Ellen K. Blackwell, an active Assemblies of God pastor at the age of 101, received the Lifetime Influencer Award Tuesday at the Influence Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Blackwell has been an ordained AG minister for 55 years and she still pastors Mount Zion Assembly of God in Charles Town, West Virginia. Along the way, her main focus has been training young people for ministry.
As such, Blackwell founded the Fellowship House Retreat Center in Midgal, Israel, a five-building complex that overlooks the Sea of Gallilee and can accommodate up to 40 people for teaching seminars and prayer retreats. Blackwell has taken more than 100 trips to Israel, where she lectures and teaches at biblically historical sites. She even spent her 100th birthday in Israel.
The AG Executive Leadership Team created the Lifetime Influencer Award to honor those of have an innovative approach to ministry, who amplify their influence, and who are making a global difference.
"We cannot think of a more worthy recipient," General Superintendent George O. Wood said in presenting the award to Blackwell. "Your life of influence in ministry, both from the pulpit and in service to others, is an inspiration to every generation." Wood said Blackwell is an example of how the Lord can start a ministry through people regardless of their age.
Blackwell recounted how, at the age of 91, God called her to Israel. After fasting for three days with a dozen members from the church she pastored, the Lord presented the vision for the retreat center. Blackwell said she is still learning, just four months shy of her 102nd birthday.
"Isn't it grand that the Lord did not make a compulsory retirement at 65 years of age?" Blackwell asked.
Amy Turnage, director of operations for the Center for Holy Lands Studies, says Blackwell has challenged her to grow in her faith, to live fearlessly, and to take God at his Word.
"Sister Blackwell has impacted thousands by her utter devotion to the call of God on her life," Turnage says. "She listens and acts without question to the Lord's direction which has led to many miraculous events that would seem to her commonplace. She understands with assurance what having faith in, and what trusting in God is about."
Blackwell was born on Dec. 13, 1913, and is actually older than the Assemblies of God, which came into existence five months later. Yet she remains passionate about ministry.
AG Pastor Tommy Barnett, founder of the Los Angeles Dream Center and Phoenix Dream Center, received the inaugural Lifetime Influencer Award in 2011. Youth ministry leader Jeanne Mayo had the honor in 2013.