About Dr. Jamaal Williams
Dr. Jamaal Williams, a native of Chicago, Illinois, had his life changed forever when, at the age of 9, he watched his father become a Christian. Seeing the gospel transform his father—and his parents’ marriage—deeply impacted Jamaal. A few years later, Jamaal's parents accepted a call to full-time ministry. When Jamaal was 13, they planted a church. Around this time, Jamaal began to sense the Lord calling him into ministry as well.
In 2006, while attending Michigan State University and worshipping at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church, Jamaal accepted God’s call to preach. At FFBC, Jamaal served as associate pastor and as a leader in the church’s youth and college ministry. He also served as the student president in a local chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
After college, Jamaal moved to Louisville to attend The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his M.A. from the Billy Graham School of Missions in 2014 and his doctorate in Black Church Leadership in 2018. While at Southern, Jamaal was highlighted in the School of Missions’ 20th Anniversary magazine as one of 20 student alumni "making a difference in mission and ministry."
In Louisville, Jamaal joined Forest Baptist Church, an African-American church more than 150 years old. At Forest, Jamaal served first as young adult pastor and then as lead pastor, from 2008-2015. During those years, Forest became stronger and younger, adding new members and developing new, vibrant leaders.
In 2016, Jamaal accepted the call to become lead pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown. Under his leadership, Midtown is growing as a multicultural, multi-generational church. They emphasize reaching people with the gospel, building them up as the church, and sending them out to their neighborhoods, city, and beyond as gritty disciple-makers.
Jamaal and his family are no strangers to the hardships and sufferings that come with ministry. Jamaal resonates with Elisabeth Elliot when she says, “In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and love of God.”
Jamaal says the best decision he ever made was marrying Amber. The two met at Michigan State, where they became friends and eventually fell in love on a mission trip to Costa Rica. They were married in 2009. Amber and Jamaal are the proud parents of five beautiful children, each displaying his or her own unique personality. Besides ministry and family, Jamaal's passions include the 90s Chicago Bulls, reading, leadership, and becoming a more joyful human being.
Currently, he is co-authoring a book with Timothy Paul Jones, tentatively entitled A Life Like Heaven, which will be published by InterVarsity Press in 2023.