Taking the backroads...Sometimes, we take them intentionally; other times, unknowingly. Either way, we end up avoiding the hyperactivity and hustle of the highway. It takes a little longer, but the "road less traveled" is more scenic and well worth the detour.
The backroads are a great metaphor for how Tori Gay found her calling to music ministry. "I took a back way to ministry," says Tori. "I initially started with a desire to 'make it' in the music industry. Out of that came the making of a CD. Eventually, out of that, came the call to a true ministry." Tori started her journey toward a music ministry in 2004, but it took a few years of wandering on those backroads to end up at a point where she finally started to identify the specific mission God had for her.
Tori's love for Southern Gospel music and a powerhouse voice make a great combination on the musical front. Audiences are captivated by her strong performance skills, authentic personality, and natural humor...one pastor referred to her ministry as one of "music and joy". On a deeper level, Tori desires to help others remove stumbling blocks that hinder their Christian walk. Tori admits, "I'm a recovering people-pleaser. I always wanted to keep others happy and be who they wanted me to be. In doing so, I tied God's hands from turning me into who HE wanted me to be! Now, I want to help others remove some of their own obstacles."
As she meandered down the backroads, Tori discovered new territories. "I've been dabbling in songwriting since childhood, but a few years ago, I realized the Lord had developed that interest into a vital part of my ministry." Somewhere around 2010, she began to write in other formats, as well. In 2020, she put some of that content into book form, adding "author" to her resume.
Tori wants to use her experiences to edify the Church, so that non-Believers will find hope and help in God's people. Her program incorporates music, humor, and testimony to leave the audience with both a smile and the desire to be stronger spiritual warriors as they journey down their own backroads.
Tori is honored and grateful to be an artist with Song Garden Music Group and Godsey Media Management. She has been a contributing writer to "My Journey of Faith Devotions", and she served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Knoxville Songwriters Association. During the 2016 Christmas season, she was part of the original cast of Dollywood's Parade of Many Colors; she resumed that role for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Christmas seasons. She has shared the stage with hit-writers Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson, and Larry Cordle, and has also been a performer in the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival. Television is on her resume, too - she and Lula Bell have each appeared on two episodes of the Ciderville Farm and Home Show. Tori is also a 2018 graduate of Ben Speer's Stamps-Baxter School of Music.
MY SALVATION EXPERIENCE
We all have a story. As Christians, we all have a Jesus story. Most come with a preface, but the first chapter begins with our salvation experience. I consider myself very blessed to have grown up in a Christian home, with a mother who had me at church every time the doors were open (my preface). For the majority of people in our little South Mississippi town, that was just a way of life. Because I started learning about Jesus at an early age, I suppose it’s no surprise that I asked Him into my heart when I was six years old. We had moved from Foxworth, MS to Hammond, LA, and we found the most wonderful church – just up the road at Natalbany Baptist Church (and Christian School, which I attended). I loved our pastor, Bro. Rodney Taylor. During the invitation one Sunday morning in July (or was it August?? I wish I remembered!), I felt like I wanted to go down front and tell him I wanted to be saved, but I guess I was a little scared. Instead, I discussed it with my two imaginary friends – yes, you read that right – and after church was over, I gathered my courage and my friends and found Bro. Rodney. I didn’t really know what to say, and I really don’t remember what I actually did say, but I recall that this is how the conversation was supposed to go in my mind: “Bro. Rodney, can little babies be saved?” “Yes, Tori, they can.” “Well, I’m a little baby.” LOL! Hey, I was six! The point is, I wasn’t sure of anything but that the Spirit was telling me I needed Jesus, and that was all I needed to know. So, that morning, I was adopted into the Family of God! That was the beginning of the first chapter, and many, many chapters have been written since then. Every day, the book of my life gets longer, and I hope it is a blessing, an encouragement, and a learning tool for all who read it!
A Few "Heart Thoughts" -
I believe that music and comedy are two of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and I'm honored that He would allow me to share, not one, but both of those with people! This world is full of despair, so each moment we find to laugh is precious. I want to reach anybody that I can through the songs that I share - and, yes, even the comedy! - but I feel that my main purpose is to edify the Body. As Christians, we can't reach those around us if we're not in good spiritual shape, ourselves. There was a time in my life when that wasn't important to me, when I was trying to be both in the world and of the world. Thankfully, the Lord used that to bring me even closer to Him so that I'd be better equipped to do the work He's called me to do.