BCNN1’s 10 Most Influential Black Christian Thought Leaders of 2017

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.