Here are the 10 most influential black Christian thought leaders of 2017.
1. Dwight McKissic
- Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Arlington, TX
- Continues to be an important and influential voice in the Southern Baptist Convention, particularly, this year, using his voice to urge convention leaders to pass a resolution condemning white supremacy and white nationalism
2. John Gray
- Teaching pastor at Lakewood in Houston, TX, the largest church in the nation
- This year, he published a bestselling book, I Am Number 8, and launched a television show on the Oprah Winfrey Network
- In 2018, he will take over the leadership of Redemption Church in Greenville, SC, from Ron Carpenter
3. Tony Evans
- Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX
- Continues to be a faithful teacher of God’s Word and consistently calls Christians to live as Kingdom citizens in this world
4. Anthony Evans
- Leader of the National Black Church Initiative which is the voice of 34,000 black churches in the U.S.
- Spoke out regularly on political, social, educational, and financial issues affecting black Americans and other minority groups
5. T.D. Jakes
- Pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, TX, and leader of TDJ Enterprises which produces movies, books, television shows, and music albums
- Continues to be an important and respected voice not only in the church community but in the larger culture
6. Kay Coles James
- President and founder of the Gloucester Institute, a leadership training center for young African Americans
- This year was tapped to head the Heritage Foundation, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the U.S.; will begin her term in 2018
7. Harry Jackson
- Pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.
- One of the chief architects of “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide Movement,” an ever-important effort as racial divisions have been laid bare over the past few years
- Serves as a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory council
8. Charlie Dates
- Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.
- Affiliate professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Adjunct Professor at the Moody Bible Institute
- His articles in Christianity Today serve as timely reminders of the influence the church, and particularly the black church, can have on the culture.
9. Lecrae Moore
- Grammy-winning rapper who released his eighth studio album this year, All Things Work Together
- By speaking out on issues of racism and police brutality, he stirred the debate over unity in the church — specifically whether “white evangelicalism” is open to understanding the experiences of black Americans, drawing support from some such as John Piper and criticism from others
10. Darrell B. Harrison
- A fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey
- In his writing, he applies biblical truth to social, cultural, political, and theological issues in our world
- The first African-American to be ordained a Deacon in the nearly 200-year history of First Baptist Church of Covington (Georgia), where he attended from July 2009 to July 2015.