little to no knowledge as it relates to what pastors receive as it relates to a stipend or salary in Barbados. Many of them receive nothing.

    Most pastors I know in Barbados have regular jobs and do not receive a salary from the church’s they lead.

    These statements I see here reflects a worrying perception people have of the church.

    It would be interesting to hear if persons who share these views as it relates to pastors and money have had any personal experiences to validate their claims and comments.

    Please don’t allow the negative and unbiblical reflections you may see from some north american church leaders be the measuring stick by which you measure all church leaders.

    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 29, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Cory Worrell, even though a lot of what you have stated is valid, but you really cannot say for certain that you are privy to what has motivated this young man to embark on a career behind the pulpit. And even though I agree with you to some extent, I can’t help, but to agree with a lot of the comments here as well because most on them are predicated upon precedent.

    • Adrian M Chase
      Adrian M Chase June 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Same way the Pastors judge everyone else….

    • Corey Worrell
      Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Mark, you assume I am not privy to such information

    • Dwayne Gittens
      Dwayne Gittens June 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Corey don’t be naive I yet to see a break pastor living in poverty in Barbados so who we fooling most if not all pastors in BIM only in it for the dollars

    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Well let me put it this way: you’re not privy to the deeper motives of the human heart. Which the Bible tells us is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

    • Kay A Levy
      Kay A Levy June 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      I really don’t want to agree that he did it for money. But i went to church last Sunday for the first time in Barbados and oh darn at every minute throughout the service i felt as if i was being extorted. This is very sad. I actually didn’t learn anything during the service. My God, in one hour service they gave out three different types of envelopes for different offerings and those envelopes didn’t include the regular Sunday offering that you put in the basket. Just wow. I was lost for words. Nevertheless not all pastors are the same so i hope this young man isn’t in it for the show and money. People speak what they experience so you can’t blame them for their comments.

    • Corey Worrell
      Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Mark Fenty I know Mr Holford personally so I can tell you he is genuine and his heart and motives are pure.

      Dwayne Gittens why should a pastor live in poverty? Why should a pastor not be able to provide for his family, pay his bills, travel, drive a nice vehicle, eat well etc! Why must he be in poverty? Why should anyone live in poverty?

      I don’t know if you realize but a pastor is a person; an individual; a human being.

      Stating that all pastors in it for the money is a foolish statement. You probably don’t know 3 pastors personally, so how can you speak about all?

      Kay A Levy people will share their experiences and I am open to that but I doubt most people sharing have any concrete personal evidence to validate their statements

      Churches receive offerings to run the church and to finance the many projects or initiatives they have. Do some pastors misuse that offering and abuse the congregation, yes BUT there are many more who don’t.

      It’s amazing that the church is criticized for every and anything it does, even the good and society behaves as off the church is irrelevant but as soon as their is a breakdown in society, the same church is blamed for not doing more and is expected to be a part of the solution.

      Let’s be objective and fair in our comments

    • Dwayne Gittens
      Dwayne Gittens June 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Corey people living in poverty while these ****** for pastors living in luxury Jesus preached and wasn’t paid a dime

    • Dwayne Gittens
      Dwayne Gittens June 29, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      The book of Acts clearly states the offerings is to be divided among the poor not for the pastor to eat the best or live like a king again he’s in it for the money

    • Corey Worrell
      Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      Dwayne Gittens you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts

      I will not get into any discussions with you as it relates to scripture primarily because it is evident you don’t understand the Bible.

    • Brien King
      Brien King June 29, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Corey Worrell, if Dwayne Gittens quoted the bible in this matter, why did you state that it is his opinion when he quoted from the bible that these same pastors preach to people from ? You cause me here to respond because of you all hypocrisy. Now I am cause to believe that you people do it for the money indeed , not knowing that this attitude will cause you to perish. Don’t you know that a lot of you blind guides will all fall in the same ditch ? The bible states one thing but most pastors preach something else, allowing those people that wanted to follow GOD to perish in your foolish doctrines. Behold, what is written in the bible will stand but pretenders and their doctrines will NOT.

    • Corey Worrell
      Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      The opinion I was referring to was that “he’s in it for the money”. My apologies for the miscommunication.

  15. Corey Worrell June 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Patricia, please show my where in Scripture it says a pastor promoting reggae is not of God

  16. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore June 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I never thought that i would live long enough to hear that a person can sacrifice career & personal emoluments for the sake of the gospel & be criticize for so doing. It speaks to a Barbados in trouble spiritually.

  17. guy fox June 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    We are talking gospel fest people not reggae on the hill

  18. Dwayne Gittens
    Dwayne Gittens June 29, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Holmes Williams was a banker too turned pastor yet it’s not the money them in it for stpzz so called Christian too naive and gullible where these pastors concerned

  19. Roslyn Sobers
    Roslyn Sobers June 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Proud of you keep up the good work in Jesus mighty name people need to turn God and stop talking foolishness.


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