With civil rights advocacy in his DNA, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College, who earned a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 2014 to present the famed Lyman Beecher lectures. The three-day event included an in-depth discourse on the subject of "The Blue Note Gospel: Preaching the Prophetic Blues in a Post Soul World." The lectures, which demonstrated a homiletic blueprint for prophetic preaching in the 21st century, were the foundation of his latest book, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair, published in 2015. His earlier publications include: Redemption in a Red Light District, and The Gospel According to the Wiz and Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix: How to Reach the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose behind Our Praise, with his father.
Dr. Moss was named to the inaugural Root 100, a list that “recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions,” according to the publication’s Website. Honorees range between ages 25 to 45, and their accomplishments and successes transcend media headlines or statistics.
With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss’ creative bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a popular speaker on college campuses, and at conferences and churches across the globe. Highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz, and Hip-Hop music, the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the pastoral ministry of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, have been primary mentors for his spiritual formation.
The former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., his first pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2100 disciples during his tenure, Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is on the boards of Auburn Seminary and the Faith-In-Place/Action Fund, and is chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. Dr. Moss is also a Senior Fellow in the Auburn Seniors Fellow Program.
Married to his college sweetheart, the former Monica Brown of Orlando, Fla., a Spelman College and Columbia University graduate, he and Monica are the proud parents of two creative and humorous children, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon.
(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)