LIMA — Lima Community Church will be featuring award-winning singer and speaker Joani Tabor at the Unstoppable Joy: Women’s Day Out event on April 5.
“We heard her speak at a women’s event in St. Marys in April 2013,” said Sara Cardone, an active member of Lima Community Church. “We all were touched and changed in some way by her life testimony and life tips. She brought song and humor along with the seriousness of it all. She’s a great woman of God, and that’s why we thought we’d host her here.”
Tabor grew up in the small town of Bluefield, W.Va. Even as a young girl, she felt God’s call on her life.
“If God can use me,” she said, “He can use anyone. I remember when I was a young girl, I told God that I didn’t want to be from there, and he told me that I’d travel the world and speak to thousands of people.”
Over the years, that call became reality. Tabor was a pastor’s wife and ministered with her husband before beginning her personal ministry in music. She quickly found success. Her first song, “Nothing’s Gonna Steal My Joy” went to the top of the charts. She has put out 24 albums and won numerous awards and accolades over the years, including the Gold Cross Award and being named female vocalist of the year. She also plays the piano, flute and organ.
In 1989, Tabor, who has a master’s degree in Biblical theology, also began speaking and teaching. While she has spoken at colleges, universities and various seminars, she has a passion for women’s ministry and focuses much of her time and attention on women’s conferences and retreats.
“My mission statement is simply whether doing concerts, women’s conferences, marriage conferences or wherever, I want to help those people build the kingdom of God,” said Tabor.
Tabor, whose motto is the same as her first song, “Nothing’s Gonna Steal My Joy,” has been no stranger to difficult times herself. At the age of 11, her father who was the music pastor at their church, died suddenly. Tabor said she has been singing all of her life, and attributes her father’s influence for her love of music. The day before her wedding, her youngest sister was killed in a car accident. Tabor also lost a child, and she struggled through breast cancer last year.
Because of her own experiences, Tabor loves connecting with and encouraging audiences.
“I like to share Jesus in me with others,” she said. “I love what I do, and I am committed to it as long as God wants me to. I am very transparent. I try to bring Christ to those in the audience. I trust the Holy Spirit to hover over us and meet the needs of people. God is smart and I’m not. I trust Him to bring exactly what His people need, when they need it.”
Tabor, whose husband Glenn Tabor now helps fulltime with her ministry, has been to 37 countries and all 50 states multiple times. In fact, traveling is one of the challenging things about her ministry.
“I’m out 48 to 49 weeks a year,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of miles on me. I’ve flown over 2 million miles.”
However, Tabor said a bigger challenge is staying close to God in the midst of a very busy ministry schedule. “I think that I’m always teaching and ministering to others, so I have to be careful to spend time with the King to fill up my well,” she said. “I am always packing and unpacking, getting my mind ready for the next conference or concert, so to find the time to spend with the Lord and keep my well filled is my biggest challenge. We can’t pour out what we don’t have.”
Tabor said she finds strength in her joy in the Lord and is not defined by speaking and singing.
“I’m defined by who I am in God,” she said.
All the challenges are worth it to Tabor, though, when she gets a letter from someone who was touched in some way at one of her concerts or conferences.
“That’s the biggest reward,” she said, “seeing people’s lives changed.”
Tabor does not take credit for those life changes.
“We are all in this together,” she said, “There are no superstars in the kingdom. God is not interested in our gifts. He is interested in our character, so I work on godly character, and He uses my gifts the way He sees fit.”
While Tabor hopes that lives are changed when she comes to Lima next Saturday, she is leaving how that happens up to God.
“I want whatever they need,” she said. “I believe God has already planned what He wants and He has gone before me.”
What: Unstoppable Joy: Women’s Day Out
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 5
Where: Lima Community Church, 2945 N. Cole St., Lima
Tickets are $20 and include lunch. They can be purchased at Lima Community Church or purchased by mail. Checks should be made out to Lima Community Church and addressed to: Lima Community Church, Attn: Erline/Day Out, 2945 N. Cole St., Lima 45801.
For details call 419-223-9646.
For details on Joani Tabor’s ministry, visit www.joanitabor.org