AA, American River Junior College
BA, California State University at Sacramento
MA, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
DMin, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Ralph Watkins is associate professor of evangelism and church growth. His work focuses on building bridges between young adults and the church in order to develop future leaders for the twenty-first century church.
With over 20 years of pastoral, teaching, and administrative experience, Watkins is an active teaching scholar with over 250 publications and conference presentations to his credit. He is the author of Leading Your African American Church Through Pastoral Transition (2010), From Jay-Z to Jesus: Reaching and Teaching Young Adults in the Black Church (co-authored with Benjamin Stephens) (2008), The Gospel Remix: Reaching the Hip Hop Generation (2007), and I Ain’t Afraid to Speak My Mind (2003), and he contributed the chapter “Rap, Religion, and New Realities: The Emergence of a Religious Discourse in Rap Music” to Noise and Spirit: The Religious Sensibilities of Rap Music (2003), which is considered an outstanding treatment of hip-hop and theology. His new book Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and the Rhyme was released in October of 2011. He is presently working on his new book with Judson Press entitled The African American Church: Dead or Alive?. Watkins is an active blogger and his blog can be read twice a week on his website itsthechurch.org
In recent years, Watkins has received a Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, Lilly Teaching Fellowship, Fulbright Hayes Fellowship for study in Ghana, a Wabash Teaching Fellowship, and various awards and grants to study the African roots of African American theology in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. He is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching:
Evangelism, church growth, congregational formation, African-American studies, Africana theology / Black theology and hip-hop culture
He has been married to Dr. Vanessa C. Watkins since June 21, 1982 and they have three adult children.