Priscilla Shirer
Priscilla Shirer

A New Legacy

While she was in seminary, Shirer received a call that would ultimately impact her future. The Zig Ziglar Corp.asked her to speak at one of their Monday morning devotionals. Shirer accepted. It went so well that later in the day, she received a call inviting her to join their small team of motivational speakers.

“Priscilla certainly has a unique talent,” says Bryan Flanagan, director of corporate training for the Zig Ziglar Corp., recalling that the organization has asked only a few young speakers to come on board. “She can give a message that will move you, but with enough logic and reinforcement that it makes sense—it’s not just hype.”

One of Shirer’s speaking events for Ziglar took her to a quarterly luncheon that Hilton Hotels was hosting for its executive team. There she met Jerry Shirer, who at the time was a Hilton vice president responsible for international operations. To her surprise, Jerry had been a member at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for several years. They began dating and were married in July 1999.

As Shirer’s ministry began to grow, Jerry partnered with her, focusing on the business side. He takes care of the details while she does the ministering.

But one detail Shirer had to grapple with after she married was her name. Though she had been known as Priscilla Evans for years, she felt as if God told her not to use her maiden name any longer. Letting go of it, she says in her book And We Are Changed, was a painful experience.

“My difficulty in releasing this to the Lord indicated there was a problem,” she writes. But God had a purpose in asking her to make the change. She believes He gave her a mandate to create a new legacy: to help make the Shirer name one that represents integrity, character and honor—and not just on the ministry platform.

Though Shirer loves her role as teacher and author, she is focused on being a good wife and mother and stewarding her time well. “I’m sure this [emphasis] was heavily influenced by my mom,” she says. Her mother, Lois Evans, put a lot of things on hold—including her college education—to raise four children.

Her father, too, made a point of being available to his children, despite his full schedule. “Although Dad was very busy with the church and speaking engagements and writing books, I have no recollection of my father not being around,” Shirer says. “What I remember is Dad being at a speaking event, and me having a cheerleading competition, and him flying home to be there—and then flying back to finish the event. He didn’t want to miss those important things in my life.”

Shirer is deliberate about being available for her three sons, just as her parents were for her as a child. When she travels, a close family member takes care of the boys.

But the Shirers try to be home on Saturday evenings so they can be involved in their home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, where her three siblings also still attend. “We can’t just be all over the place doing ministry and pouring out, and not receiving and pouring into the storehouse that is feeding us,” she says.

Shirer feels it is important for her sons to see their dad taking pride in getting dressed, being on time for service and serving in ministry at Oak Cliff.

In what little spare time she has, Shirer enjoys going on a morning jog, reading a good book and watching “nonsense TV” for 30 minutes or so. Not surprisingly, she loves to study God’s Word.

And she looks forward to the day when she can take her sons on the road more frequently. One of her greatest joys is being able to see the body of Christ in all its diversity in various places, including at events such as the 2008 Hillsong Colour event in Sydney, where some 30,000 diverse women gathered—and she wants her sons to witness the same thing.

“I want my children to see that God is global—that there are people everywhere who are so different from us, who look different from us, who talk different from us and yet who are all worshiping the same God,” she says. “To travel and instantly be connected with people who are on the other side of the world or different side of the country is an amazing opportunity.”

For now she is concentrating on stirring in them and the women she ministers to a desire to be “one in a million”—someone who wants to go beyond hearing about God to experiencing Him personally. 

Approximately 2 million Israelites were delivered from Egypt and followed Moses, she explains. They all had the same opportunity to walk into and reap the benefits of the Promised Land, but only two went.

“That’s one in a million,” she says.

“It’s kind of like the church today. There are millions of us on the church pew, hearing and knowing about God. But there’s only a handful walking on Promised Land soil.

“If there is going to be one in a million, I surely want to be the one. ”

Carol Chapman Stertzer is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

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