Organization: MovementForward Inc. and OneCOP initiative
Social media handles: @revmarkel
The Rev. Markel Hutchins, 41, is head of MovementForward Inc., a “modern collaborative for human and civil rights,” that is focused on inclusively involving people of every race, ideology and professional sector in social activism. He is a well-known figure in metro Atlanta and has led many high-profile civil rights and other community causes. An ordained Baptist minister and prolific orator, “Rev. Markel” has been preaching since he was 8 years old.
When did you know that God was calling you to be a messenger of the Gospel?
That’s an interesting question because many people conflate preaching with being a messenger of the Gospel. But, I’d been preaching to my family and friends – both real and imaginary — since I was a small child so I was clearly always drawn to the Gospel. At the age of 16 during a special community service in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where I grew up, I experienced an unmistakably divine yearning to preach the Gospel. Over the years, I have come to place a great deal more value on being a messenger and servant than being a preacher and minister.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
Without question, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is my biggest inspiration. The work of the Gospel came alive in and through Dr. King. He was truly a minister and a messenger – a prophet — not merely a preacher. I often lament about the overabundance of preachers today and the absence of true messengers.
Who are your favorite disciples? Please explain.
Probably Paul. For one thing, he credited for writing much of the New Testament. More importantly, here is a guy who is so flawed, so errant and so misguided but God used him anyway. Paul is perhaps the Bible’s most powerful example that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God can still use you and just one encounter with Christ can change everything.
What is your favorite story in the Bible that addresses health and healing?
The story of Jesus healing the blind man by the pool in the ninth chapter of John is a favorite of mine because Jesus makes it clear that the man’s blindness was not a result of anything that he’d done. The man had been blind for one reason alone — so that Jesus could heal him. That is a powerful lesson that I want people to understand. Issues, challenges, trials and tribulations, even illness, often come into our life just so that the power of God might be revealed to and through us.
What are your five favorite gospel songs?
“Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood
“Center of My Joy” by Richard Smallwood
“Order My Steps” by the GMWA Women of Worship
“Place of Restoration” by Shannon Tebo and the former Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Choir
“Perfect Praise” by Walt Whitman and the Children of Chicago