Leaders Introduce, Pray for New Breath of Life Speaker/Director

Debleaire Snell will also serve as senior pastor of the Oakwood University Church.

By Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review
Leaders Introduce, Pray for New Breath of Life Speaker/Director

ebleaire Snell and his wife, Gianna, were recently introduced to the Oakwood University Church community and regional church leaders. Snell is the new senior pastor of the congregation on the campus of Oakwood University. He is also the new director/speaker of the Breath of Life TV ministries. The Snells’ introduction took place during the second night of the 2021 Pastoral Evangelism and Leadership Council, on December 6, 2021.

Regional church and educational leaders congratulated the Snells as they prayed for God to pour His abundant blessings on their ministry. Debleaire Snell replaces Carlton Byrd, who was recently elected president of the Southwest Regional Conference of the Adventist Church.

Oakwood University president Leslie Pollard welcomed the Snells to Oakwood and said he’s happy they will be serving the church at the historically Black Adventist school.

“Oakwood University, built on a plot of land that was a former plantation, has the goal and mission of having ‘God First,’ as the school motto says. We are glad you and your family have become part of this mission,” Pollard said. The school recently celebrated 125 years of service to the church and the community in the local area and around the world.

During the brief December 6 ceremony, North American Division (NAD) president G. Alex Bryant led a group of presidents of the Regional Conferences (historically African American church administrative territories) to congratulate the Snells. Bryant said that the process of choosing a new speaker/director for Breath of Life was thorough. 

“We held numerous consultations and held numerous discussions,” Bryant said. Leaders also prayed. At the end of July 2021, the North American Division Adventist Media Ministries board the North American Division Adventist Media Ministries board reported it had elected Snell. “Pastor Snell is a gifted communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Bryant had said at the time. “God has called him to build on the great legacy of the Breath of Life Ministries forged by those who have gone before. I believe God has brought him to this ministry for such a time as this.”

Bryant emphasized that church leaders have committed to support the Snell’s ministry and, specifically, Deblaire’s leadership at the helm of Breath of Life.

“We want to make sure that viewers have access and can watch Breath of Life programs,” Bryant said during the December 6 introduction. “And we want the ministry to be broadcast in prime time — not at times when nobody is watching but in prime time,” he emphasized.

About Deblaire and Gianna Snell

According to Regional Conference sources, Debleaire Snell is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. He is a graduate of both Oakwood University and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. For more than two decades, he has been a pastor in the U.S. states of Mississippi, Kentucky, and Alabama. Gianna Snell is a graduate of Andrews University. She is a wife, mother of three, and an entrepreneur. She is the owner of Gianna Snell Photography in Huntsville.

Since 2010, Debleaire has served as senior pastor of the three campuses of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church (First Church, Abundant Life, and The Bridge) in Huntsville. He has conducted several major evangelistic meetings for the church. During his time at First Church, there have been 878 baptisms. In 2020, Snell launched a local television ministry with the Huntsville CBS affiliate.

Snell has taught at Oakwood University as an adjunct professor since 2010. In addition to starting a devotional column in a local newspaper while in Kentucky, Snell has authored six books.

“I am humbled for the opportunity to serve my Lord and Savior in this capacity,” Snell said. “It is my goal to zealously make Christ known through the preaching of the gospel.” 

About Breath of Life

Breath of Life is a TV ministry dedicated to sharing the healing gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, according to its website. The ministry accomplished this by producing and distributing Christ-centered quality television and media programs, along with support materials that are intellectually stimulating, Bible-based, and designed to help people choose a quality of life found only in following Christ.

Breath of Life began broadcasting in 1974. It was the dream of pastor and recording artist Walter Arties to create a program that would appeal to African-Americans looking for hope and guidance. For 23 years, C. D. Brooks was the featured speaker.

In 1997, Walter L. Pearson Jr. became the speaker/director, and he continued the legacy begun by Arties and Brooks. Through the years, the broadcast broadened its target audience to include all those searching for hope and the assurance of God’s powerful message of salvation.

In December 2010, Carlton P. Byrd assumed the role of speaker/director. Byrd continued to expand the vision and reach of Breath of Life as he built on the foundation laid by those who have gone before him.

Snell said his goal is to build upon such a rich history. “I look forward, with God’s help, to adding to the rich legacy established by Pastor [C. D.] Brooks, Walter Pearson, and Dr. Byrd. I would like to thank the leadership of the North American Division, along with members of the Breath of Life board and Adventist Media Ministries, for entrusting me with this sacred responsibility,” he said.

By Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review