The development of the next generation of clergy and lay leadership is a long-standing core conviction and driving force in the Central Texas Conference’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. “Bishop Lowry has repeatedly reminded us on the Cabinet, as well as the entire conference, of his firm belief that God is calling us to identify, grow and lift up a new generation of leadership in the church, and that we need to invest in leaders who can creatively and faithfully work to move forward to a new spring the Methodist movement,” said Jeff Roper, executive director of the Roberts Center for Leadership and Administration. “That is one of the several reasons why I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Meredith Bell will be joining the Central Texas Conference team as our Coordinator of Emerging Leaders.”
The Coordinator of Emerging Leaders role will primarily focus on working with Campus Ministries and cultivating the call to ordained ministry in young adults – two areas about which Meredith is quite familiar and passionate.
Dr. Meredith Bell is excited about the opportunities in he officially new role as Central Texas Conference Coordinator of Emerging Leaders. "Young adults are full of potential. They offer hope...they are our next leaders. I look forward to helping grow and raise up the next generation of Christian leaders for the Central Texas Conference and our world."
Photo courtesy Dr. Meredith Bell
“Young Adults desire space in their lives to make-meaning of the world around them. This space is essential for their personal and spiritual development. Now more than ever, we need young adults who are equipped to be Christian Leaders in our communities,” observed Dr. Bell. “We need young adults who are deeply spiritual, compassionate and aware of the needs around them. We also need young adults who are courageous to lead and committed to serving Christ at home, at school, in churches and in their careers. I am excited and energized by this opportunity and look forward to working with my conference colleagues as we help to grow and raise up the next generations of Christian leadership for the Central Texas Conference and our world.”
Vibrant and effective campus ministry is an integral part of the Conference’s strategic direction to develop young adults into Christian leaders in their school, community and in the church. As a part of her role, Meredith will effort to support and invest in innovative spiritual leaders of campus ministry, consult with existing campus ministry teams to expand the impact on their students and campus and increase awareness of our campus ministries and their value to the communities with the local churches of the CTC.
Another major focus for Meredith as the Coordinator of Emerging Leaders will be to identify and generate opportunities to reach young adults, especially those considering ordained ministry and support them on that journey, as well as build active relationships with the conference programs and other points of contact and influence with young adults like the Praxis Internship Program, Glen Lake Camp, Project Transformation and the District Youth Discipleship Coordinators.
“Young adults are full of potential,” noted Dr. Bell. “Working in campus ministry the past six years allowed me to be on the front lines of engagement with young adults. They desire to deepen their faith through meaningful spiritual conversations to help them make sense of the world around us. Students today are extremely creative, expressive and highly educated. They offer hope to their generation and future generations because they are our next leaders.”
“We also know that God is calling young adults into professional ministry in Central Texas,” Meredith continued. “The work of discerning that call and encouraging it in a student’s life is the work of a campus pastor. Our campus pastors are doing this work every day. I am honored to be a part of that work through this new role in the Central Texas Conference.”
Meredith begins her role as the Coordinator of Emerging Leaders on October 1. Please join all the Central Texas Conference team in praying for her, her leadership and all the emerging leaders of the Central Texas Conference.
A native of Texas, Meredith Bell was raised in the small town of Graham. Before her most recent work at the UCF Wesley Corsicana, she served as Pastor for Women’s Ministry at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, Southlake, Texas. Other ministry roles include serving as an associate pastor in youth ministry, evangelism and pastoral care in other churches in the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. In addition, Meredith worked as a hospital chaplain for five years in the Texas Health Resources system, specifically at Texas Health Harris Downtown Ft. Worth, Texas Health Southwest and Texas Health HEB. In 2020, Dr. Bell worked alongside the leadership of Navarro College to create Bulldog Life – a holistic approach to student development at Navarro College. Bulldog Life focuses on student experiences through Learning, Living and Launching.
Meredith graduated with a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in 1999, completed her Masters of Theological Studies degree in 2001 and her Doctorate of Ministry degree in May 2018 from Perkins School of Theology/SMU (Dallas, TX). She is an ordained Deacon in The United Methodist Church as well as Spiritual Director. Meredith, her husband Rev. Dr. Steven Bell, and their two daughters currently reside in Louisiana.
A highlight in the success of Dr. Bell’s ministry has been the recognitions received for her evangelism. In 2020, Meredith was awarded the Francis Asbury Award, named for early American Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury. This award honors his call to establish a school in the vicinity of every church. “We must,” he said, “… give the key of knowledge to your children, and those of the poor in the vicinity of your small towns and villages.” Today, the award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering United Methodist ministries in higher education at the local, district or annual conference level. It is awarded annually to one honoree per annual conference.
Most recently, in June of 2021, Meredith received The Harry Denman Evangelism Award at the Central Texas Annual Conference. This award is given to recognize those whose lives exemplify the Great Commission through word and deed, as well as the ministry of evangelism consistently bringing people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.