Giving You the Gospel: Pastor Trunell Felder
Each week, JET is Giving You the Gospel with our newest series. Check out a spotlight on a dynamic pastor or preacher, plus get a round-up of what’s going on with entertainers and singers who are glorifying God. If you have any story ideas or item ideas for us, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After New Faith Baptist Church International conducted a two-year search, Rev. Dr. Trunell Felder was chosen to stand in the pulpit as Senior Pastor of one of the most established ministries in Chicago’s south suburban, Matteson. The California native, who was later raised in Detroit, described the ministry as “a large church with a hometown feel. New Faith is a vibrant worship center where people really seek to have an engagement and encounter with God. They have a love for the word and for putting the word in action.”
Similar to many called to ministry, the spiritual father admitted his initial reluctance to answer as a young person. “I was called to ministry when I got saved at 18 and then ran for five to seven years,” Felder shares.
Coming up in Detroit’s Hitsville U.S.A., his passion for music and corporate America was inevitable. “Prophets had told me I was going to be a minister, but I didn’t want to hear that because I wanted to be in business and a singer,” recalls Felder, who adds that he was influenced by Lou Rawls, Larry Graham and Luther Vandross. “I attended Michigan State on a music and business scholarship and began to appreciate more of the gospel music as I got older,” he says.
Nowadays, the anointed minister reserves his voice for preaching multiple sermons on Saturday and twice Sunday, admitting: “I do sing on occasion at church leading in worship.”
His flock and visitors enjoy the newly built and architectural award-winning designed edifice—Chicago’s Crystal Cathedral. “It is a beautiful church and state of the art center that’s a tool for the harvesting of souls. It has 2,500 seats, yet very intimate in design because I wanted to see the facial expression of people even if they sat in the back row,” says Felder. “When people come to church, they say it has a Bapti-costal flavor with social relevance.”
The seasoned cleric walks boldly in his life’s purpose as a pastor. “I understand how gratifying it is because I ran from it—God can really do things if you are humbly available,” he says. “It has taught me to appreciate everyone’s uniqueness and never to cluster people into groups—as you know people, you learn their story and why they are where they are.”
Married to the lovely Rev. Dr. Alexis Felder of 13 years, Felder describes their union as “the greatest decision I made next to receiving Jesus Christ.” She partners in ministry and they co-founded The Joseph Assignment Global Initiative—a not for profit global humanitarian operation with a mission to address the needs of the world’s poorest people by providing their basic human needs. Housed in New Faith, to date the organization has served over 265,000 men, women and children in the USA, Africa, India, China, Latin and South America.
“We want to move the resources and gifts God has given us into the community in order to empower people to fulfill their destiny. We really seek to share the love of Christ in tangible ways,” says the pastor. The couple also adopted two children—Nora Nichelle and Andrew Kofi from Ghana. “We are of service and open to the community—the greatest of all is the servant of all.”
His overarching message is: “You are not an afterthought, God knows the plans according to Jeremiah 29:11. God has put everything that you need inside of you to bring you to your next level.”
And now for other news in the gospel community….
Anita Wilson is going waaay back to Vintage Worship, the title of her upcoming project on Motown Gospel scheduled for digital downloads on June 24. During a private listening party, the Stellar Award winner and former member of Donald Lawrence’s Company described this style of music: “It’s like a sub-genre of gospel music. Vintage Worship is an audio picture of all of my musical influences of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, which includes what was then contemporary gospel as well as classic soul and R&B. I hope this lends itself to the perfect merge of all of those sounds together—it’s very current but old school.”
Congrats to Grammy-nominated James Fortune & FIYA on the newly released CD—Live Through It. The project is number one on iTunes and features Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs, Alexis Spight and Zacardi Cortez. Once homeless, the Stellar Award composer has written and produced chart-topping songs for gospel music’s A-list including Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Earnest Pugh, J. Moss and Shirley Caesar. The eOne artist/producer made a promotional stop to encourage fans at Chicago’s Inspiration 1390AM and later Pastor John Hannah and New Life Covenant Church on enduring when the process doesn’t look like the promise.
“God showed me how the enemy was attacking my faith because he recognized that my faith was a threat,” says Fortune. “I was being faithful and serving, while it seems that others didn’t care and were just balling—but God said trust the process. A lot of times the promise looks nothing like the process because He’s trying to test your faith. Praise him through the process until God takes you to your promise.” The CD is sure to bless you.
Condolences to JJ Hairston who lost his mother, Evangelist Sandra Johnson earlier this month, our prayers continue for the families.
About Effie Rolfe
Effie Rolfe is a media consultant, personality and speaker. For years, she was the “voice of inspiration” each Sunday morning and middays on Chicago radio. She also speaks at schools, churches and workshops. Effie writes for several publications and is the author of The K(N)ots Prayer. Visit her Website effierolfe.com; like her on mseffierolfe.com and follow her via @effiedrolfe.