Updated: Aug 20, 2018
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Where you grew up, live now, your family, hobbies, etc?
I am originally from West Virginia, I moved to North Carolina about 27 years ago and I love NC. I've been happily married to an awesome man for 25 years, together we have five children and four grandchildren. I am a senior pastor/ counselor/ business owner (we have a five-star child development center, and a trucking business.) My favorite past-time is walking on the beach. I love to read but now I don’t have the time I used to, but I get some done. I love doing what I do.
I’m really curious to hear about your spiritual journey. Were you raised in a Christian family? Did you always have a relationship with God or no?
I was raised up in a Christian home by my grandmother. She was an evangelist in the African American Episcopal Church. I always wanted more. I always thought something was missing. She use to go to tent crusades and that is where I experienced the coming together of races, and people praising God together. I also experienced the fire of the Holy Ghost. All of this was when I was a young girl, experiencing revivals of AA Allen, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham. So yes, God was always in my life, but no, I didn’t really know who He was. I went with the directions of others not really knowing Him for myself. I had more religion than relationship.
What defining moments can you share with us in regards to your personal relationship with Jesus?
After many years of church, I was at a desperate place in life both in and out of church. I was calling on the Lord but not really knowing Him, just calling because I was taught to do so. But out of desperation one day I just knew I couldn’t go back and forth anymore. If He was God I needed to know Him and I set that path to know the true and living God not out of a church protocol but out of the love that He had for me. I realized that healing and deliverance was my portion. It is so much to say, unfortunately, sometimes our history or our ancestors history will prevent us from pursuing our own true destiny. It will make us not know who really created us and who ordained us. The revelation and truth that sets us free and propels us into our destiny happens not when we join a church but when we accept Him as our true savior.
I follow you on Facebook and am always seeing your encouraging posts and some of your teachings. When did you first sense God calling you into ministry?
I believe I always thought I had something to do in ministry, so as early as my teens. I will say, I thought I was special- LOL! What did that “call” look or sound like at the beginning? In the beginning I always wanted to pray for other people. My call looked like always reaching out to other people. As I got older, I had to know within me that this meant having the Father’s heart. I always wanted to be used by God. The beginning was scary because I was a woman and a black woman. So if I wanted to say or do certain things it was always a fight.
What practical steps did you take in obedience to the call?
My pastor wanted me to take a ministerial class. I immediately said "no." I told him I was fine to just let people know about Jesus and serve others ..I didn’t need all that. He looked at me again and said, "you are not John the Baptist ..get in the class." I obeyed and that began my journey.
Were there any mental obstacles or internal battles that you had to overcome?
Absolutely! So many! I thought I wasn’t good enough and, in my era, and still now in some places, women weren’t preachers. They couldn’t be pastors. My internal battles were great …I had to fight the spirit of rejection. Rejection was already in my life from childhood. I was adopted and that automatically made me feel disqualified for anything. However, I battled through and I was "a first" in many things. Those accomplishments helped but mental anguish is not easy. The key is to learn that the scriptures are there to teach us and to develop our relationship with God. They also empower us because it is what He has said about us that really matters.
Do you feel that God has given you a “target audience” for your messages?
I think now I have a targeted audience. I believe that I am called to leaders to get them to speak the truth of the word. In a larger sense, I think I speak to all for healing and deliverance, encouragement, and tearing down true demonic forces that hold people back..
What quality of God do you most admire and why? I admire God’s love and patience with us all. Without that kind of love, we wouldn’t succeed at anything. His forgiving nature is so loving and He wants us to extend that same love and forgiveness to others.
What advice would you give to those who feel a call from God but are unsure if they have what it takes?
First, we need to define feeling or knowing. The bible teaches us that we are to be in Godly counsel. I think the individual should consult with their leader/pastor for guidance. If they feel the prompting of the Lord to move forward the Lord also enables them for the task. I believe that everyone needs a leader, and a mentor.
What value do you place on the “team” or “Body” ministry as opposed to a “do it by myself” approach?
This is how we are to do ministry. Team ministry is what Jesus did. He developed one group and they discipled more. Team ministry is effective, it develops fellowship, it brings power, it brings accomplishments. This is my favorite scripture for team work. ` "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
In what ways do you feel the Church still needs to grow and mature?
Moving from religion to relationship. Understanding that the individual is what makes up the church. We need teaching that doesn't just focus on the institution and rules, but rather builds up the individual. The idea of a "one man order" where the pastor is the head of everything must also change.
What external struggles have you faced throughout the years and how have you approached them/overcome them? The female in a male dominated sect. Then a minority. In ministry there is jealousy and competition. I intentionally studied and trusted God, refined myself and always behaved myself wisely. I had powerful mentors that wouldn’t let me stop. They saw more in me than I saw in myself. Knowing that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. I got to the point that I really believed and as I purposed myself in prayer I saw that this can really be done.
Can you share with us one or two of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in your years of ministry that you would want others to take hold of? Don’t look at others success and compare yourself. It will hold you back. Never let the opinions of man stop you from doing what God has called you ….Know that you know and keep moving forward.
I love it! If people want to connect with you on social media, where can they find you?
Visit our website at www.destinyintministries.org
Our ministry is on Facebook at – Destiny international Ministries.
Thank you so much Shirley! This has been fantastic!