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 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 America.
Through his bold, frank delivery of the Word of God, he crusades to free other church leaders from the fetters of foundationless formality.
With over twenty-five years in ministry and nearly two decades in the pastorate, Dr. Vernon has enjoyed a prolific, storied career in pastoring, but consciously chooses to never stop growing, personally or vocationally.
Having started with only one service in a high school in 2000, The Word Church is now a multisite ministry with fourteen services and four campuses across Northeastern Ohio including Warrensville Heights (Main), Downtown, East Cleveland, and Akron, which is currently under renovation, opening in the spring of 2015. A believer in the power of cash over credit and the importance of stewardship, Dr. Vernon opened The Word Church Downtown in the fall of 2014, completely debt free.
Known for his uncompromising integrity, he is a trailblazer and trendsetter who focuses on relevance and innovation. Because of the number of weekly worship services at The Word, Dr. Vernon developed the concept of pre-recorded broadcasting for the services he is unable to attend due to time and distance constraints—a ground-breaking move among African-American churches.
He also adopted the practice of planting campus pastors to lead the satellite locations so that the members at these locations still receive a personal touch even when he is not physically present.
Dr. Vernon is committed to continual improvement and creating opportunities for others to improve as well. Through his bold, frank delivery of the Word of God, he crusades to free other church leaders from the fetters of foundationless formality. He shares candidly about the challenges the local church faces and provides spiritual, solution-driven responses to matters of social inequality and political injustice with cultural sensitivity.
Dr. Vernon knows the importance of mentorship, and founded The Shepherds Connection, a coterie of some 300 senior pastors around the nation to whom he provides creative leadership, guidance, and spiritual direction.
Under Dr. Vernon’s vision, The Word Church developed a for-profit company called The Word in Action, which operates a skating rink, restaurant, billiards hall, three full basketball courts, and two soccer fields.
He is the author of three books, The Blessing Behind Closed Doors, Size Does Matter: Moving Your Ministry from Micro to Mega, and Dr. R.A. Vernon’s 10 Rules of Dating.
Dr. Vernon has an ambitious appetite for both educating and learning and has a diploma of theology with a concentration in black church studies, a master of arts in practical theology, and a doctorate of ministry with a concentration in church growth, all from Ashland Theological Seminary. He is honored to be married to First Lady Victory Vernon and they have five children.
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