Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson
A third-generation educator, Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur and an elder in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Johnson formerly served as senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominately African-American intergenerational urban parachute church plant. With more than 17 years of professional ministry experience in Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, Johnson’s skills extend far beyond the pulpit. Trained in education and nonprofit management, he has served in volunteer and executive leadership positions for multiple nonprofit organizations. He counsels bishops, General Board agencies, annual conferences, and local churches across the country.
Rev. Dr. Johnson is respected for his leadership and strategies around social and racial justice issues. Recognized as a scholar-practitioner, Johnson authored Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, and is a sought after thought-leader who empowers individuals and communities towards prophetic response—healing, justice and uplift. Johnson in 2017 was the distinguished Vosburgh Visiting Professor of Ministry and Social Engagement at Drew University’s Theological School. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has held instructional posts at Eden Theological Seminary and currently serves Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio.
At a time when our nation is experiencing great upheaval on matters of race, policing, violence, ecclesial and communal fragmentation, Johnson continues to prepare prophetic leaders who promote healing, justice and transformation through his leadership of The Center for Social Empowerment—a hub for theologically informed reflection, investigation, and education on social and racial justice issues with offices in Ferguson, Missouri and Columbus.