Michael W. Waters is founding pastor of the Abundant Life African Methodist Episcopal 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, his work and ministry has appeared on ABC Nightline, BBC Newsnight, CBS This Morning, CNN, C-SPAN, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, MSNBC, National Public Radio, The NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, the Today Show, and VICE on HBO. He has also been featured or mentioned in The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, The Christian Century, D Magazine, Epitome Magazine, Faith and Leadership, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Reading Religion, Sojourners Magazine, Texas Monthly, Yahoo! News, 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 noted bodies as American Airlines, Inc., the Duke Divinity School to Duke University, the United States House of Representatives and the World Methodist Conference. Waters is the author of the national award-winning books Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture and Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, winner of the prestigious National Wilbur Award in Non-fiction. His forthcoming books include For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World and Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip, the former in partnership with the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Named “Peacemaker of the Year” by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, “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 State Fair of Texas’ Juanita Craft Humanitarian Catalyst/Community Builder Award (Honorable Mention), 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 and the Distinguished Alumni Award of Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.
Waters is married to Atty. Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the proud parents of three children.