Our special guest is Kelly Minter, an author, speaker, songwriter, and singer. She is passionate about women discovering Jesus Christ through the pages of Scripture. Whether through song, study, or spoken word, Kelly desires to authentically express Christ to the women in a culture where so many are hurting and broken. She is driven to share the healing and strength of Christ through the Bible’s truth. In her own words Kelly talks about her upbringing and life. My parents raised me along with my three younger siblings in Northern Virginia, which is an important distinction because it means D.C. metro, traffic, and politics more than the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the Minter home, although our family didn’t always get it right, we mostly got it real. As a child, I struggled with acute anxiety and waves of depression before I or the people around me had much language or help for such things. The Word of God became my balm. This is one of the reasons I love the Bible so.
In my twenties, I moved to the Nashville after signing a record deal. Soon after unloading all my belongings, I got used to the perks of the south—a then slower pace and novelties like cheese grits. If I’d written the rest of the story, the next few paragraphs would include the heights of happiness and fulfillment as a result of success and notoriety. But that’s not what happened. I poured myself into three records—but instead of fame and fortune, pretty much everything I’d put my hope in unraveled before me. I eventually ended up with an opportunity to write a book, which is now out of print—so that went well, too. I was looking to people, career paths, and success to fill me, but whatever splashed into my bucket only leaked out. I had a bunch of those ‘cracked cisterns’ in my heart that are mentioned in Jeremiah—the kind that obviously don’t hold water. Maybe you can relate?
Around that time LifeWay asked if I’d be interested in writing a Bible study. I was equal parts thrilled and overwhelmed by the opportunity. (This was around the same time when I’d run into people I hadn’t seen in a while and they’d say encouraging things like, “Oh do you still live here?”) Since the Lord was deconstructing just about every false god I had in my life at the time, I wrote about what I knew and what I needed to learn—the idols I was trusting for worth and meaning. I thought it a good idea to invite real people to my house to pilot the material I was writing—people who would tell me the truth. We cooked and ate together, dug through Bible passages with intensity, prayed with one another, and laughed for hours. (That was before everyone started having kids). Shortly thereafter, No Other Gods was published. What followed, quite unexpectedly for me, were invitations to speak at churches across the country, a few more books, teaching local Bible studies, and the opportunity to lead worship at my home church and abroad. So did a trip down the Amazon in a riverboat. As in…the real one in the jungle, my friends.
I’d been invited on a riverboat adventure to serve the forgotten people of the jungle. My comfortable, western lifestyle and mindset was challenged at every turn. Since then, I’ve traveled to the jungle numerous times with an organization called Justice & Mercy International, and I’ve since written a book about it. I sit on the board of JMI, and I’m a passionate supporter and participant of their annual jungle pastors’ conference. The invitation to be on mission with God, both here and abroad, is one of the greatest joys of my life. Today I’m grateful for the opportunities to study and teach the Word of God—the very words that have changed my life. I’m also thankful to be singing and writing music, bringing it all together at an event called Cultivate. Other joys include teaching the Bible to the younger generation and serving them coffee in weighty diner mugs (the younger generation must understand the weight of the diner mug—pun absolutely intended). I adore community, which naturally means I’m zealous for all things food, cooking, and gardening. I’ve adopted the southern love of college football. I am an ecstatic aunt of six nieces and nephews who say things like, “You’re the best Kelly ever,” even when I don’t feel like it. In all things, I delight in the person of Jesus in whom is found the only redemption this world has ever known. My joy is to know Him, talk about Him, and teach the Word that is all about Him.