Call to Ministry - My Testimony

By Debbi Shotlow
Worship Leader
January 19, 2023

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Should women be in ministry and leadership positions? This question has been the topic of much discussion for centuries. Many Bible colleges and seminary classrooms debate the famous scripture “women are to be silent.” Based on this scripture, which I might add has been taken out of context, some have concluded that women should not be in ministry or in leadership positions. Others believe that women should be in ministry and in leadership positions. I have been in some of those discussions, and have come to my own conclusion.

As I read the Bible for myself, I claim the promises of God for me, my home, and for my Husband. I write songs that are both male and female sing to glorify Him. The words and the promises in our Bibles do not hold any special magic or truths for men. They are written for the people of God. Therefore, when I accepted Christ, I didn’t think twice about gender. I didn’t consider the words that didn’t mention he or she. “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I believed, my heart was changed, and I haven’t been the same since.

Within me is a burning desire to let a dying world know that “Jesus is Lord.” This desire can’t be shut up just because someone tells me that I’m a woman and should be silent! Like the prophet Jeremiah, God’s word is like fire shut up in my bones. His Word oozes out of me like sweet water until I just want to splash it on anyone in the way, in love of course! So how do we as women handle this burning desire within us that cries out so passionately? How do we relate to our male counterparts and still remain what God has created us to be? I will explore this subject in a series of articles and settle this matter once and for all.

First of all, I’ll begin with my testimony and then provide words of encouragement to those of you who may not be convinced that women can be called to ministry. Hear my heart. If God can call this woman, he sure can call all of you.

I am strong willed, opinionated, and feisty (according to my husband). When I got saved, none of those attributes vanished and yet I’m submitted to the will of God for my life. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I’ve always known that I had a job to do for the Lord, and that He had a purpose for my life in the Kingdom of God. But when I first received Christ, like many believers, I didn’t know what that purpose might be. I was gifted in a number of ways, but I didn’t use those gifts to glorify God. I didn’t know what God’s plan was for me. Nonetheless, the gifts and the callings of God are without repentance, meaning He doesn’t do a recall.

I love to sing, write and create. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved to sing anything, and anywhere. I sang all throughout my Elementary, Jr. High, and High School years. I sang in the elite singing groups of each school I attended. I sang in the choir. After I graduated from high school, I joined a number of bands and singing groups. At the height of my singing career, I started singing with a group that eventually signed a recording contract and thus began my professional singing career. Around this time, I got saved.

As I began to attend church and to know God better, something serious happened to me. I no longer wanted to sing songs about lustful sex, premarital sex, and adulterous relationships. When I made up my mind, I prayed this prayer, “Lord, I give this voice to you and when you want me to sing again, you make the appointments.” I didn’t sing for another two years after that prayer. Oh, I joined the church choir, sang a few special music numbers, and at my friends weddings. But I never made money again, singing secular music. Never once have I ever regretted making that decision.

At the end of two years of sitting on the shelf, so to speak, a young man approached me. He asked me to join a newly formed Christian band, Saved. Without hesitation, I said, “yes” and stayed with the band until I married and moved away. But as soon as my husband and I found another church, I sang in the choir, on the praise team, at weddings, at different churches in the area, and I sang special numbers. I continued to be obedient to the Lord, and through my obedience God made every appointment. He blessed me to go overseas to Malaysia to sing with a group of singers from my church. What a blessing! I had an opportunity to sing in another country for the Lord. It was in Malaysia that I received my call to ministry.

While in Malaysia I sang a special music number in one of the concerts. One day I was in the pool looking up at the sky and looking at the tallest building in the world asking God, “Is this the extent of my ministry, Lord? Is this what you want me to do?” God very gently, but bluntly, told me, “No, I want you in praise and worship.”

I returned home from Malaysia, and shared with my pastor what happened to me. I waited on the Lord. I thought that I would begin to sing with the praise team more than I had been. It never happened. A year later my husband and I bought a home about 25 miles away from the church. We found another church, but I did not want to get involved with the Worship or Music team. Occasionally I would sing special music numbers. One week I was even asked to fill in for the worship leader because the team was going to be out of town for the weekend. I said, “yes,” not thinking twice that I had never led worship before.

After the service, the Pastor approached me and asked me to take over the Worship and Music Department. I said no, but then I remembered the Word that God had given me a year ago. I submitted to that Word, and to the leadership of my Pastors as the Worship Leader of Liberty Christian Center, under the covering of my pastor and my husband. But I still wasn’t convinced. “Is this a real call to the ministry?” I asked God. “A Worship Leader?” I researched it out and found that it’s a good thing, and the perfect will for my life. God said, “yes!” It didn’t matter what anyone else thought about it. So what if I am a woman? I have a message burning within me. I’m a woman living out the promise of God that in the last days sons and daughters will prophesy. Ms. Worship Leader - God has gifted us with an ability to lead others in His presence. He has anointed us to play our instruments and to write songs for that purpose, to bring Him glory. He has declared that we take our private cry for God, public. It’s time to be bold, Ladies! Come out of the closet and let the hidden man of the heart speak the loudest.

I Timothy 4:14 states, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to your gift, so that others may see your progress.” Oh, Woman of God, go forth in Jesus name and let the praises of our God ring from the mountain top until every ear has heard, until every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord. Sing, play and write songs of the salvation that has set you free! Let’s pray. “Father I pray for every woman that reads this article that sits in the place of not being sure of her calling. Let her see her calling from your perspective, and let her stand bold in your strength. Your desire is for all to come to repentance and if you can use us as women, we are at your disposal. Cause older women to come across our path and into our lives that can disciple us in the things of God as Women of God. Help us to show your mother’s heart when we lead worship, so that when others look upon us, they will see your Glory above all. In Jesus name we pray - Amen!” Go forth Woman of God in a new boldness.

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