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From Performer to Pastor

An interview with gospel singer—and pastor—CeCe Winans Love

How is success measured differently in performing versus pastoring? What has this adjustment been like for you?

They’re the same in one way and different. As an artist, I’ve always wanted to sell records and excel in being successful in the world’s system of music. But my first priority was always to be successful in God’s eyes. And that can look totally different at different times.

When I released my first solo record, Alone in His Presence, the pastor put it on the hold music at our church. A lady called the church and was really upset. The church put her on hold and when they came back, she was calm and knew she was going to be okay. God literally saved a life with that music before it was even out. It went on be successful in other ways, but if that was it, it was worth it.

When you’re building a church, you have to get to know the people. They’re coming from different walks of life, different teaching, addictions, etc. We have to lay down the foundation, understanding who they are and who we are.

We want to multiply the kingdom. We do want thousands and hundreds of thousands of people to be saved. So my prayer is the same: we want to see lives saved and changed. You always have the other part of success, which I think is good success when it's connected to the right purpose. And that is multiplying and being faithful and doing things in a first-class way. But true success is good success. That's when you're teaching the Word of God. You’re living the Word of God. And you are seeing lives changed, being added to the kingdom, being changed into disciples.

What would you say to other women who might be thinking about stepping into pastoral ministry?

I say go where you’re called to go. Don't go anywhere if you're not called. It's not a career choice to me. It's a calling, and it's very serious. Don't let anybody stop you from answering the call because of tradition or because of what people think. You have to listen to the Word of God and see how it lines up with whatever ministry you feel you're being called into. Just listen to the Holy Spirit, not yourself, not your ambitions, not your own ideas, not other people's ideas. Don't be led by anything but the Holy Spirit.

I want to encourage all the women in leadership. If you’re a mom, you're in leadership. Leading really just means setting an example that people can follow. We want to look like Christ wherever we are, wherever we're leading or influencing somebody. That's what leadership is. You're in a serious role. And sometimes we forget that. My greatest example is for my children. That is to keep them in love with God and passionate about winning souls for Christ. Being the leader in my home means way more to me than a title of being a pastor or any other title. You’re influencing people, and you want to influence them to do the right thing. So be encouraged. As long as you follow Jesus, you're going to be a great leader.

July06, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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