In October 1999, Pastor Thomas L. Murray called together a Core Group of twelve people to his home to share his initial vision for the ministry. At that time, they had no money, members, complete plans, organizational structure or place to worship.
From October to December 1999, the Core Group met each Saturday at different Core Members homes where they eventually gave birth, by the Grace and Spirit of God, to a name for this ministry. During that time, the core members identified different options for setting up the ministry, developed a form of financial accountability, set up a bank account and targeted appropriate outreach ministries that could be provided to the community. This dedicated group produced and implemented marketing strategies, made site visits to prospective worship locations and evangelized various communities. It was determined from these meetings that we would target the least, lost, disenfranchised and marginalized among our city, county, state and nation.
On January 2, 2000, the first formal worship service was held at the Marriott Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. This was a high time of praise as we celebrated a “New Ministry for a New Millennium”. The service concluded with over two hundred in attendance and thirty-six new members. During the tenure at the Marriott Hotel, our outreach activities and programs included services for the students and faculty at LeMoyne-Owen College and the University of Memphis. Other services were held at the Paramount Ballroom and at Overton Park. Monthly worship services are conducted by the men of ATOP at the Memphis Union Mission on Poplar, a homeless shelter for men. The women of ATOP provide a monthly worship service at Seek for the Old Path, a homeless shelter for women, children and families.
In October 2000, the Lord blessed us with a stable location and we moved from the Marriott Hotel and leased space from Koinonia Baptist Church where our services were held in their Family Life Center at 4283 Millbranch Road. Additional outreach ministries took shape. They included:
- Maintenance of a Mini Health and Wellness Library
– Initiation of a 12-Step Program for Alcohol and Cocaine Addictions
- An HIV Counseling Program
- Praise Team Ministry
- Intercessory Prayer
- Usher Ministry
- Encouragement Ministry
- Sunday School
- Children & Youth Ministry
- Women’s Fellowship
- Tape/Media Ministry (VHS and Cassette)
- Annual family month, entrepreneur showcase, and various annual programs
In March 2002 we purchased the former Evangel Church of the Assemblies of God at 3939 Riverdale Road for $1.4 million. This ministry has been blessed with rapid growth with gifts of encouragement and love. Since moving into our new church home in southeast Memphis, the following ministries and outreach programs have been developed:
- Men’s Fellowship
- Financial management seminars
- Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA)
- Publicity/Marketing ministry
- Culinary ministry
- Leadership Summits
- Job training/placement program for individuals with disabilities
- Angel Tree sponsor
- Youth outreach programs for the community
- Radio Broadcast Ministry
- Community health and service fairs
- Singles Ministry
- Married Couples Ministry
- Grant-writing Ministry
In August 2003, we were blessed with another accelerated anointing with our purchase of the 8 acres at 3915 Riverdale Road. Future expansion includes:
- Community Worship Complex
LIFE-LONG LEARNING & RETREAT COMPLEX
- Human Relations Complex
- Recreation / Health & Wellness Complex
SENIOR DAY COMPLEX
In January 2012 as the use of technology has improved, we decided to broaden the audience that views the ATOP worship service by partnering with faithvideoondemand.com to provide us with the opportunity to Live Stream our worship services on Sunday. On average 80 people view the service each week.
The year 2013 brought additional outreach opportunities. The Prayer Drive Thru has become a phenomenal effort each 2nd Saturday as we have offered prayer to those in need directly in the front of the sanctuary. Over 300 people have stopped by for prayer. We also added through the use of technology a weekly conference call. This call is named Anointed Inspirations in the AM (A I in the AM) with Dr. Thomas L. Murray. The playback response to this call has been outstanding. Through these added efforts, we are continuing our efforts to do ministry that reaches people where they are. This year also brought about a change in the leadership of the Student Ministries. In September, Min. Edwin Terrell Washington accepted the change and the call to become ATOP’s new Youth Pastor.
We continue our journey with an attitude of anticipation, jubilation, and expectancy as we follow God’s lead toward higher praise for what He is going to direct to this ministry through the leadership of our Anointed Shepherd, Pastor Thomas Lewis Murray. Praise God for the anointing of this ministry – Amen!
Thank you for visiting the Anointed Temple of Praise website. We count it a privilege to serve you and hope you have a great on-line experience with us. We exist for one reason – souls. Our greatest joy is to see people encounter God in a relevant way and discover His plans and purposes for their lives.
We have designed this website with you in mind – meaning we hope you will visit often to get up-to-date information on ministries, events, special services and ways to get plugged in to life at ATOP. One thing you will find – there is always something happening at ATOP.
So whether this is your first time to visit us on line or you are returning – we hope you’ll use this website as a trusted resource for your spiritual growth and information. I also hope whenever possible you can be a part of our weekly services.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!