The 29-year-old Cleveland native said his life was empty and without purpose as he engaged in bad behavior and substance abuse, which landed him in jail overnight before his life of sobriety and purpose became the norm.
Today, Whaley is giving the credit to God for turning his life around and is now directing an outreach ministry called the “All Is Well Movement.”
“It came about by my making the wrong decisions in life. So I began to do music and talked about the lifestyle I was leading — a life filled with addictions,” Whaley confessed. “I was living life the wrong way. Then the Lord showed me how to use music to relate to this generation and minister to them in the right way. I call it ‘Liberation Music.’”
Whaley said he is using everything he went through as a testimony to reach out to others — young and old.
This is a radical outreach movement for Christ, unlike traditional church movements,” Whaley insists. “I feel I have a duty to serve, not only in my church, but outside of my church and to take the gospel to the streets because that’s what Christ did.
“I think many churches are missing the point as far as ministering. We’re supposed to go out to the lost. We don’t just sit in a pew or go to a building every week. There is so much more that comes with being a Christian than that. I want people to know that God cleaned me up and He can do the same for you if you let Him.”
Whaley, who attended Cleveland High School and attends the Everlasting Life Christian Center in Etowah, said he would love to partner with any agency or group willing to accomplish “kingdom business” and is interested in more “Christ-centered activities for the community.”
“That was the biggest excuse I used and what I hear the most out here in the community — that there is not that much Christian activity here in Cleveland,” Whaley said. “I feel people need to look at things from a ‘body of Christ standpoint’ and not just a ‘my church standpoint.’
“A lot of churches have allowed people to fall by the wayside just because they won’t attend their church. I feel like they’ve missed the whole concept. The focus should be on people getting saved. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Whaley said, “It’s about a relationship with God. It’s not about all these religious rituals that people cling to. That’s what the Pharisees and Sadducees did. They focused more on traditions than on a relationship with God.
“So, All Is Well Movement is about introducing people to Christ rather than trying to get them to go to church. We’ll show people more of the compassion and love of God.”
According to Whaley, his transformation was not overnight, but a series of steps that got him to where he is today.
“To be honest, it was a lot longer process than even I would have liked,” he admits. “I lived in denial for so long. But once God finally got me past my addictions, things got much better. It started when He removed tobacco from me. That was 10 years ago.
“It will be eight years in June since I have been free from marijuana. And it’s been four years since I have been free from cocaine, alcohol abuse and pornography.”
According to Whaley, more than a few individuals who were in jail and now out on the streets are frowned upon by many religious people, which is turning people away from many churches.
“I’ve talked with a lot of people who came off the streets or out of jail and they’ve been frowned upon or looked down upon because of their past life’s experiences,” Whale said.
“All Is Well Movement is about a forward movement in Christ — start from where you are and keep moving forward. This way people would not have flashbacks to a past bad church experience. This is not a traditional church thing, but a radical outreach movement for Christ.”
Plans are under way to become a nonprofit organization and establish a regular meeting place, according to Whaley, who is networking with other community workers to open up a Christian club called Studio Impact in the downtown area.
“I’m working with them as far as heading up live events. But as far as having a place to meet — we’ll be able to meet there,” Whaley said. “This is a place where Christian youth can come and hang out, like a coffee shop, and play cards or dominoes and listen to live music. It will be for Christian folks to come out and fellowship!
“I don’t feel those who say they are the ‘body of Christ’ get together and fellowship enough. If it’s not within their own church or for singing in the evening — people don’t really get together and fellowship that much. A lot of people won’t take chances outside their church because they don’t know what’s out there. This will be a place for them.”
Having gone from a life of selfish pleasures to finding pleasure in focusing on the poor and underprivileged in Cleveland, Whaley said he is happier now than ever before. His parents, Michael Whaley Sr. and Denise Bradford, live in Cleveland, along with his younger brother James.
Whaley has one child, his 4-year-old daughter Khalyil.