At Virginia Tech University, Garrett Kell and his roommates were the popular hosts of weekly raves and wild parties. He came home to a rave one night, went straight to his room and shut the door on the blaring music and drugs. Behind that door he prayed to God, who he wasn’t even sure existed. Garrett was badly shaken by witnessing a former girlfriend’s second suicide attempt, and wanted to be able to offer her some hope.
“I kept a Bible my parents gave me hidden under my bed. But I pulled it out that night and started reading—I think I got saved in Ezekiel. There is a verse that says that a son will not be judged for his father’s sins, nor a father for his son’s, but each man is to be accountable for his own sin. That really hit me.”
That was the beginning of a three-month period when Garrett read the Bible and tried to understand all that he read. God’s mercy and patience with him broke Garrett and he gave his life to Christ.
Garrett grew up in a Christian home, but in high school he strayed into a life of parties and apathy toward God. In college it only got worse, until he met Jesus. Then there was an abrupt change in Garrett’s life, and opportunities started opening for him to share his testimony around the country.
He used to throw parties at his house in his hometown of Berkeley, West Virginia when he would go home; but after he was saved, Garrett came up with an idea. He wanted to have a party for God, and so he decided to have it at a church, and he called it Christ Night. All his friends thought it was a joke but they came anyway, and Garrett and another new believer gave their testimonies and spoke on God’s Word. At the end of the night half the people were at the altar, praying and receiving Christ as their Savior. There have since been four Christ Nights and there is another one coming soon.
“As I started speaking to all these people, I remember thinking, ‘If I’m going to be telling people what God says, I should probably know!’ So I sat down and prayed that God would bring someone into my life to teach me the Bible.”
A year later Garrett found himself house-sitting for Tommy Nelson, the pastor of Denton Bible Church. He had enrolled in Tommy Nelson’s discipleship program upon graduation from college, and was learning more than he knew he could.
Garrett first heard about the discipleship program through a friend who had decided to enroll. He called Tommy Nelson to talk about the program and they decided to meet for breakfast. Garrett arrived to that meeting with a list of questions in hand to stump his future teacher.
“I started asking him these questions and never once did he say ‘I think.’ He always just started quoting Scripture. That struck a nerve in me that said, ‘This man doesn’t have to go on his opinion—he has an authority and he knows God.’ I had never seen that in a man before.”
As Garrett sat under this wonderful teaching, God instilled in him a desire to be a pastor. So, for further training, he decided to attend Dallas Seminary. He applied and began taking classes the fall after graduating from the discipleship program.
“I’d like to be a pastor with a world-wide impact. I’m praying about pastoring a church with a team-teaching model. My hope is to share time in the pulpit and on the mission field planting churches all over the world. I think we need a church whose leaders model what it means to go to the nations.”
Garrett has a heart for South America, and would love to be able to plant churches there, specifically. His girlfriend Michelle is from Columbia, and she has helped him to fall in love with the Latin culture.
“I’d like to learn Spanish a little better, but I’m having to concentrate on Greek and Hebrew right now. God really has a funny sense of humor. I’ll just start laughing as I sit in Greek class thinking about how four years ago, I was doing cocaine—and now I’m doing Greek.”
Garrett enjoys his learning at Dallas Seminary and applies all he can to his life and his current teaching as the head of the evangelism training ministry (Sharing Life) at Denton Bible Church.
Garrett’s passion for evangelism and preaching God’s Word promises an exciting future of ministry that changes lives. He says, “my hope is that in some way God can use me to show this lost and dying world the same grace and freedom He has shown me. Christ can pull anyone from anywhere and I pray He will expand His kingdom through me.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.