News Release – Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Selects National Executive Director

MEDIA CONTACT: Christal G. Herbin
(336) 327-6080

NASHVILLE, March 1, 2020 /SBC21/ – The United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21) Executive Search Committee, led by Bishop Tracy S. Malone, Vice Chair of the Coordinating Committee, announced today that Rev. Dr. Michael L. Bowie, Jr. will lead the organization as the next National Executive Director. The post was vacated by Dr. Fred A. Allen who retired in December 2019.

“Rev. Dr. Bowie is a transformational leader who will bring innovative, visionary leadership and multi-faceted ministry experiences that are crucial to help strengthen black churches for greater discipleship and witness. His level of skill and expertise will serve the Black Church and the General Church well,” said Bishop Malone, Resident Bishop of the Ohio East Episcopal Area of the UMC.

Rev. Bowie currently serves in the North Texas Conference as Senior Pastor of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. During his nearly 25 years in ministry, Bowie began following Jesus at Windsor Village UMC and accepted his call to ministry at St. Johns Downtown and served at Love UMC in the Texas Annual Conference. He also served in the West Ohio Conference where he was the teaching pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City and as the lead pastor at Stonybrook UMC in Gahanna, OH.

“It is an honor to be named the SBC21 National Executive Director,” said Rev. Bowie. “I am passionate about empowering and strengthening Black Churches across the connection that are in need of sustainability and renewed vitality. My experiences in a variety of ministry settings have sharpened my leadership skills and gifts, allowing me to help congregations become more mission-focused and committed to making disciples, he said.”

“We welcome Dr. Michael Bowie to SBC21, said Bishop Jonathan Holston, Resident Bishop of South Carolina Annual Conference and Chair of the Coordinating Committee. “He brings visionary, creative and dynamic gifts to the role of National Executive Director. Under his leadership, this vital ministry of The United Methodist Church is poised to empower and equip clergy and congregations to build on their strengths as they seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

SBC21 leaders says Annual Conferences, Partner Churches and Agency Partners should know, even in the midst of uncertainty and transition, with the selection of Dr. Michael Bowie as its next leader, the organization is poised to continue being a vital mission initiative within The United Methodist Church and will continue to strengthen and resource black churches for effective and transformational ministry.


Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century is a National Racial Ethnic Plan of the United Methodist Church. We are dedicated to helping predominately black congregations become effective and fruitful in mission and ministry. This is done by offering specific services to collaborating churches based on needs identified by Annual Conference Bishops, Cabinets, local congregations, clergy, and laity.

Our SBC21 partner churches receive relevant tools, coaching, training, strategic planning, hope, inspiration, and encouragement to go forward with a fresh vision the Lord has given the church. Our core programs are the National Network for Young Adults, National Prison and Social Justice Ministry and the Collaborative Coaching and Training Network.