I am new to The Wesleyan Church but not to the family of God. My family relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, from the New York City area in 2017. Kentwood Community Church (KCC) was the first church we visited, just two days after arriving in the state. We immediately loved the worship experience. After visiting many other churches, we felt God calling us to join KCC.
Some time ago, I was asked to participate in TOGETHER: Concert of Prayer, The Wesleyan Church’s first online global prayer event, held on Pentecost Sunday (May 31). What a privilege to co-host (alongside General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt) this special time of asking the Holy Spirit to Unleash a Kingdom Force in Wesleyan churches, communities and families across the globe. Wayne’s love of people and passion for Christ is quite infectious.
Engaging in fervent prayer is important to me. Fervent prayer is how we experience intimacy with God and is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. And it is how our land will be healed.
I serve as KCC leadership development coordinator. I started serving in the position in January, and my role is to help raise up effective leaders at KCC and throughout the church body at large. It is an exciting, fun and humbling challenge, which also gives me the opportunity to serve as lead mentor for our Marketplace Ministry cohort. I provide encouragement, resources and tools to help Wesleyan lay members be effective ministers in their workplaces and communities. I am on the preaching team at KCC and coordinate a women’s small group. My days and heart are full as I continue to pray fervently.
For the past 30 years, I have been teaching and God’s Word. The Lord opened doors for me to speak in nearly every state in the United States, as well as Italy, South Africa and the United Kingdom. In October 2005, I preached my trial sermon at Allen African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Cathedral in Queens, New York, becoming a licensed minister. I was ordained a Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 2009 and received my ordination as an Elder in 2011.
It was long before then, in 1989, that my life changed. After seven years, 11 tries in two states, I was crowned Miss America 1990. To God be all the glory!
That fateful night opened a whole new world to me. More than 30 years later, I am humbled by where God has led me. I am now a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, journalist, corporate trainer, minister, motivational speaker, wife and mother. For more than two decades, I have addressed audiences in the corporate, academic and community service arenas on topics like “Being A Woman in A Man’s World,” “Effective Communication,” “Power of Influence” and “Enhancing Diversity in Health Professions.” In addition to speaking and media work, I am the founder and CEO of Debbye Turner Bell Consulting, through which I provide leadership development training in communications, influence and diversity to corporate and business leaders, managers and executives. I am also a faculty member of the Institute for Management Studies and an affiliate trainer for the TransPorter Group Inc. I have trained corporate managers and leaders across the U.S., and in Great Britain, Scotland and Belgium. The list continues.
Before relocating to Michigan, I served as the lead U.S. news anchor for Arise News, a global cable news network from 2013 to 2016. From 2001 to 2012, I was a network correspondent for CBS News in New York. I have spoken to millions of students at countless schools, youth organizations and college campuses about personal excellence, determination, goal setting and the importance of a solid education. Prayer had been a source of strength, peace and covering.
But back to the TOGETHER: Concert of Prayer. The corporate prayer that night is just the beginning for The Wesleyan Church to become a Kingdom Force movement. We cannot stop bombarding heaven! Effectual, fervent prayer is absolutely critical in the life of a believer and the Body of Christ, especially now.
As 2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (NKJV).
We must ask the Holy Spirit to show us how and where we need to turn from wicked ways. We must pray that the eyes of our heart be enlightened. We must pray that forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation and unity prevail in our nation. And we must pray that the miraculous, life-changing power of God be on full display in this time of turmoil, uncertainty and unrest. I believe with every cell in my being that God hears those prayers and answers according to the counsel of his will.
I can testify to how God has answered my prayers in unanticipated ways for his glory and my good. Thanks be to the God who hears our prayers! Together, we bow before his throne in unceasing fervent prayer.
Dr. Debbye Turner Bell serves as leadership development coordinator at Kentwood Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.