Dr. Michael W. Waters is the founder and Lead Pastor of the Abundant Life African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas. As a pastor, professor, award-winning author, activist, and social commentator, Waters’ words of hope and empowerment inspire national and international audiences.
He has appeared on ABC Nightline, AJ+, BBC Newsnight, the Black News Channel, CBS This Morning, C-SPAN, Fox Soul, MSNBC Live, NPR, The NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, and VICE on HBO. He has also been featured or mentioned in/on The Associated Press, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Century, CNN.com,Dallas Business Journal, D Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Epitome Magazine, Essence Magazine, Faith and Leadership, GQ Magazine, The Huffington Post, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Library Journal, Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Reading Religion, Reuters, SiriusXM, Sojourners Magazine, Texas Monthly, The Today Show, Yahoo! News, and The Washington Post among other media outlets. Dr. Waters has addressed such esteemed bodies as American Airlines, Duke University, Facebook, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the United States House of Representatives, and the World Methodist Conference.
A best-selling, national award-winning author, Dr. Waters is a two-time winner of the prestigious National Wilbur Award for Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, winner in Non-fiction, and For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World, winner in Youth/Children’s Book. For Beautiful Black Boys is also the winner of the inaugural Goddard Riverside/ Children’s Book Council’s Youth Book Prize for Social Justice. Publisher’s Weekly calls his latest book Something in the Water: A 21st Century Civil Rights Odyssey a “blistering critique of white supremacy and racial injustice,” and an “incisive work” that “should be a wake-up call to Americans in general and the church in particular.” His forthcoming children’s book Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip, an early introduction to places, people, and events that transformed history, will be released in October 2021.
Dr. Waters is the national vice chair of Foot Soldiers Park and Educational Center in Selma, Alabama, and an executive board member of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with honors at SMU where he founded the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, served as facilitator of the North Texas Peer Preaching Group of the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence, and has taught doctoral and masters-level courses in ministry and popular culture and Black church studies. A recipient of numerous honors, Dr. Waters was named an Outstanding Texan by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, Community Leader of the Year by the DFW Council on American-Islamic Relations, Pastor of the Year by the Center for Theological Activism, Peacemaker of the Year by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, and Humanitarian of the Year by the South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club. He is also a recipient of the B’nai B’rith Harold M. Kaufman Memorial Award in Social Ethics and SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award.
Dr. Waters is married to Attorney Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the proud parents of four children.