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Derek Bell

Leader profile

Derek Bell, Tennessee


A regular column sponsored by Randall House Publications, Leader Profile features a different
Free Will Baptist pastor or leader in each issue.

Contact Danny Conn to nominate a leader.



Leadership comes in all forms and sizes, but the results are always the same. Leaders influence behavior and make a difference in other people’s lives. Profiling leaders shows a variety and diverse combination of traits and characteristics, but impacting lives is always a common theme.


Most leaders can easily point to people who mentored, coached, and shaped their life in a significant way, even if for a brief period of time. Derek Bell quickly names John Gibbs, Ken Riggs, and Jim Lauthern as early influencers in his life.

He was 17 and doing little more than just going through the motions at Sylvan Park FWB Church, although he knew God was preparing him for a life of ministry. Before his wife Missy ever met Derek, she too felt a call to ministry as a pastor’s wife.

As college sweethearts at Southeastern Free Will Baptist College, they began a life of touching people and serving God.

I asked Derek to describe his biggest failure, and without hesitation he replied, “Lack of vision in my previous two churches. I did not understand how far God could have taken them if he would have allowed that possibility.”

Derek is vice chairman of the Free Will Baptist Family Ministries board. He leads the church board through various books where they all read and meet to discuss how the principles could strengthen their church. People have influenced Derek, and he has become one of those people influencing others now. Derek Bell you are a great leader!


Quiet Time Routine:

Every morning he begins in his study and usually spends time reading his Bible or reading a devotional book like 91 Days of Prayer and Praise. Some mornings he spends the whole time in prayer.

Ideal Date for You and Your Wife:

Anytime there are no cell phones, no kids, and he and Missy can be alone. He says, nothing beats dinner at “The Chop House” eating prime rib cooked medium well.

Derek's Kids and One-Word Descriptors:

Kayla, random, age 20, studying elementary education at East Tennessee State University.
Caleb, athletic, age 12, typical boy in middle school.

Favorite Books:

Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren

Currently Reading:

Toy Box Leadership, Five Star Church, and On Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.









©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists