JAMAIL JOHNSON, 39, The WORD Church, Preaching: 30 years

As a young minister, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the pulpit to create a paradigm shift in our history and culture that continues to this day.  This change agent attracted a new generation of young people using the church as the foundation to demand the doors of opportunity be opened. Here, Houston ministers under 40 discuss how they hope to institute change, how to attract and encourage more young people and the role of the Black church in general.


“I consider myself a changemaker because my daily domain is in the heart of the community as I work with numerous organizations to build and support change. I am known for my unique ability to transcend social, cultural and economic boundaries to impact our society. With a bottomless empathy for all, from youth to adults, I view their challenges as my opportunity for their victories. Whether I am serving the community through many outreach events, organizational programs, mentoring or training, it is my goal to build other changemakers to positively contribute to society and enhance partnerships to drive progressive movement forward.”


“I honestly believe the church must be both relevant and relational to reach more young people. Being relevant points more to the church speaking to the issues of the day, the culture we live in and bringing a biblical approach to addressing these issues and ultimately showing young people how to dominate the culture and not have the culture dominate them. In addition, I believe young people are demanding in a sense for the churches they attend to be relational, where a person is not simply seen as a number in the crowd but a contributing partner to the growth, development and vision of the church.”


“The role of the Black church today, to me, is the same as it’s been since its inception. The Black church has been and still is a place for creating individual, systemic and political change within the Black community. However, in the tense climate we are currently in, I believe the Black church, not just some, but THE Black church must reclaim its voice and provide leadership through these tumultuous times, encourage education and economic growth, speak truth to power and provide hope for our communities as we cross the bridge that will lead us from our historic past to an illustrious future.”