Kristin Chenoweth heard her 'God assignment' and followed a different mission

·3 min read
Kristin Chenoweth performs a song during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.
Kristin Chenoweth performs a song during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.

When Kristin Chenoweth was in the third grade, she felt God calling her to be a missionary.

At the time, that idea didn’t hold a lot of appeal. The idea of traveling to far away countries to serve God just didn’t fit. What she loved was singing and dancing. In fact — she would perform at the drop of a hat.

As the years went by, Kristin’s desire to be on stage grew. At Oklahoma City University, she studied with the wonderful Florence Birdwell who changed Kristin’s life and prepared her for an enormous career. After earning a masters degree in opera, Kristin made her way to New York City figuring, if she could make it onto a Broadway chorus line, she’d have attained her dream. As it turned out, Kristin was too short for the chorus!

Jane Jayroe Gamble
Jane Jayroe Gamble

Before long, she had landed a lead in the hit Broadway show “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” In fact, for her performance, she won a Tony award. It was the first of many leading Broadway roles and numerous awards.

Kristin has enjoyed an amazing career, not only on Broadway but in movies and on television. She has sung in concerts around the world and is often a guest on television talk shows because of her cheerful wit and lively personality.

Meanwhile, that early call to be a missionary has turned out not to be far off the mark. She admits that, along the way, she made some wrong decisions. Still, she’s a follower of Jesus and makes every effort to love all people with a pure and precious love. Kristin is filled with kindness and generosity and is humble to her core.

Kristin Chenoweth sings during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.
Kristin Chenoweth sings during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.

Recently, between late night TV, early morning TV shows, preparing for the White House Tree Lighting performance, and her show at the Met in New York City, she came to Oklahoma City to sing for my Esther Women group, sponsored by Mo Anderson. We also invited some of Kristin’s OCU family. Many of the voice students at OCU's Bass School of Music cheered, applauded and loved her from the balcony.

It was the perfect opening of the Christmas season. With her accompanist, the brilliant music director Mary Mitchell Campbell, Kristin brought down the house with her singing of Christmas songs and the beautiful “Pie Jesu.”

She made me think about how we all have our “God assignments,” and might hear them if only we are open to them. Not everyone is called to the mission field overseas, or to celebrity status, where they might influence thousands, or to preach from a pulpit. Kristin would not be who she is today without a mother who was dedicated to her children and who created a beautiful family foundation.

How many teachers have altered a young person’s life because they felt called to pour themselves into their work? Certainly, I never anticipated organizing programs for a group of women for 18 years after finishing my own professional career. For some, it’s a public calling. For others it’s more private.

Jane Jayroe Gamble, Kristin Chenoweth and Mo Anderson pose for a picture during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15.
Jane Jayroe Gamble, Kristin Chenoweth and Mo Anderson pose for a picture during an Esther Women's event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15.

But small does not mean insignificant. One of the most spiritually impactful people I know is my friend, Bobbie Roe. A spiritual mentor to some, she has taught discipleship classes and Bible studies, and she offers up the most beautiful prayers. Just being herself, Bobbie also impacts people at such a deep level that they are changed. She is a missionary, in my books.

We are all called to be a part of the body of Christ. Some are the voice, some are the hands or feet, some the heart, some the muscle, the mind, the vision. Our mission is: Love God, Love People, and we all have a part to play.

Thank you, Kristin, for this reminder.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6:8)."

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Kristin Chenoweth heard her 'God assignment' and followed a different mission

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