CeCe Winans is the best-selling female gospel artist of all time, as of 2015. She has sold over 12 million records worldwide and won ten Grammy Awards.. CeCe talks about taking a break from music to start a church with her husband, and how her life has been a series of saying “yes” to God whenever He has called on her.
CeCe Winans Says “Yes” To God – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 48
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today we speak legendary Gospel singer CeCe Winans, who has sold over 12 million records worldwide and won ten Grammy Awards. She is the best-selling female gospel artist of all time, as of 2015. CeCe talks about taking a break from music to start a church with her husband, and how her life has been a series of saying “yes” to God whenever He has called on her.
CeCe Winans: I’m CeCe Winans and I am a gospel singer; been singing all of my life. I’m originally from Nashville, no, not Nashville, I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan. I have been in Nashville for several years now, but I was raised in a family, a singing family. My mom and dad both sang, and I had nine other siblings and we all sing and record–The Winans Family. So, singing is my life—I love it. It’s a ministry for me, and it’s amazing to see the power of music.
I don’t think if it wasn’t a calling, it would be something, even though I enjoy singing, I don’t think it would have been something I would have chosen to do as a career full-time. I began to understand at a pretty young age that it was more than just a career choice, but a ministry that God had given me.
We were asked to be a part of a Christian TV network group of singers, years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they needed two more vocalists, so they asked BeBe and I to be a part of that group.
Signing Up For Singing
We had no plans or ideas, or never thought about being a duet. But they gave us a song to sing together in that group, and it was a televised Christian network. The song was “Lord Lift Us Up.” They took the song “Love Lift Us Up” and changed the lyrics, and had us sing that song together.
The viewing audience just embraced it and they started asking for us to come to their church to sing. We were like, “OK,” and we did the one song and we’re like, “we don’t do any other songs together, so what else are we going to sing?”
So, we took different tapes. I remember using some of Amy Grant’s songs and all the different Christian artists that we liked, and we were like, “okay, CeCe, you do this part, and BeBe do this part,” and that’s how we became a duet.
Then we received an offer to record, years ago, as a duet. Up until that time we sang with our family. You know we had different groups in our family, but that’s how BeBe and CeCe started.
When we signed to do the duets project, a lot of people don’t know we signed to do solo projects at the same time. We have a lot that we’ve done together and a lot that we’ve done separate.
The stage is something that I never really desired. I always loved singing, but I never really desired to be out front. I’ve always been one who was really fulfilled being a wife, a mother.
Narrator: We’ll be right back with more from our interview with CeCe Winans right after this brief message.
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Planting A Church In Nashville
CeCe: BeBe and I released our last project, “Still” and we toured just a little bit with that. Then, I started kind of trying to focus on doing a record; a solo record. But five years ago, my husband and I, we started a church, Nashville Life, here in Nashville, Tennessee.
So that took all of my time, all of my heart, all of my mind to focus on. We were like, “God–for real? At this point of our lives? Come on, You’ve got to be kidding!” But He wasn’t kidding; and it’s been amazing.
I got so focused on doing that; doing Nashville Life, I had to wait until I felt it was time that I could focus on the music again. Before I knew it, I was like, “okay, I think I’m ready.”
Even to this day, I’m so focused on being a mom and a wife, and of course my kids are grown adults now. I’m bugging them now to give me some grandkids, please. But I’m so focused on being a pastor with my husband, that it’s like, “oh wow. Now I’m an artist again–how do I do this?”
The Perfection Of God’s Timing
My son had the whole vision for this record. He produced it, he wrote probably, I think, seven out of ten songs, and I was just blessed. He wore me out. It was an adjustment for me to submit to him; telling me how to do this, and do this right, and try it again. I was overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness, because in the studio working on this project, I just saw God’s faithfulness from generation to generation.
It’s fresh, it’s throwback. It has a retro feel. I feel like we’ve accomplished recapturing those who have listened to me in the past, but also enough variety on here that will gain new listeners as well.
I was overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness, because in the studio working on this project, I just saw God’s faithfulness from generation to generation.
We’re getting things together; rehearsal, band, singers. It’s exciting to see the power of music and how it blesses people. I’m praying for miracles. I’m praying for an atmosphere that will be one of transformation for those who come, because I know when God shows up, things happen. That’s just my prayer every night; that we will be saturated with His presence, and with His power, and with His love, and that people will experience Him.
This is the first time I’m coming out as an artist and co-pastoring with my husband, so I’m just making sure I have the right balance, because both of them demand a lot.
But God’s timing is perfect. A lot of times people will say, “well, it’s has been that long, how did you step away?” Again, my prayer’s, “Lord, I just want to be where You want me to be. If it’s on stage great. If it’s at my local church making disciples, awesome.”
I’m just excited to see what God’s going to do this time around.
Let Them Fall In Love
Narrator: CeCe’s new record “Let Them Fall In Love” is a beautiful testimony to CeCe’s faith in God and and will be featured in her return to the stage and in touring. She talks about the balancing act it takes to be a wife, mother, pastor and singer, and how she can face life’s challenges when she makes time with God her first priority.
CeCe: The thing that works for me, and the thing that works for everybody, to me, is; you’ve got to keep your relationship with the Lord Jesus first. Because it’s out of that relationship that everything else flows. That’s the thing, first of all, that lets me know when things are out of balance, and when things need to be re-evaluated and put into balance. Everything comes out of that.
So my relationship with Him; He gives me the wisdom I need. He brings the right people into my life to help me in different areas. So, that’s my number one advice for everybody; what is your relationship with Him? A lot of times we’ll get so busy and we’ll put that last, but that needs to be first. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added.”
You have to spend time in His presence, you have to be devoted to your devotions; devoted to Him.
Jesus Calling – Blessing Every Generation
Jesus Calling…I love how it continues to bless every generation. When we spend time with Jesus, it’s simple, but it’s powerful. It’s a devotion that everybody can understand and everybody can be blessed by. I just get excited when I see young people and new believers embracing Jesus Calling.
So if God has called you to do something, He will equip you to do it, and He will open up every door that needs to be opened, and He’ll close every door that needs to be closed.
You have to spend time in His presence, you have to be devoted to your devotions; devoted to Him.
I tell everybody; say ‘yes’ to your call and know that when you say ‘yes’ to Him, He’ll step in and He’ll do everything that needs to be done.
Narrator: To find out more about CeCe Winans’ new record “Let Them Fall In Love,” and where you can see CeCe in concert near you, please visit cecewinans.com for more information.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling podcast, we’ll be featuring guests who will speak about the importance of creating community, not only within church, but in the simple act of being a good neighbor to those in our immediate vicinity. We’ll visit with Rick Rusaw and Brian Mavis, authors of The Neighboring Church: Getting Better at What Jesus Says Matters Most” and Kristin Schell, author of ‘The Turquoise Table, Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard.”
Kristin Schell: When you see somebody you know feeling lonely or ostracized or being hurt you know it’s our job and that it should be an honor and our joy to help you know take care of them through that. I often say when I’m encouraging other people to live as front yard people or to build community where they live just open up your door open up your door take three steps out and let God do the rest.
Narrator: Today’s featured passage comes from the March 8th entry of the Jesus Calling Audiobook.
Save your best striving for seeking My Face. I am constantly communicating with you. To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else. Anything that you desire more than Me becomes an idol. When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness. Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it. Let the Light of My Presence shine on this pursuit, so that you can see it from My perspective. If the goal fits into My plans for you, I will help you reach it. If it is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of your heart. Seek Me first and foremost; then the rest of your life will fall into place, piece by piece.
Narrator: Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments so we can reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story today.