Profile - Meet Pete & Debbie

Pete & Debbie Turnbull

Pete Turnbull has recently been invited to join the eldership team at Gateway.  In the Know interviews Debbie about her husband…

Hi Debbie, tell us about where you and Pete come from and how you met? Pete comes from Plymouth and is the youngest of 6. I grew up in Bexleyheath, near London, with my parents and an older brother.  Pete and I met each other in our first year at Birmingham University in halls of residence.

What were your first impressions? Talk, dark, handsome and funny! He’s a little less dark now!

How did you get together? We went out for a while at uni, but lost touch after we left..  A few years later, Pete popped into my head and I decided to get in touch.  We were both working in London at the time, but I didn’t know that. He called straight back, because God had given him a dream about me the previous night. We met for a drink and that was the start! Pete was sold out for God and I knew he was different from anyone else I knew.  Three weeks later I joined an Alpha course and in October 1998 wholeheartedly gave my life to Jesus. We got engaged a few months later and were married a year after I made that first phone call.  

God was obviously involved in you coming together -  but was He also involved in your move to Ashford? Yes. We were married and lived in London for 10 years.  Our eldest 3 children were born there and we were involved in a New Frontiers church in Bermondsey, but we somehow knew it wasn’t going to be permanent.  We were restless and began to ask God to release us from London – but didn’t know where. Then we saw our house in Ashford in Bluebell Road.  We visited Gateway and felt at home. Our brother-law phoned us to say he was praying and getting the word “bluebell”, and was this significant?! This was such a huge encouragement that God was with us! He clearly showed us he was in the move and wasn’t going to let us down, and that was important, because after our move, Pete’s job, finances and school placements for the children became tricky.

How do you feel about Pete being asked to become a church elder? We’re both really excited and probably a little bit apprehensive!  Pete’s never looked for this position and I have definitely never thought of myself as an elder's wife! But we believe that God has positioned Pete for this time, to bring something that the church needs.

He’s been described as a “Market place elder”. What does that mean? It means he will continue to work full time in his job (in finance within an insurance company) but will attend elders’ meetings and be involved in decision making and strategy. He won’t be employed by the church.

What will he bring to this role? Pete is a gifted all-rounder. He is wise, thoughtful, and doesn’t rush into things.  He listens to God and has a real integrity.  He does the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing, and he isn’t afraid to speak out if he doesn’t agree. He has a down-to-earth view of what it’s like to work as a Christian in a secular job, and understands the challenges of living for Jesus in the workplace.

What challenges do you see? Managing our time wisely – juggling four children and work with church. But we believe that God has called us to it so we trust Him for all that we need. Our past experience of God tells us that He is absolutely faithful.

Pray for wisdom in terms of being the parents/ husband and wife God has called us to be, and also how we can invest in the bigger church picture.


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Find out more about Elders at Gateway

Gateway Church Ashford, is a church in Ashford, Kent, and is part of the New Frontiers movement and within the Catalyst Network sphere.