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The Christian community is full of men who are having an impact within the Church and wider society. Keep The Faith has compiled a list of Christian men, who serve as role models, and whose lives are making a difference to the lives of others.
BERNARD P ACHAMPONG
Role: Station Director, Premier Radio
Reason for influence: This former BBC Radio 2 producer and founder of unedited: – a company that creates radio, podcasts and digital content – now serves as Station Director for Premier Radio. www.premier.org.uk.
PASTOR YEMI ADEDEJI
Role: Pastor, Leadership Consultant, Author
Reason for influence: Pentecostal minister and ordained Anglican priest, Pastor Yemi wears many hats. He is a director of One People Commission (an arm of the Evangelical Alliance), which seeks to unite and represent ethnic church leaders. He also works as Global Ambassador for Compassion, and has played a major role in raising substantial funds for the charity from within the BMC (Black-Majority Churches). He also runs a leadership consultancy that provides support and advice to church leaders.
BISHOP DR JOE ALDRED
Role: Church Leader, Ecumenist, Writer, Broadcaster
Reason for influence: A church leader with much experience, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred serves in various capacities. He is Principal Officer for Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations at Churches Together in England. He is also a broadcaster, ecumenist, speaker and writer, and his range of titles includes ‘From Top Mountain – An Autobiography’. He is involved in all aspects of Black Church life, and played a pivotal role in the committee that organised the service commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of the HMS Windrush, which heralded the start of the mass migration of Caribbeans to the UK.
REV DR CARVER ANDERSON
Role: Co-founder of Bringing Hope, a Birmingham-based charity
Reason for influence: Rev Anderson leads a charity that works with individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by crime and violence, both victims and perpetrators. This also involves working in prisons. He has been part of various committees and conferences regarding family and community-associated issues. These include being a member of four Round Tables led by Home Secretaries of various UK governments. Carver is a qualified social worker, and is a former Director of Youth and Education at the New Testament Church of God.
BISHOP DONALD BOLT
Role: National Overseer, New Testament Church of God
Reason for influence: The New Testament Church of God is one of the largest denominations founded by Britain’s Black Caribbean community. Founded in 1953, the church now has congregations across the UK, in many of Britain’s urban areas. Bishop Bolt is the current head of NTCG, providing overall leadership for the organisation and leading the charge for the church to develop more diverse congregations.
Role: CEO, Pentecostal Credit Union
Reason for influence: For the past five years, Shane has served as Head of the Pentecostal Credit Union, Britain’s second largest credit union. Under his leadership, the PCU has become one of the most well known organisations, started by a member of the Windrush Generation. The PCU hosts free financial workshops in churches; has a youth shadow board, which provides personal development for young people, and runs a business course for start-ups and individuals, who want to take their business to the next level. The PCU aims to play a role in the economic development of the Black community.
Reason for influence: Reggie Cole is a self-made businessman, who has experienced the ups and downs of running a business, having gone bankrupt during the economic downturn of the noughties. He has since rebuilt his business, and has a growing national profile as a successful businessman, running companies that now turn over millions. Earlier this year, released his debut book, Compassionate Capitalism.
Role: Founder of Love Light UK
Reason for influence: Bruce Dyer is well known in the town of Barnsley, south Yorkshire, for his work via Love Light UK, an organisation that goes into prisons to preach, pray and offer support to inmates. One of its many schemes – the Bruce Dyer Love Life Soccer Schools – runs programmes for young people in schools, including its popular summer soccer schools.
REV JOEL EDWARDS CBE
Role: International Director, Micah Challenge
Reason for influence: A leading light in the church, Rev Edwards, who was ordained within the NTCG, has occupied a number of key roles. A former probation officer, he occupied one of the most powerful positions in the Church, serving as General Director of the Evangelical Alliance from 1997 to 2009. He is currently International Director for the Micah Challenge, and is a Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He is also a regular contributor to BBC4’s Thought for the Day. In 2017 he received the Langton Award for Community Service from the Archbishop of Canterbury for his work in uniting Christians to challenge global injustice.
BISHOP JOHN FRANCIS
Role: Founder and Senior Pastor, Ruach City Church
Reason for influence: The son of a pioneering church leader, Bishop John Francis is one of Britain’s foremost Black Church leaders from a Caribbean background, due to his church and TV ministry in the UK and abroad. He was formerly director of the Inspirational Choir, the gospel outfit that alerted the world to UK Gospel, and served as a successful evangelist and preacher before launching Ruach City Church. It is one of the largest Black-majority churches in the UK, and in 2006 became the first Black church to host a British Prime Minister, when Tony Blair visited the church.
PASTOR AGU IRUKWU
Role: Head of Redeemed Christian Church of God UK
Reason for influence: In just over 20 years, the Redeemed Christian Church of God has become one of the most influential Black Pentecostal denominations in the UK, with over 700 churches across the UK. Pastor Agu serves as the Head of RCCG’s Executive Council, and is senior pastor of Jesus House, one of the largest churches in the denomination. In 2017, Pastor Agu was appointed Pentecostal President of Churches Together in England. Under his leadership, RCCG has built greater engagement with the local community with a range of services, and has developed relationships with Britain’s traditional organisations.
REV LES ISAAC OBE
Role: Co-founder of Street Pastors and the Synergy Network
Reason for influence: Rev Les Isaac founded and launched one of the biggest responses to knife crime – Street Pastors – in 2013. This charity is now established in over 250 towns and cities throughout the UK and abroad. In recent months Rev Isaac launched The Synergy Network, which brings together organisations that work with young people, with an aim of reducing knife crime and violence.
Role: Pastor, Founder of youth charity, Power The Fight, Author
Reason for influence: This influencer runs a charity that trains and equips practitioners, who work with young people involved in gangs and crime, and also supports families affected by crime. In 2018 Ben was named as one of The Evening Standard’s 1000 London’s most influential people. He recently released a much talked about book, We Need to Talk About Race.
Role: Worship Leader, TV Presenter, Station Director, Premier Gospel
Reason for influence: He is one of Britain’s most well known Black Christian artists. He is also Station Director of Britain’s most listened-to gospel music station, Premier Gospel, and presents a popular show on Premier Gospel. Muyiwa is also known worldwide, particularly in Africa as a result of presenting Christian magazine show, Turning Point.
PASTOR PETER NEMBHARD
Role: Senior Pastor, The ARC
Reason for influence: Pastor Peter is leading Pastor of The Arc, a growing congregation of churches that are seeking to have local and national impact. He currently presides over six churches, with more to come. He has become a church leader of note because he is succeeding in attracting young people to church without gimmicks, particularly those formerly involved in knife crime.
REV ADE OMOOBA MBE
Role: Founder of Christian Concern, CEO of Christian Concern
Reason for influence: Rev Ade Omooba has been in full time ministry in the UK for over 25 years. He is a co-founder of several organisations, including: the Christian Victory Group – ‘I Care’ Projects, which has helped set up over 100 social action/inclusion projects in the last 19 years; Christian Concern (CC), a UK lobby/campaign group on public policy, and the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), addressing Christian liberty cases. He also serves as co-chair of the National Church Leaders’ Forum, the representative body for Black Church leaders here in the UK.
Role: Businessman, Founder of The Safety Box
Reason for influence: This multi award-winning, in-demand speaker and businessman is regularly featured in lists of the most powerful young business executives. A Seventh-Day Adventist, Nathaniel runs Gennex, which aims to provide inexpensive electricity for Kenyans living in rural areas. He also runs Safety Box, a charity that teaches young people how to avoid crime and violence, and diverts them into a more positive path.
Role: Head of African Caribbean Engagement, Tearfund
Reason for influence: Seth is one of the most well connected millennials in the UK. Prior to joining Tearfund, Seth hosted the successful Midnight Oil events, which attracted thousands of young people across the UK. In his Tearfund role, Seth raises awareness of and encourages the Black Christian community to support the charity. He is also runs a charity, Symphony Co, which serves the local homeless, and provides free tuition to inner city youth in Birmingham.
BISHOP TEDROY POWELL
Role: Head of the Church of God of Prophecy
Reason for influence: The Church of God of Prophecy is one of the historic Pentecostal denominations developed and populated by people of the Windrush Generation. Founded in the 1950s, Bishop Powell has taken up the helm of the organisation at a pivotal point in its history. He has extensive experience leading and planting churches, as well as providing training for church leaders and workers.
Role: Worship Leader
Reason for influence: Noel Robinson is a worship leader of influence, has the accolade of being the first ever Black British artist to be signed to Integrity Music, the world’s leading worship label. For the past 11 years he has hosted the Kingdom Worship Movement conferences, attracting hundreds of people from the UK and Europe. He now also hosts an annual retreat. Noel is in demand to perform at events across the world, and continues to fly the flag for UK gospel/worship music.
BISHOP MIKE ROYAL
Role: CEO – Cinnamon Network
Reason for influence: Birmingham based Church leader Bishop Royal is currently CEO of the Cinnamon Network, a leading charity that encourages churches to run activities/projects that enable them to engage with their local community. Prior to taking up his current role, Bishop Royal worked as National Director for Transforming Lives for Good, which provided early intervention programmes for young people at risk of being excluded from school. He also serves as a Mental Health chaplain.
ARCHBISHOP JOHN SENTAMU
Role: Archbishop of York
Reason for influence: In 2005, Ugandan-born John Sentamu made history when he became the first Black man to be appointed Archbishop of York, the second most senior position in the Church of England. He is known as a leader who hates injustice, and has a heart for young people. Alongside his role, Archbishop Sentamu serves as President of Youth for Christ and was President of the YMCA in April 2005. He also heads a Youth Trust and an online charity, Acts435, that supports people in need.
Role: Filmmaker, anti-knife crime campaigner
Reason for influence: Amani has become a key influencer amongst young people, after the online release of his short anti-knife crime film, Amani’s Story, which shares his true story of how he almost lost his life after being stabbed seven times. To date, it has had almost 2 million YouTube views, and its success has led to Amani being an in-demand speaker in schools, at youth groups and in the church. He recently launched youth workshops for schools.
PASTOR IAN SWEENEY
Role: President, Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Reason for influence: Pastor Sweeney enjoyed 18 years as a local church pastor until 2008, when he was called to serve as president of the North England conference. Since 2011, Pastor Sweeney has held the position of President of the British Union Conference. He currently presides over a church that has 300 churches and 39,000 adherents. He is keen for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Britain to make a greater impact and for the church to fulfil its purpose in serving communities.
Role: CEO of Gangsline
Reason for influence: Anytime there is a story about gangs or knife crime, Sheldon Thomas is one of the commentators called upon to share his opinion. He is the founder of Gangsline, a helpline to support parents of gang members, and young people who want to leave gangs. He also runs workshops and lectures, and gives talks to the police, local authorities and churches about gangs.
PASTOR MICHAEL WHITE
Role: Senior Pastor, The Tab
Reason for influence: Pastor Michael White is well known amongst Christians throughout the UK, due to his preaching programme on TBN UK, Momentum. He also presides over a fast growing church, The Tab, in Lewisham. The son of a pioneering church leader, the late Bishop Leon White, founder of Bibleway UK, Pastor White has inherited his father’s determination and tenacity and, under his leadership, he has seen the church transformed from one with a decreasing membership to a thriving, vibrant and community-minded church.
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