The Rev. Dr. John H. Bell, Jr. wears three hats at Wellshire: as the senior pastor, he oversees and provides for the pastoral needs of the members of Wellshire; as the Moderator of Session, he works with church leadership and administers the committee structure; and as Head of Staff at Wellshire, he takes “great joy in working with such an experienced, committed team!” John has been on staff at Wellshire since 2000.
Why did you choose to become a minister?
During my senior year of college, I felt called to become a minister through a sermon on Moses and the Burning Bush. At that time, I realized that I really loved Jesus, the Bible and the Church, and I eagerly committed my life to serving God in this world. I went to seminary a year after college, and I have been in ministry ever since.
I have been very blessed. I love working in and through the Church to be a blessing to the world.
What is your role at Wellshire?
Basically, I wear three hats… I am the “senior” pastor, which means that I oversee and provide for the pastoral needs of the members of Wellshire. I am Moderator of Session, which involves working with church leadership and administering the committee structure. Finally, I am Head of Staff. It’s a great joy to work with such an experienced, committed team!
What is the greatest thing about being a minister at Wellshire?
It is a great joy and privilege to plan, prepare, preach and lead worship at Wellshire. I want every Sunday to be as spirited as Easter Sunday!
What is the biggest opportunity for our Wellshire community?
…To bring joy and hope to the lives of those who suffer.
How would you describe your personal theology?
My personal theology sits squarely within the historic, Presbyterian tradition. I am a Presbyterian and proud of it! However, I have a broad Christian experience, and therefore, I am sensitive to those who come from other faith traditions.
I have a deep and abiding belief in the sovereignty of God, and I am continually grateful for the inspiration and salvation that I find in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
I love the Bible, and my sermons are very grounded in the Bible. I firmly believe that the church of Jesus Christ is — or should be! — a “big tent.” This means to me that there is a place at Wellshire for conservatives and liberals, educated and simple, rich and poor, black and white (and other colors too), urbanites and suburbanites. However, at Wellshire there is no room for intolerance or hate.
The Wellshire church is a spirited, joy-filled, hopeful community that has a strong sense of duty and service. I would not have it any other way. I am committed to preaching and teaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which at its core is always good news!
What is the most memorable sermon you’ve ever given?
I have been preaching for nearly 25 years, so it is hard for me to choose the most memorable. But those who were present on Easter 2009 still remember the surprise ending — or the non-ending.
I was making a point that the Gospel of Mark does not truly have a proper ending. It seems to end in mid-sentence. I made the point from there that perhaps Mark believed the Gospel truly doesn’t end, that it continues through you and me. To underscore my point, I also ended my sermon abruptly in mid-sentence and simply sat down.
It was a shocking moment, but after an awkward pause, most started to giggle and then laugh hard.
What is your favorite bible verse?
To those whom much is given, much is expected.
Where do you find inspiration?
Music and art inspire me. The creative thought process and lives of artists impress me. I love almost all forms of music and visual art. My two daughters force me to stay contemporary in several genres.
I love to be outside and active. I live in the Washington Park area and walk or jog the park nearly every day.
Of course, it is always inspiring to drive up into the mountains of Colorado to hike, snow-shoe or ski.
And, it is hard to beat a great, beautiful day at Coors Field — whether the Rockies win or lose!
What are the things that make you happiest?
I enjoy making a spiritual connection with others.
When you’re not at Wellshire, where are you likely to be?
You’ll find me on my Schwinn Scooter that my wife and daughters gave me for my birthday.
What is one thing that very few people know about you?
I was born with a congenital heart defect that was surgically repaired when I was 12 with open heart surgery. Therefore, I had two very different childhood experiences. Before my surgery, I experienced a restricted childhood in which I wasn’t allowed to participate in many activities. After my surgery, I became a very active youth.
I believe this split and diverse experience in my youth prepared me for times of quiet, seeking an interior life in the spirit, and an active life within the community finding joy in Christian companionship.
Durham, North Carolina; raised in Knoxville, Tennessee
Cowboy to drive cattle
Wife and two daughters
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
I don’t read a lot of blogs, other than my daughter’s blog. I do read several magazines each week. Almost every day I read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and, of course, the Denver Post. I am a news junkie. I follow politics, economic news and keep up with current events.
The Godfather Trilogy, followed by Spinal Tap and Caddy Shack (which I’ve watched dozens of times)
Favorite place you’ve ever visited and why
I love hiking in an around Petra, the Rose Red City that Time Forgot, which is located in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It’s mysterious, ancient, beautiful, a challenge to hike. I’ve enjoyed good times with good friends there on several occasions.
Wake Forest University: Bachelor of Arts; Columbia Theological Seminary: Master of Divinity; Union Theological Seminary in Virginia: Doctor of Ministry