Tell them who sent you

By Dexter McCree, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – For nearly three decades, parents have called on Alvin Shirley to coach and mentor their children because they would just listen to him. His compassionate heart, caring soul and stern discipline served as the perfect blend to give positive direction to youth in a time where boundaries stretch wide.

Recently, a different call came on Shirley’s life as he received his license to preach the gospel on Sunday, Jan. 28 at Kingdom Harvest Outreach Ministry, Inc. under the leadership of Senior Pastor Bishop Designate Hattie Stokes Dancil, who presided over the Licensure Service.

Alvin Shirley“I’m so excited about what God is doing in Minister Alvin Shirley’s life. I remember him telling me that he was ready to do whatever God had for him do,” said Bishop Designate Stokes Dancil. “Minister Shirley joined Kingdom Harvest four years ago and has served the church faithfully and is in good standing. He is already doing great things.”

Shirley proclaimed the message “Tell them who sent you” to approximately 100 people in the audience. His life and message mirror that of Moses who justified within himself not being equipped to lead people of God. In parallel to Moses’ story, Shirley is going forth as a directive from God.

“Know that the Lord sent you; he prepares you and sent you for a purpose,” stated Shirley in confirming the acceptance of his spiritual calling. “I knew this but I didn’t want to accept it. My brother had a dream when I was 18 years old that I would be a preacher. I told him don’t put that on me because that means that I’d have to give up some stuff.”

Shirley actually preached his initial sermon Sunday, Dec. 17, one year after he accepted his call to preach the Gospel.  He trained extensively during that time.

Pastor Tish Atkins Bryant, senior pastor of His House Worship Center, gave him the charge to preach in and out of season. She told him not to forget the commandment to love. The ministers in attendance laid hands on him in spiritual agreement of his calling with prayer by Pastor Wayne Wells, co-pastor of All Nations Church of God by Faith.

“He serves in several capacities at the church and is just a really committed and dedicated man,” said Pastor Dancil.  “He sings on the praise team, serves as one of the youth directors, Sunday school superintendent, chairman of the deacon board and co-chairman of the Men’s Ministry. He’s just very faithful.”

In addition to ministry, Shirley works for the Pinellas County School Board at Gibbs High School.  He met Pastor Dancil while working at Meadowlawn Middle School and later became her assistant at Lakewood High.  He visited her church one Sunday morning and never left.

Minister Shirley is the youngest of five children of the late Lacey K. Shirley, Sr. and Dr. Hildegarde Shirley-Jenkins.  A graduate of Lakewood High School, where he was captain of the Spartan Varsity Football team, he attended college at Florida A & M University.  He is the father of three boys: Jerome, Jabari, Jakobi and two girls: Amari and Mariah.  At Kingdom Harvest, he met and married his wife, Carmen, a talented musician and singer, and gained two more daughters, Adaya and Christa.

In this next chapter in his life, he stated that he is not going on his own, but the “Great I Am” called him for this generation.

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