Michael W. Waters is founding pastor of Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Dallas, Texas. As pastor, professor, award-winning author, community leader, and social commentator, Waters’ words of hope and empowerment inspire national and international audiences.

Featured in EBONY Magazine among America’s emerging leaders, Waters’ keen insights have been engaged upon such esteemed platforms as ABC Nightline, CBS This Morning, The NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, MSNBC, PBS Newshour, BBC Newsnight, VICE on HBO, and The Washington Post. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Divinity degree, cum laude, and a Doctor of Ministry degree with honors from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

A sought-after preacher and lecturer, Waters has made numerous presentations before church, civic, collegiate and corporate bodies on topics of interest ranging from Fortune 500 diversity practices and ethical leadership principles to the intersections of religion and hip hop culture. His writings have appeared in such respected publications as The Huffington Post, The African American Pulpit, Feasting on the Gospels, Upper Room Disciplines, and Becoming Fire: Spiritual Writings from Rising Generations. In addition to his award-winning book Freestyle, Waters is the author of the new book Stakes Is High, celebrated as one of the top new titles in 2017 on race in America by Publisher’s Weekly and Sojourners Magazine.

Named “2016 Community Leader of the Year” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Dallas/ Fort Worth Chapter, “Pastor of the Year” at the Center for Theological Activism’s 2015 Justice Awards, and listed among the Dallas Business Journal’s 2015 “40 Under 40”, Waters is a recipient of The White House’s Presidential Youth Service Award, the B’nai B’rith’s Harold M. Kaufman Memorial Award in Social Ethics, and the William K. McElvaney Award in Peace and Justice. He is also the recipient of Southern Methodist University’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award, the University’s highest honor.

He is married to Atty. Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the parents of three children.