6 Black Christian Leaders Every Christian Should Know About

6 Black Christian Leaders Every Christian Should Know About

The PBS series The Black Church recently highlighted the history and the contribution of the Black Church to American life and the broader Christian church. Many Christians do not know the rich history of the Black church, so, in that spirit, this article shares seven Black Christian Leaders you should know about. Each one has made or is making a unique contribution to the larger Christian church.

As with any list of this nature, there will be people the author omitted who could have been included. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather is intended to introduce you to some Black Christian leaders, both present and future, whose ministries are a blessing to the larger church and who whose ministries would make a significant impact in your Christian life.

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Dr. Carl Ellis Jr

1. Dr. Carl Ellis Jr.

Dr. Carl Ellis currently serves as the Provost’s Professor of Theology and Culture, Assistant to the Chancellor, and Senior Fellow of the African American Leadership Initiative at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on staff at churches and on the faculty of several seminaries since 1969. He studied under Francis Shaeffer at L’Abri and received a D.Phil from Oxford Graduate School. Dr. Ellis also taught for Prison Fellowship.

2. Dr. Francis Grimke

Dr. Francis Grimke served as the Pastor of 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for almost 50 years. Born to a white plantation owner and his mixed-race slave in South Carolina, he escaped captivity and received an education from a school started by the Freeman’s Bureau and the American Missionary Association. He attended Lincoln University and completed a graduate degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. During his ministry, Grimke labored to preach faithfully and to care for the people in his church. He also played a key role in the push for equal rights for Black Americans and helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons.

Photo courtesy: ©Dr. Carl Ellis Jr Facebook

Lemuel Haynes

3. Lemuel Haynes

Lemuel Haynes was a Revolutionary War veteran and is believed to be one of the first black men to be ordained as a minister in America. He was born in Massachusetts and spent much of his childhood as an indentured servant. Haynes served in a minutemen company in Granville, Massachusetts and was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1785. He pastored West Parish Church of Rutland, Vermont for over 30 years. He was an antislavery advocate and believed that God’s plan was to end slavery in America.

4. Trip Lee

Trip Lee is an author, pastor and rapper who was born in Dallas Texas. The trajectory of Lee’s life was changed forever when he became a Christian at the age of 14. He makes Christian hip hop records and preached his first sermon when he was 17. Lee attended Cairn University and Boyce College. After serving on the pastoral staff at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and Cornerstone West End in Atlanta, he became the young adult pastor at Concord Church in Dallas. Lee has released six studio albums and authored the book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story.

Photo courtesy: New York Public Library/Public Domain

Dr. Eric Mason

5. Dr. Eric Mason

Dr. Eric Mason is the founder and lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. He is also the founder of “Thriving,” an organization which trains leaders for urban ministry. He received his Masters from Dallas Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author of Manhood Restored, Woke Church, and Beat God to the Punch.

6. Trillia Newbell

Trillia Newbell is an author and speaker who currently works as an acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers. She is the author of Bible studies on Hebrews 11, A Great Cloud of Witnesses, and Romans 8, If God is for Us…. She has also authored several other books, including the children’s books Creative God, Colorful Usand God’s Very Good Idea. She has spoken at the True Woman Conference, The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, and numerous other events. She also previously worked as Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Photo courtesy: Dr. Eric Mason Facebook


Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

6 Black Christian Leaders Every Christian Should Know About