The daughter of Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) missionaries, Shirley Crowder spent her first nine years in Nigeria. She learned from her parents, “Wherever you are, whatever you do, you’re making disciples.” As vice president of The Addiction Connection, the 62-year-old Leeds resident teaches a biblical approach to addiction counseling. The Christian author and pianist is a Sunday School and Bible study teacher at her church and also financial secretary at Crestway Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Life verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1–2).
Q: Describe where you focus your greatest ministry efforts.
A: Everything I do comes under the umbrella of disciple making. The Lord brings a myriad of opportunities across my path, including counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing and music. Much of the counseling I do is in the area of addiction. I serve as vice president of The Addiction Connection, an organization that trains and equips the body of Christ to biblically help addicts and their loved ones.
Q: Who was or is one of the most influential people in your faith life? Why?
A: My parents, Jeannie and Ray Crowder, who taught me to love God and His word, to obey God’s word, to love others and to express my worship of God through music.
Q: Tell about a turning point in your life and how God was involved.
A: I left my family and friends and moved to a new city for a new ministry. After only eight months, it became clear that I needed to leave that ministry. God used my moving away to untether me from so many things. When I returned to Birmingham, the Lord opened a myriad of ministry opportunities for me: a radio/television program (reruns still airing), biblical counseling, writing and publishing, teaching and much more. I’m not sure I would have untethered from the things that allowed me to jump in and minister in all these other ways, had I not moved away for a season.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: It’s more of a reminder to pay close attention to those around me — to listen and observe well. To act upon the prompting of the Holy Spirit when He brings people to mind and to pray for and contact them. To not try to avoid people and hear about their problems because I need to study or have a writing deadline.
Q: If there were one thing you could tell your younger self about faith, what would it be?
A: Every “no” from God is an outpouring of His mercy, grace, love and protection.