Ralph C. Watkins
Assistant Dean for the African American Church Studies Program and Associate Professor of Society, Religion, and Africana Studies
Empowering the African American Church
Equally at home in front of a church, classroom or spinning disks as a hip-hop deejay, Ralph Watkins focuses on building bridges between young adults and the church. He enjoys the many facets of his work as assistant dean of the African American Church Studies program at Fuller Seminary: "Fuller delights in serving the church via the academy," he says, "and this bring me joy."
Watkins is passionate—and positive—about the future of the church in general and the African American church in particular. "While some pundits speak of the demise and irrelevance of the church, I am in touch with a church that is alive and serving the present age," he claims. He is actively involved in the life of the church as both a pastor and scholar, working in young adult ministry to mentor leaders of the hip-hop generation. "I learn and grow along with these young adults as they in turn transform and shape the church," he says. "I love working with young adults and empowering them to lead!"
With over 20 years of pastoral, teaching, and administrative experience, Watkins is a teaching scholar with more than 250 publications and conference presentations to his credit. His latest book, From Jay-Z to Jesus: Reaching and Teaching Young Adults in the Black Church (Judson Press), "represents what excites me as I see young adults leading the church now," Watkins says with enthusiasm. "This isn’t something we are waiting on, but something that is happening—and I am blessed to be a part of it!"
Read more about Fuller's African American Church Studies program here.