ROGERS, Ark. (BP)–She’s the face. He’s the head. Neither would have it any other way. For Priscilla and Jerry Shirer, ministry is a partnership.
Priscilla is a Bible teacher and author of several books, including “Can We Talk? Soul-Stirring Conversations with God” and “He Speaks to Me.” She also is the headliner for the “Going Beyond” conferences and shares the platform with fellow Bible teachers and authors Beth Moore and Kay Arthur for “Deeper Still” events, both sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Women who have studied her resources or attended one of her events know her face and recognize her giftedness. While Priscilla is on stage, her husband Jerry is working behind the scenes to make sure the operational side of the ministry is handled appropriately and professionally.
She has the theological background, with a master’s degree in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has the business background, having worked in the corporate world as a vice president for Hilton Hotels.
“We met when I spoke to a group of business executives and Jerry was in the audience,” Priscilla recounted. “The woman who invited me introduced me to Jerry. We began talking and discovered we had attended the same church for several years but had never met. At that point I was a motivational speaker, and I guess I motivated Jerry more than anyone else there, because 11 months later we were engaged.”
After they were married, Priscilla continued with her various speaking engagements but found her heart telling her it was time to turn her talents exclusively to ministry. She and Jerry founded Going Beyond Ministries, launching her Christian speaking and writing career.
A little more than five years ago, Priscilla realized she was spending so much time dealing with phone calls, speaking requests, writing assignments and the operational aspects of the ministry that she didn’t have the time she wanted to devote to study and personal time with God.
She and Jerry talked, prayed and felt God telling them it was time for both of them to step out into fulltime ministry. Jerry’s business background made him uniquely qualified to take over the operational side of Priscilla’s ministry. He accepts appearance requests, deals with publishers, schedules interviews and handles all financial matters.
Jerry said he seeks to protect Priscilla “from the business of ministry so her heart won’t be tainted by that side of it. When she gets on stage to speak, I want her heart to be just as pure as it can be.
“My doing this allows her to not have to be concerned or even aware of that side of the ministry,” he said. “This allows her to only focus on what God is saying to her. There is no motive for her to make one decision over another.”
A self-proclaimed detail person, Jerry said that while he protects Priscilla from the business, he knows he also needs to be realistic and practical.
“I created a notebook that has every detail about what I do,” he said. “If anything should happen to me, she could go there and see the need to do this and do that, go here and go there. She would have all the information she needs.”
Priscilla said she is thankful God placed Jerry with her as a husband and ministry partner.
“His strengths are my weaknesses, and my strengths are his weaknesses. I don’t want to do what he does and he doesn’t want to do what I do.”
Looking at him, she asked, “Don’t you agree?”
“She does not want to be in my office and I do not want to be on her stage,” Jerry said. “And that works out great.”
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.