A Candidate for Lead Minister

A Candidate for Lead Minister
BY CHRIS BOHNHOFF, CHAIR OF THE LEAD MINISTER SEARCH COMMITTEE, & KAREN BARSTAD, MODERATOR
Few moments in church life hold as much promise and opportunity for transformation as the introduction of a new church leader. In these times of church evolution, accelerated by COVID-19 and the new urgencies being felt around social and racial justice work, the Lead Minister Search Committee is excited, proud, and humbled to present Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis to the congregation. We believe that Dr. Davis is the right choice at the right moment to boldly lead Plymouth in our city and world, and the Deacons unanimously agree. When the Search Committee began our work last year, we committed to finding a person to minister to us all, who would bring the experience necessary to succeed in the role. As laid out in the Lead Minister job description, we sought a person who could excel in: spiritual, theological and ministerial leadership; preaching; promoting growth; supervision of staff; operations and budgeting skills; outreach; and civic leadership. Dr. Davis’s rich career supplies evidence of his skills in all of these areas. Dr. Davis is currently the Senior Pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis, where he has served since 2013. He has more than 20 years of leadership experience across religious, political organizing, and public policy arenas, which brings depth to his leadership approach. In May of this year, Dr. Davis earned his doctorate in Biblical Preaching from Luther Seminary and was chosen as commencement speaker. Communication, preaching and liturgy are among his core passions. We also sought a leader who operates collaboratively, while also being able to step out front as a strong public voice for justice. Dr. Davis’s work at the congregational, denominational and policy level all attest to his ability to bring out the strengths of others and build coalitions that move the needle. The Search Committee, the clergy, and the Deacons have had in-depth conversations with Dr. Davis and have found him to be engaging, prophetic and visionary, with a deep commitment to collaboration with his clergy colleagues, the boards and committees of the church and the congregation at large. His theology is progressive, he celebrates the role of children and youth in the life of the church, he understands that church growth is about more than just numbers, he cares deeply about social justice and he is enthusiastic about how the church can truly make a difference in this 21st-century world. More information about Dr. Davis, and about the process that the Search Committee employed, will be mailed to members in the days to come.

 

Plymouth members will have opportunities to virtually meet Dr. Davis prior to a vote to call him to the Lead Minister position at a congregational meeting on Sunday, September 27. Details of these events will be announced in the coming days. We look forward to introducing him to Plymouth members, and we’re eager to work with him in this next chapter of Plymouth’s life.

Lead Minister Candidate

Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis

As Plymouth Church members are learning about the candidate for our Lead Minister position, there’s much curiosity about his background, education, and career path. To help introduce you all here is a brief biography.

The Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis is the 15th child of a black minister who was once a sharecropper in Mississippi during Jim Crow. His father became a member of B.B. King’s band and traveled to California with him in hopes of making it as a musician, but he gave up the prospect of fame and great fortune to heed a call of ministry and life-long worship. DeWayne and his siblings were raised in the Pentecostal tradition. “I embraced the Pentecostalism of my parents without much thought. However, that coerced confession of faith launched me on both a spiritual journey of prayer, service, and stewardship and a prolonged exile into spiritual wilderness. At the age of 14, I was confronted with such spiritual conflict and ambiguity that the trajectory of my life would be forever altered.” DeWayne goes on to say, “I left the church, but God did not leave me. Leaving Church forced me to unlearn and relearn what faith is and can be.”

DeWayne’s educational history is impressive. He has a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Howard University, an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, an M.Div in Preaching/Emerging Ministries from Wesley Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Church Management from Villanova University’s Center for Church Management and Business Ethics, and a D.Min. in Biblical Preaching from Luther Seminary.

DeWayne’s background includes extensive employment related to the federal government. He has worked as a health and economic policy analyst, a legislative assistant for both Congressmen Chet Edwards and Steny Hoyer, a federal relations director for Sallie Mae, and a domestic policy analyst in the Office of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church. During his ministerial career, he has organized conferences for the Metropolitan Community Churches denomination and served as a chaplain intern at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

DeWayne has served as the Senior Pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church since 2013. He and his husband, Kareem, whom he met at Howard University, live in Minneapolis.

DeWayne chose Plymouth Church for the next phase of his ministry because, he said, we have a capacity for excellence and a capacity to make a difference. We look forward to his leadership and companionship as we work together to bring healing and hope to our broken world.