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, activist, and social commentator, Waters’ words of hope and empowerment inspire national and international audiences.
Featured in Ebony Magazine among America’s emerging leaders, he has appeared on ABC Nightline, BBC Newsnight, CBS This Morning, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, MSNBC, National Public Radio, The NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, and VICE on HBO. He has also been featured or mentioned in The Associated Press, The Christian Century, Faith and Leadership, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, Sojourners Magazine and The Washington Post among other media outlets. Waters earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with honors from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
A sought-after speaker, Waters has addressed such august assemblies as American Airlines, the Duke Divinity School at Duke University, the United States House of Representatives and the World Methodist Conference. Waters is the author of the national award-winning book Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture (Upper Room Books, 2014) and the author of the critically-acclaimed Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America (Chalice Press, 2017), reviewed as one of the top new titles on race in America. His forthcoming book For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World is set to be released by Westminster John Knox Press.
Named “Community Leader of the Year” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “Pastor of the Year” at the Center for Theological Activism’s Justice Awards, and listed among the Dallas Business Journal’s “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 Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award, the University’s highest honor.
Waters is married to Atty. Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the proud parents of three children.