Most people remember Tisha Hodson Shepherd of Greenville for her singing at various venues since the age of 14.
Now, she adds another achievement to her book of life. She recently became ordained.
The daughter of Connie Hodson and the late Paul Hodson, she said all of this interest in religion started in 2016 when she became saved.
She was invited to the Heavy Metal Church which was in Greenville at the time to listen to an old friend from her musical bar circuit days play guitar.
“I walked in and was overwhelmed by what I know now as the Holy Spirit,” she remarked. “Every time I went, I cried. Pastor Mike Fisher made me see it was the Holy Spirit and that I’ve come back home’.”
She went on, “I couldn’t get enough of the word of God. I finished up my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Indiana East in Richmond. I wanted to follow in Dad’s footsteps to go to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and was working on my master’s at Purdue University in homeland security. At Purdue, I ended up getting a ‘C’ on a class. You have to have B average so they put me on probation. The next semester, I got a ‘C” again and got a call from the school saying they put me on academic dismissal. I only had five more classes to go.”
However, that same day, she received an invitation from Liberty University in Virginia.
“I knew God had my back on this,” she said. “I thought ‘why me?’ I had a lot of reluctance. But my tuition was capped the whole time, all my loans were paid and got my books free. It was one thing after another. The Lord made it so easy. I had great professors and it was a great experience.”
Shepherd then started volunteering and playing in church leading worship and she sang.
“That progressed more and more,”she said. “I had such a fire to preach His word. I knew I wanted in a hospital-like setting. I didn’t want to be a pastor. We’re non-denominational. I liked being a chaplain. I gave it a spiritual care without pushing any specific type of religion,” she said. “I leave sprinkles of Jesus everywhere I go. It’s my job to plant them.”
Since July, she has been serving as a chaplain at Upper Valley Medical Center in Miami County in addition to being a coordinator and chaplain at Oakley Place in Greenville.
“I graduated in March from seminary with a master’s in divinity,” she indicated.
Now, her plan is to become state-certified through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. She is serving her internship at Trinity Community in Beavercreek. She still has to get more units in ACPE for her crediting.
“It goes in steps; get your chaplaincy credit and then get board certified,” she explained. “That’s my ultimate goal.”
Shepherd didn’t disappoint Darke County Fair-goers the last Saturday of the fair in August. She entertained at the Gazebo as is tradition.
Her mother goes to every show and takes care of the bookings.
“She tells me where to go and I go there,” Shepherd laughed.
Whenever Shepherd sings at her engagements, she does both secular music and fit it in with Christian as well.
“That’s where Jesus sprinkles come in,” she said.
She preaches at three nursing homes in Greenville — Oakley Place, Rest Haven and Ayden, plus a new place in Eaton.
“I preach differently than some people,” she said. “I use music. As I go through the message I sometimes find people learn audibly and visually. I preach my message straight from the Bible. If I speak on redemption, I’ll sing a song about redemption. I started doing that at Trinity in Beavercreek and they loved it.”
Her first performance in her mid-teens was at My Brother’s Place in downtown Greenville while the owners, Brian and Blain Swabb were on break.
“I was always with my parents,” she recalled. “They always escorted me to the bathroom. It is a different time now. Then, I started doing shows at what I call the animals clubs which were the Moose, Elks and Eagles. I was booked almost every weekend for four hours…mostly three weekends a month. My sister, Tammy Mendenhall, sang with me then.”
A 1990 graduate of Tri-Village High School, Shepherd attended Edison State College afterward in music but said she ran out of money.
“I had to get a job so I worked for Dayton Daily News delivering bundles of papers to people with routes,” she said. I did that for 10 years at least. It gave me a lot of freedom to do my other jobs in music.”
She married Samuel Shepherd in 2013 and he supports her 100 percent, she said. Another support is her son, Paul Hodson II, whom she had from a previous marriage
“Paul majored in music at Wright State University and graduated from Sinclair University with an associate’s degree in art,” she said. “He can play like there is no tomorrow….everything but the guitar. He plays piano beautifully and on trumpet he’s excellent. He gives private lessons and wants to be a teacher. He has such a passion.”
Sounds like his mother.
“I love making jewelry and doing things with my hands, such as wreaths,” she said. “Dad was the same way. It is very relaxing have quiet time for me.”
She is also on a weight loss journey having already lost 20 pounds. Some of that came from the many rounds she makes at Upper Valley in her work there.
How does she preach?
“It’s all about the approach….getting with people,” she responded, “Being a chaplain is about leaving people better than the way you found them.”
The first ordination she received allowed her to marry people. She performed two marriages and couldn’t fulfill all the requests because she was so busy with her musical career.
She is a member of the Federation of Christian Ministries.
On Facebook, Shepherd is an administrator for Darke County Prayer line which began a year ago in October.
She usually posts some kind of trivia about the Bible everyday. It’s a lesson for her as well.
“I didn’t hear stories of the Bible when I was younger,” she said. “I heard about the Ark but not the story behind it. I started reading about the Red Sea. It was brand new to me.”
She truly believes in the power of prayer.
“I was supposed to have surgery in July,” she said. “I prayed to God, ‘If you don’t want me to have it, take the condition away.”
It went away and she hasn’t had any problems since.