Dear Family,

If you know me or have followed my ministry for an appreciable amount of time, then you know that I have a serious passion for helping other senior pastors.

When I was a young pastor some sixteen years ago, going through the wearisome vicissitudes of leading my first church and facing what would turn out to be a watershed moment in my life, I found myself isolated and uncertain, with no one close who could experientially relate to what I was going through.

It was at this time that God placed Bishop Joey Johnson in my life. Bishop Joey covered me, gave me wise counsel, and spoke life over me—as he still does to this day. It was his advice during that difficult time that ultimately led me to start The Word Church.

I am convinced that part of the reason God divinely orchestrated Bishop Joey’s intervention and allowed me to have that experience was to show me the importance of both covering and submission. Bishop Joey’s presence in my life has made a decisive difference in my marriage, my ministry, and in the mastery of my emotional consciousness.

You will often hear me say, “Don’t tell me who you’re over until you tell me who you’re under.” There are few principles that I believe in more than surrendering to the spiritual authority of one who you feel called to.

It is more important than ever, as men and women of significant leadership positions—who can be vulnerable with very few; who have the pressure to preach, perform, and pastor—that we have that one person who holds us accountable, who checks in to see how we’re doing, who has the experience and wisdom to guide us when we don’t know what to do.

I have a heart, burden, and anointing for other senior pastors. I take it as seriously as I do my calling to The Word Church. I’m committed to supporting, encouraging, and being present for you when you need me. I’m here to help you be a better leader and a better steward, from pastoring to parenting, from ministry to money, from marriage to methodology, and in whatever other ways I can.

I look forward to serving you and connecting with you real soon.

In His Name,

R. A. Vernon, D.Min.

Dr. Vernon’s Bio

Dr. R. A. Vernon

Dr. R. A. Vernon is the founder and senior pastor of The Word Church, the largest and fastest growing church in the history of Cleveland, Ohio and one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S.

With thirty years in ministry and two decades in the pastorate, Dr. Vernon has enjoyed a prolific, storied career as a spiritual leader.

Having started with only one service in a high school in 2000, The Word Church is now a multisite ministry with ten services and three campuses across Northeastern Ohio—Warrensville Heights, Downtown, and Akron, where The Word Church recently acquired a 265,000 square foot venue with three sanctuaries, dozens of classrooms, and an outreach center.

Dr. Vernon knows the value of mentorship, and founded The Shepherds Connection, an exclusive cadre of some 400 senior pastors around the nation to whom he provides creative leadership, counsel on pastoral matters, and spiritual guidance. 

He is the author of four books, The Blessing Behind Closed Doors, Size Does Matter: Moving Your Ministry from Micro to Mega, Dr. R.A. Vernon’s 10 Rules of Dating, and his most recent works, Help! My Pastor’s Under Pressure! How Leaders Can Help Their Pastor Succeed (June 2017), and Dr. R. A. Vernon’s Ten Rules of Dating in the Social Media Age (November 2017).

Dr. Vernon has a Diploma of Theology with a concentration in black church studies, a master’s in practical theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree with a concentration in church growth, all from Ashland Theological Seminary. He is married to First Lady Victory Vernon and they have five children.



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