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‘Deputized’ by God, Kellam now sings for his Savior


Louisville, Ky. (BP)–Never label Marshall Kellam an entertainer. Though he performs more than 75 concerts a year, has made four albums and opened for music groups such as 4Him, the chapel worship leader for the James P. Boyce College of the Bible in Louisville, Ky., believes his singing is more than merely performing. His concerts are “sermons in song.”
“My ministry is not about entertainment,” said Kellam, a bachelor of arts student from Louisville. “A lot of people want me to entertain. I tell them that I’m not an entertainer. I’m a minister who sings.” There is a reason for the name “gospel” music, Kellam said. Christian music should spread the good news.
“Why do I do gospel music? It’s to encourage,” Kellam explained. “It’s to bring joy. And, it’s to precede the Word of God so that people’s hearts are pliable and moldable.”
While Kellam has always charmed people with his crooning, only in the last 15 years has he used his gift for God in ministry.
At a young age, Kellam would sing the hits of Michael Jackson. And when he began working for Pepsi, Kellam became known as the “singing Pepsi man.”
However, in 1984, God “deputized” Kellam to share the gospel through song. “I knew I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” Kellam said. “God had different arrangements.”
Two years later, Kellam accepted these arrangements and began preparing for full-time ministry at Boyce Bible College. Still working at Pepsi, Kellam took one class at a time and began to expand his singing and preaching ministry one church at a time. Gradually, his job faded into the background.
Opportunities began to abound. In 1991, Kellam won a statewide singer/songwriter competition sponsored by Babbie Mason. At the subsequent national competition, Kellam placed third. Kellam sang at the 1996 Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans and at inauguration of R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary.
As Kellam accepted more and more engagements, he finally left the corporate cola world in 1993 to devote all his energies to Marshall Kellam Ministries.
Since then, Kellam has expanded his service to Christ. Kellam ministers through Prison Fellowship. He leads worship at the Boyce College chapel. And he has released four albums — “Chosen,” “Now’s the Time,” “Deputized by God: I’m the Marshall” and a hymns of faith record.
Yet, even with the success, Kellam’s first love remains leading people into God’s presence through song in more than 75 congregations a year. “God gave me a spirit as a worship leader — not just to sing, not just to get people to do spiritual aerobics, but to be a lead worshiper and draw people into the presence of God,” Kellam said.
In so doing, Kellam combines his callings of praising and preaching, of exalting God and evangelizing.
“The foremost thing is that people would see Christ in me and that he would come in and envelop them,” Kellam said. “If it gets away from that [goal], then I want to get out of the traveling ministry.”
Thus, each service Kellam leads not only inspires but instructs. And each service never ends without a call for decision.
One experience etched this pledge in Kellam’s mind. After one service in which Kellam sang, a woman went home and committed suicide. “I don’t know how long it took me to get over that,” Kellam recalled. “I thought, ‘God, I’ll never ever do another service that I don’t give people an opportunity to give their burden to you.’”
Since then, Kellam has seen many lives changed by his music and message. “It’s all God what has happened,” Kellam said. “It’s not like I’m some big star — just a guy who loves the Lord.”
And each week, this servant of the Savior leads Boyce College in the loving worship of the living God.
“Our chapel service has been wonderful,” Kellam said. “The kids are alive. The place is just electric with energy.”
Though the singing is simple with just a few instruments, Kellam said worship is worship.
“God has said, ‘Don’t worry about the instruments. Just worry about worshiping me and praising me.’”
That burden is one Kellam rejoices to bear.
For more information about Marshall Kellam Ministries, contact Kellam at (502) 426-4124.