When You Have the Master’s Decree, You Don’t Need a Master’s Degree
The Genesis Terrell Effect
In the beginning, Genesis Terrell was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the only child of a single black mother, he lived through many situations that could make him a statistic. He attended three different schools in kindergarten and a total of six different schools throughout his elementary years. This would have been a disorienting and traumatic experience for many but God used it to begin cultivating “The Genesis Terrell” effect. Through these trials, Genesis gained an appreciation for diverse cultures and familiarity with many ways of life. God’s providence has brought him forth as a victor, not a statistic.
“The Genesis Terrell Effect” is a phenomenon that occurs when this innovator makes a grace-driven effort to be obedient. His willingness to be a vessel and utilize his blessings to serve others has significantly impacted many lives. At age 18, Genesis inherited a large sum of money. Youth and inexperience had him irresponsibly blow through a portion of it but he also generously helped several friends and family members with bills and other needs. He donated books to the library at his former junior high and donated to the career center. One afternoon while Genesis was out shopping for sound equipment, he witnessed a nine year old boy steal a few moments playing an expensive keyboard. The boy’s grandmother scolded him and instructed him to stop. Genesis asked the boy, “Hey, Do you want that? Would you like to take it home?” The boy said yes!
Genesis manifested this boy’s dream into reality when he purchased the keyboard. As they parted ways that day, Genesis advised the boy to learn how to play it and do something awesome. Ten years later, the boy, now a young man, contacted Genesis on social media. Genesis was astounded to learn how the young musician’s talent had been nurtured by one simple gesture of generosity. Impacted by “The Genesis Terrell Effect,” the naughty boy in the music store evolved into a proficient and successful artist.
As a child, Genesis typically went to church with his family. His mom found Jesus when he was nine years old. Genesis remembers not fully understanding what she was talking about when she called herself a “born-again Christian.” He just knew there was something more powerful than humanity above the sky. As a teenager, Genesis enjoyed going to church for the positive atmosphere, community, and pretty girls. Throughout his youth, Genesis’s faith fluctuated between believing in God and trusting in his limited human understanding rooted in things he could decipher with his physical senses. The higher ways of God were complicated and it was easier to make sense of things just before him in the physical realm.
Unlike some of his counterparts, Genesis did not get sucked into using or distributing drugs or committing crimes. He was entrenched in the secular music scene and surrounded by unrighteousness. God spared him from some dysfunctional tendencies but didn’t stop him from having persistent and pervasive sinful relationships with married women. During this phase of his life, Genesis preferred to date married women because there was no commitment and minimal expectations. He was on the fence with spiritual things and living recklessly in many ways.
In 2008, a vivid spiritual attack initiated a process of transformation and heart change in Genesis. He was staying alone in a Las Vegas hotel room with the door locked. The lights went out during his shower. Genesis felt a force restrain him and hold his mouth open while water rushed in. A fear of drowning gripped him while Genesis fumbled for the shower curtain. After struggling a while longer, he was able to grab the shower curtain and pull it down. Genesis stumbled to the counter in the dark and prayed. Genesis believes that the devil was trying to kill him but God showed up just in time and saved him for a purpose. The light came on and Genesis vowed to take God more seriously and live a life that brings Him glory.
After that experience, Genesis prioritized building a relationship with God. Genesis says, “Religion is what you do, relationship is the connection you have. Just because a person goes to church, doesn’t mean they have that relationship.” He became better acquainted with God by reading the Bible and learning about God’s character and attributes. Genesis believes it’s important for people to put in the work to get to know God for themselves instead of trusting church leaders to do all of the heavy lifting in their relationship with God.
Committing to a relationship with God didn’t make life perfect right away. A move to Michigan in 2009 accompanied with short-lived success ushered in character building exercises through hard times. His work as a talent buyer was not creating the revenue required to pay the bills. One humbling memory is marked by searching through empty cupboards looking for something to eat. His eyes lit up when he found a can of creamed corn left in the cupboard by the previous tenants. Forgetting that he hates creamed corn, Genesis pried the can open with a fork and devoured it like prime rib. That night, he began sleeping in his office. On a particularly cold, dark, and dreary night, Genesis returned to his office to find the locks had been changed. Out of options, Genesis broke the window and found refuge in that space for the last time.
In 2009, the dark and dreary December weather reflected Genesis’s mood and his outlook on life. He was homeless and forced to wash up in public bathrooms. He didn’t have a smart phone and used a broken Nokia to book artists. Genesis didn’t feel comfortable relying on his family because he wasn’t meeting their expectations. Being around his family would be uncomfortable but his friend Felix was a true saving grace during this chapter. Felix was a dependable and encouraging friend when Genesis desperately needed one. Felix lifted Genesis’s spirits the first night with hospitality and an encouraging piano interlude. When Felix began to sing, Genesis felt hope again and knew things were going to be okay. Felix’s home provided his friend with a space to recharge and get back on the horse. Felix has since passed on from this life. Genesis is grateful to have known him and thinks of him every day.
Genesis confidently returned to Columbus, Ohio, in the spring of 2010. He’d experienced success as a talent buyer and musician when he lived there previously. Gig work was easy for him to find. Within a few months, he got on his feet, and moved back to Albion, Michigan. The entrepreneur acquired a home and luxury car. He’d met a beautiful woman at church in 2009 and things were heating up and getting serious with her. Genesis intentionally built this relationship on a foundation of faith, honor, and respect. With her father’s blessing, Genesis asked the woman to marry him on a holiday vacation in Chicago on New Year’s Day, 2012. Together they began building their life in Albion.
For over fifty-five years, The “Festival of the Forks” has celebrated the splitting of the Kalamazoo River in downtown Albion. On the third full weekend in September, over 10,000 people come together as a community and enjoy ethnic diversity, food, music, cars, family, and friends. In 2011, Genesis spoke to the Chamber of Commerce about performing at this event. No performance slots were available but God put some exciting things in motion for 2012. Genesis was invited to join the team as the director of arts and entertainment for the city of Albion. A substantial budget gave him the freedom to create opportunities for himself and other artists. He coordinated entertainment for the festival and created several other events.
This man of many talents does not have an education or training that taught him the right way to plan events, make music, create graphic designs, be a DJ, or manage a print shop. The ability to learn by doing through necessity and his willingness to serve are attributes that have opened many doors for him. Working for Albion was a pivotal experience in Genesis’s journey of learning by doing. He gained access to new opportunities by working well with community partners and venues. Being in charge of arts and entertainment for Albion from 2013–2018 gave him the skills and network that led to adventures like hosting “Bless Fest,” working as a regional talent scout for “America’s Got Talent,” building the “Teen Talent Showcase,” hosting a radio show in Battle Creek, and working as a talent buyer for the Jackson County Fair.
Success and joy dominated his career and marriage for several years. The structure provided by his marriage and family was nurturing and comfortable. The community looked up to Genesis as “the couple that made it; the couple to be like.” He was the guy of her dreams and she was the girl of his dreams but somewhere that spiraled downward into a nightmare. Early in 2020, his wife came home with some devastating news. She was taking her daughter and leaving him to start a new life with a different man in another state. To complicate matters, the new man was somebody that Genesis had collaborated with. This painful loss impacted every relationship and situation in his life.
Genesis considered reacting violently to his infuriation but conversations with God brought him back to his senses. “Now you know how the husbands of the women you dated felt when they found out about you. It doesn’t feel good, does it?” God said to Genesis. God told Genesis to pray for the man by name. His eyes overflowing with angry tears, Genesis obeyed. It was a humbling experience that let him feel God’s grace and mercy in new and beautiful ways.
Genesis had many questions for God. “Why would you let this happen?” God reminded him who’s in charge and asked his own questions. “Who do you serve? Is your wife your God? Is the church that’s disappointed by this situation your God? Can’t I use this situation to draw you in and glorify myself?” Genesis chose to trust in God’s goodness in the midst of his sadness and disappointment. Pressing into God and dealing with his pain from a biblical perspective has kept him upbeat and focused throughout the process. Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.” Resting on that high ground in light of his divorce has given Genesis the opportunity to understand the depth, love, and validity of those words. As a result of losing his wife, Genesis is a stronger man with a more intimate relationship with God.
The loss of this union has not stopped the momentum of “The Genesis Terrell Effect.” It continues to ripple out as this entrepreneur works to create possibilities for ministry within every interaction. It’s tempting to be prideful regarding some of his accomplishments yet Genesis prefers to give all glory to God. He’s accepting of and kind to everyone that crosses his path. God is responsible for all of his success and blessings. Genesis credits himself only with being a willing vessel. He looks for opportunities to make people smile and bring light into their day, especially people that disagree with him or are walking a different path. Genesis does not want to be remembered simply as a music and entertainment success. He wants to be remembered as a blessing.
Utilizing his connections and platform to create opportunities for others is an integral component of “The Genesis Terrell Effect.” His hand has been involved in people getting major awards, record deals, and platinum albums. He’s facilitated connections that evolved into important relationships that resulted in collaborations that create opportunities for artists and the community members that enjoy their performances. In 2019, Genesis accomplished his goal of bringing currently relevant talent to Albion for free performances. People won’t remember his name, but they will remember that they saw Grammy-nominated artist Koryn Hawthorne for free at Albion College; “The Genesis Terrell Effect.”
Genesis lives on the South side of Lansing with his Yorkshire Terrier and amazingly talented mother. He travels often and spends time at his second home in North Carolina. He facilitates, hosts, and Dj’s a wide variety of public and private events such as weddings, music festivals, and church services. He’s skilled at graphic design, manages a print shop, manages artists, and produces music. The first season of his newest project, F.A.M.E. TV, debuted Fall 2020. F.A.M.E. TV puts the spotlight on faith-based entertainment, entrepreneurs, art, and music. Genesis is proud of the deep and profound nature of the interviews he had with great people. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or by phone at (517) 414–9915.
~written by Erica Munchbach