Pastor Colleen Bennett-Houston "Godsgirl2"
Colleen Smith was re-born March 1971 while attending service at Faith Temple COGIC in Evanston, Illinois. The Holy Ghost convicted her heart of sin and she came crying "what must I do to be saved?," Having been delivered from a troubled life of alcohol, truancy, criminal activity and juvenile incarceration she sat eagerly and enthusiastically under the teaching of her pastor, Bishop Carlis L. Moody, Sr.
In 1972, while attending a Bible Camp in Iowa, Colleen felt God call her into the ministry of Evangelism. Thus after graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1973, Colleen attended Trinity Bible Institute in North Dakota. In 1972, she also met Minister Andrew Bennett, a Christian Drug Rehabilitation Counselor also attending Faith Temple COGIC; and on June 29, 1974 Andrew Bennett married Colleen Smith, and to their union were born two sons, Andrew Jr. and William Anthony.
Evangelist Bennett served as co-pastor with her husband in establishing and building the City of Refuge COGIC which opened its doors in February 1976 in Bloomington, Illinois. As Co-founder and Co-pastor she worked in the ministry to help build their congregation from a membership of two to a church that over-flows on Sunday mornings. Together, Co-pastor Bennett and her husband, Pastor Andrew Bennett Sr. founded G.R.O.U.P. (God Reaching Out Using People), an organization established to minister to those whose lives have been ill-affected by drugs, alcohol, gangs or incarceration. Co-pastor Bennett, affectionately known as Godsgirl2 because of her dynamic style of preaching and teaching and commitment to God, is also the founder of GodsGirl 2 Christian Network, an organization that recognizes and rewards Christian women for their work in the home, church, business world, and community.
After the demise of her husband, Pastor Colleen became Senior Pastor of City of Refuge from 2003 until 2006. Under her administration the church flourished and grew to capacity. During her administration she established a free tutoring program, community outreach and transitional home (G.R.O.U.P.). January 2007 she turned the reign of the church over to her youngest son, Senior Pastor William Bennett who, along with his brother Lead Pastor Andrew Jr., has kept the vision going and moved the church into a new facility. She still serves as Founder and Lead Pastor. She is most proud of being a servant of Christ, a mother and grandmother.
Pastor Colleen has worked in Prison Ministry for over 30 years serving as the Chaplain of the McLean County Jail for eleven years. She was the first female and first Afro-American to hold this position in McLean County. She was the liaison between the courts, the inmates and the community. She also serves as Senior Chaplain of Lincoln Correctional Center since 2012. Lincoln is an all-male facility and she is one of only two women that has held a Senior Chaplain position in an all-male facility. Her dynamic style, grace and anointing allowed her to have favor with the courts, officers and the inmates.
Pastor Colleen is a graduate of Illinois State University holding a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Theology from the International Seminary. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree.
She is a trailblazer and a pursuer of God. She was recognized as one of 25 Women In Leadership in Central Illinois for 2006 and was nominated for the Women of Distinction Award and The Athena Award. She is an Author (What's Love Got To Do With It), Life Coach, Motivational, Seminar and Conference Speaker and Anointed Revivalist. Her autobiography "Broken Chains" is due out in 2015. Pastor Bennett-Houston is a lover of her Savior, Jesus Christ, and a lover of people who has traveled throughout the United States ministering to the lost and to the people of God a message of healing, and deliverance. She believes the Word of God when it states; "in as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
In 2007 she was blessed to meet Pastor Ray Houston, author of "There Is Life After Drugs-How Bad Do You Want It?" (www.pastorrayhouston.com). They were united in marriage in May 2008.