Each week, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister. This week we are thrilled to introduce Ossie McKinney.
Ossie, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served.
My ministry journey started at the age of four-years-old. My parents were an older couple who believed in church and serving in the church. I remember singing my first song at the age of five, “Lord I Know You’ve Been So Good.” From that moment, my mother would send me and my two younger sisters to visit an elderly lady in our community, Mrs. Eva Hatcher to whom we would sing songs. We were called her little “Sunshine Band.” By the age of eight-years-old, I was learning to play the piano and by the age of twelve, I was playing the piano for many churches in the small town of Columbia, Louisiana. I learned at an early age to honor and serve the elderly. My heart today still leans towards serving my elders.
Upon graduating from high school, I joined the United States Navy and was stationed at NAS Atlanta. I began to serve as music director for youth and adult choirs in the Atlanta area. I have served thirty-four years as a pianist, choir director, and/or Minister of Music. The gift of music has brought me before many congregations. Being a musician and singer and serving in the music ministry for so long makes people see me as only a songstress and pianist.
Seven years ago I married a preacher who saw past the music and was instrumental in nurturing and stretching the gifts of teaching and administration that God has placed in my life. As his “First Lady,” I was called upon to head the Children’s Ministry at his church which involved preparing and teaching the weekly children’s sermons. It was this platform that geared me towards the adult pulpit. In 2011, my husband underwent surgery to have some discs in his neck replaced. As his wife and co-laborer in the Gospel, I stepped in and delivered the weekly sermons during his recovery. I was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel in April 2011. Since that time I have obtained my Masters of Divinity degree and currently serve as the Minister of Music at Faith Baptist Church, located south of downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
What challenges have you encountered along the way?
One of the major challenges that I have encountered in ministry is serving in a church that does not recognize that God can and will call women to preach His Word. Currently, this is the place in which I serve. In my younger days, a challenge that went against my beliefs would have made me leave the church without hesitation. Maturity and wisdom have taught me to wait on God. I love the people I serve. I am not caught up in positions or titles. This enables me to serve in the capacity in which they need me. This wait has taught me that I do not have to prove who I am in Christ or what He has called me to do. My service will speak for itself. Although, I am not allowed to preach in the pulpit, I have an opportunity every week in choir rehearsal to share the Word. I do not need the pulpit if I am reaching the same people through another platform.
Who has inspired you along the way as you have lived out your calling?
In 1998, God called me to be a Minister of Music. He allowed me to serve as the Minister of Music to Light of the World Christian Tabernacle under the leadership of Archbishop Jimmie Lee Smith. The late Archbishop Smith was a great mentor and was very instrumental in teaching me how to worship. I knew how to worship and love on God, but I did not know how to allow worship to inhabit my music so that I could set the atmosphere and make room for others to worship.
My husband, Elder Charles McKinney, Jr. has been my greatest mentor and inspiration in teaching and delivering the Word of God. His patience and encouragement have allowed me to find my voice and the skin in which I minister best. He has been a pastor and husband that has encouraged me to be all that God has designed me to be. Having a partner and friend who celebrates my gifts rather than stifle them motivates me to continue to nurture my spirituality so that I can be the help-meet God designed for him as we do ministry together. For I realize that the Lord is more concerned with my walk with Him than my work for Him.
What is the best ministry advice you have received?
I have learned in this ministry journey that I am uniquely shaped in the image of God. It is not my job to sing, play, or preach like anyone else. The worship and service that I give can only be given by me, so just be ME. The best ministry advice that I have received is to guard against being too busy. Someone once said, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Because I am a planner and love to make lists, I have to constantly guard against becoming a slave even of good works. Rest is not a sedative for the sick. It is a requirement and commandment from our Creator God. My professor Robert J. Morgan teaches, “If you are always available, you are never available.” So right now I am working on establishing that I am busy doing the things that God has designed for me to be doing in the twenty-four-hour daily increments of time He graciously bestows upon me.