Our Pastor

Bio of Rev. Dr. Andre E. Johnson

*Invite Dr. Johnson to lecture or preach here
Dr. Andre E. Johnson is the Founding Pastor of Gifts of Life Ministries an inner-city church built upon the servant leadership philosophy. He is married to Lisa Jones Johnson, owner of 4 Peaceful Resolutions, a conflict mediation company. As a called-centered, mission group-oriented, servant leadership church, pastor Johnson leads a congregation that last year served over 8,000 meals, clothed over 250 persons, counseled over 70 individuals and families, and visited many sick and incarcerated people. He leads a congregation that focuses on the Word of God in the feeding of the hungry, healing and deliverance of the sick and oppressed, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visiting the prison-bound, educating the unlearned and loving the unloved.
Dr. Johnson also leads a socially conscious and socially relevant ministry. He and G’Life have been at the forefront of many of the social justice activism in Memphis, Tennessee. Grounded in his call to ministry, it is not uncommon to see Dr. Johnson leading, organizing, and participating in protests, vigils, marches, boycotts, and other direct social actions. His faith has led him to take part in efforts to reform our prison system, economic and poverty issues such as Fight for 15 and living wage initiatives, police misconduct and brutality issues, and issues surrounding race. He was also one of the lead architects in #TakeEmDown901, the successful effort to remove confederate statues in the City of Memphis lead by County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.
In addition to his work in the church and community, Dr. Johnson also serves in the Department of Communication and Film at the University of Memphis. He teaches in the areas of rhetoric and religion, media studies and African American Public Address. He formerly served as the Dr. James L. Netters Associate professor of Rhetoric Religion and African American Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor teaching in the areas of Black Church studies, urban ministry, and rhetoric and religion.
Dr. Johnson was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and after high school graduation; he attended the University of Tennessee at Martin where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. He graduated from Memphis Theological Seminary where he took the Masters of Divinity degree and completed the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communications at the University of Memphis. Dr. Johnson’s dissertation, The Prophetic Oratory of Henry McNeal Turner, was under the direction of Michael C. Leff. He is currently editing the works of AME Church Bishop Henry McNeal Turner under the title The Literary Archive of Henry McNeal Turner (Edwin Mellen Press). He has already published the first six volumes. The seventh volume is set for publication in 2020.
In addition to collecting the writings of Bishop Turner, Dr. Johnson is also the author of The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition (2012) that won the National Communication Association (NCA) 2013 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award. He is the editor of Urban God Talk: Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality (2013) both with Lexington Books. He co-authored (with Amanda Nell Edgar) The Struggle Over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter (2018) that won the National Communication Association (NCA) 2019 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award.
Additionally, Dr. Johnson serves as the curator and director of the henry McNeal Turner Project; a digital humanities project devoted to the collection of the writings of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner. He also has started the Center for African American Rhetoric and Public Address; a center devoted to the appreciation, understanding, and scholarship of African American oratorical tradition. He also serves as editor of the popular Rhetoric Race and Religion Blog and is the editor of a book series under the same name with Lexington Books.
Dr. Johnson has presented academic papers at national, regional, and state conferences winning awards at each level, has published essays in the Black Theology Journal and holds membership in several national, regional and state associations in the areas of Communication, History, African American and Religious Studies.
In addition to what many consider groundbreaking work on Bishop Turner, Dr. Johnson maintains an eclectic research agenda. Ongoing research projects explore the nexus between rhetoric, theology and the Bible, social movement discourse, religion and politics, the religious rhetoric of Barack Obama, religion and media and more recently, the prophetic rhetoric of W.E.B. Du Bois and the rhetoric of Donald Trump. Moreover, Dr. Johnson is currently working on a book that will incorporate his ministry of social activism currently titled, “Preaching Justice” that he hopes to have out by next year. He has earned top paper awards in national, regional, and state academic conferences and he is in great demand as a preacher, lecturer, social justice activist, and workshop leader.
In addition, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. 
Read Dr. Johnson’s CV here