Since 2020, the United States has been more divided than ever before.
Consequently, the same proved true of the church.
This only deepened the umbrage many churchgoers had taken with the church and by- association, the faith. Deconstruction arose out of a shift in the world that no longer saw in-person church attendance as essential to the everyday lives of people.
This only further amplified talking heads who were already not favorable to the church to convince people of why they do not need church—the racism, the tainted history, and the role westernized Christianity has played in the disadvantages experienced by black people for centuries.
Sprinkle in some public scandals of popular pastors, leaders, and churches, and you push a community already with plausible cause over the edge of deep suspicion to a proverbial island of, I can do this without them.
Over the last 3 years, a remnant of black faith leaders have given reason for people, specifically black people, to believe in the design and purpose of the church again. These leaders have galvanized their cities for many to engage God and his Church for the very first time and for others to try again.
These 25 Black faith leaders are growing their audiences, churches, and initiatives at a time of rapid decline in church attendance. These faith leaders continue to thrive and make major inroads for the faith, whether it is in contending for the faith in the face of opposing views, invading the private and public mainstream sectors, by leading with their faith in the Bible and Jesus.
Others have used their influence to transform cities on the political side or to address racism as a major barrier for people to come to faith. Others have established a culture that invites and encourages the unchurched and new to church to reimagine what church culture is and what it means to be a place to belong. None of these faith leaders are perfect or without critics, but they are leading the charge for a generation to find their purpose in Jesus.
The requirements for this list were based on a number of factors and selected by a group of 25 people. Factors included:
Lead at a predominately black church. Have a notable presence and reputation in the city in which your church is located. Have been leading in ministry for at least 5 years. Their name appeared at least five times in a survey of 100 individuals who profess to be Christians.
Other factors include. Being recognized nationally. Rather it is in print, digital, news outlets, or radio.
The faith leaders have created or founded works, organizations, or events designed to serve the community for at least the past 3 years. Having a significant influence with the Gen-Z and Millennial demographic.
A morally good reputation. These faith leaders are regularly considered to be sound teachers of the Bible. Their influence seems to only be increasing. And yes, they have to be Black.
Check out the 2023 Faith leaders to follow list:
Carl Day: Pastor and community organizer in Philadelphia: Pastor of Culture Changing Christians ministry and organizes programs to help young men escape gun violence, poverty, addiction and incarceration.
Stephen Chandler: Stephen Chandler is the senior pastor of Union Church based in Maryland.
Union is one of the fastest growing churches in America. In 2020 Union church was named thee fastest growing church in the country. Union now has 6 campuses.
Robert Madu: Pastor at Social Dallas in Dallas, TX. Has become one of the most sought out preachers of Gen X according to google search ranking and Instagram hashtags.
Charlie Dates: Senior Pastor at Progressive Baptist Church and last year took over for the retired Pastor Meeks to become the Senior pastor of one Chicago’s largest mega-churches, Salem Baptist.
Sarah Jakes Roberts: Pastor at One Church, and founder of Woman Evolve conference that just sold out the Globe Life field of 40,000 women.
Dr. Sarita Lyons: Dr. Lyons is an Elder at Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. Recently one ton tour with Jackie Hill Perry for the Glory tour and has become the top woman voice in urban apologetics’s and advocate for female theologians.
Mike Todd: Pastor Mike Todd easily the most polarizing pastor in the country right now. The Pastor of Transformation church, Tulsa, OK has become the face of a generation of believers and blueprint for reaching them.
Dr. Eric Mason: Senior pastor of Epiphany Fellowship who coined the term, “Woke church”. Easily the most vocal theologian in the face of racial tensions that arose in 2020 and the leading voice in urban apologetics’s around the country.
Jackie Hill Perry: Author and Bible teacher Jackie Hill Perry has become one of the leading voices of this generation especially in bible teaching and urban apologetics.
Jerry Flowers: Pastor of Time of Celebration church and founder of Redefined TV made waves on youtube becoming a sounding board for millennials.
Mike McClure Jr: Pastor Mike Jr. has one of the fastest growing ministries in the south and is an 11 time award winning recording artist. Pastor Mike recently made a appearance on The Tamron Hall show.
Priscilla Shirer: The cross generational staple in the faith has been Priscilla Shirer. Of the 10 most viewed sermons on Youtube just last year, Priscilla topped the list with over 5,063,920 views.
Touré Roberts: Pastor at One Church and author Touré has become a go to leader in the faith on major issues around the world appearing on The Breakfast club and other major outlets.
Dr. Bobby Manning: Pastor Bobby as his congregation calls him is the first Black pastor of The First Baptist church of District Heights and founder of The Gas Station takeover and Sneakerfest where The Heights church and others collectively give away over $25k in gas and for back to school over $25k worth of sneakers.
Brandon Watts: Pastor Watts is the pastor of Epiphany Brooklyn. A thriving church plant out of the Epiphany Fellowship tree under Dr. Eric Mason. Pastor Watts has made a major impact in Brooklyn. Becoming a church that attracts creatives in the Gen Z and Millennial demographic.
Dr.Dharius Daniels: Dr. Daniels as an author and pastor of Change Church. Daniels really made his mark in reaching men of this generation. One of the most prolific voices our time.
Jerome Gay Jr: The Senior Pastor at Vision Church in Raleigh, NC. Pastor Gay jr. became one of the most vocal voices in urban apologetics’s and the matter of racism in christianity with is book, The White Washing of Christianity.
Dr. Thema Bryant: Minister and clinical Psychologist has made major headway. From Ted talks to speaking on platforms such as CNN and NPR. Dr. Thema also host the Homecoming podcast on mental health. She also leads the mental health ministry at First AME church in South Los Angeles.
Dr. Bryan Loritts: Pastor Loritts, is the son of the giant in the faith Crawford Loritts. He is the Senior pastor at Summit Church. As an author Loritts continues to find relevance and influence on this generation.
Preston Perry: Spoken word artist and urban apologist. Preston has continued to be a voice a generation of men can relate. Preston and his wife Jackie Hill Perry further cemented themselves as a major influence with there podcast 30 mins with The Perry’s.
Jennifer Lucy-Tyler: Bible teacher and founder of Soul circle ministries. Tyler continues to be a leading voice for biblical womanhood and advocate for women theologians.
Jada Edwards: Speaker and Bible teacher. Jada and her husband lead One Community church in 2008. One Community now has 6 campuses.
Sam Collier: Senior pastor at Story Church Atlanta. (Previously Hillsong Atlanta). Pastor Collier is an innovator reaching creatives and millennials with a growing influence in the Atlanta area.
Ekemini Uwan: Theologian and speaker Ekemini has made groundbreaking inroads for the faith. With her wildly successful podcast Truths table. The podcast has over 4 million downloads.
Furthermore, Ekemini is also an NAACP image award nominated author.
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