Our Pastor:
Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Johnson

Rev. Dr. Kevin Johnson and wife Kimya Johnson surrounded by their children (left to right) Lena, Miles, and Laila.

A dedicated believer and visionary builder, Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Johnson is a proven leader transforming secular and non-secular organizations into high performing, fiscally sound, and pioneering institutions with integrity.

Called in June 2024 to become Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church—the first African American Baptist Church in New York State and one of the oldest in the nation—Rev. Dr. Johnson succeeds the late Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III who was his mentor while serving as an assistant pastor. Along with his wife—Mrs. Kimya S. P. Johnson, Esq., a corporate diversity professional and employment attorney—and their three children, Rev. Dr. Johnson considered Abyssinian Baptist Church their spiritual home even prior to this momentous appointment.

Rev. Dr. Johnson was the founding Lead Pastor of Dare to Imagine Church, Inc. In seven years, he grew a ministry that started with 20 people in his home into a 1,500-member congregation on a $2.2 million, 6.8-acre campus in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. In that time, the church donated over $750,000 to area organizations providing services for citizens in need. As an outgrowth of his commitment to holistic community development, Rev. Dr. Johnson founded and served as the President & CEO of Dare to Imagine Community Development Corporation. Prior to that, he was the President & CEO of Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation, which built a $100 million, 14-story student apartment tower for Temple University along with The Goldenberg Group.

As President and CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), Rev. Dr. Johnson developed a new workforce-training vision and launched career-sustaining programs in banking, energy, construction, and technology. Under his leadership, the budgets of OIC and its affiliates increased from $2M to over $5M. In 2017, he secured a $6.6M alternative school contract from The School District of Philadelphia, making OIC the first to provide over-aged and under-credited youth a pathway to earning a high school diploma and a direct pipeline to life-sustaining careers. Additionally, he launched BankWork$, the first bank training program in the northeastern United States for young adults from low-income communities. While expanding OIC’s workforce programs, he successfully maintained a nearly 80 percent placement rate for jobs in the hospitality industry.

Rev. Dr. Johnson is an internationally renowned speaker, preaching and teaching in distinguished arenas including the largest Protestant church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, South Korea. He was also the first African American in 200 years to speak at Regent Road Baptist in Freetown, Sierra Leone—Africa’s oldest Baptist church. He later was inspired to raise funds, build, and establish a new church in West Africa—Bright Hope Baptist Church in Moyamba, Sierra Leone. By invitation of the American Jewish Committee, Rev. Dr. Johnson traveled to Israel and Palestine in 2008 to discuss the challenges that exist between the nations with government leaders. A prolific and respected writer and speaker, Dr. Johnson frequently writes for the oldest, continually running, African American newspaper—The Philadelphia Tribune—and is heard by 400,000 listeners every Sunday morning on WDAS-FM 105.3.

Rev. Dr. Johson has lent his expertise to the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, City of Philadelphia Workforce Steering Committee, PHL Diversity, the Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, African American Leadership Forum, and was the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University. A recipient of numerous awards and citations, Newsweek featured him as one of the “up-and-coming” national post-Civil Rights ministers, The Philadelphia Tribune identified him as a “mover-and-shaker” in the city, and Morehouse College inducted him into the prestigious Board of Preachers. Rev. Dr. Johnson has been a guest on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, FOX NEWS, and other national media.

A Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College, Rev. Dr. Johnson was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey scholarships. He earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) as a Union Scholar from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership and Transformational Learning from Columbia University. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Alpha Boulé), and is a lifetime member of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association.

Called in June 2024 to become Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church—the first African American Baptist Church in New York State and one of the oldest in the nation—Rev. Dr. Johnson succeeds the late Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III who was his mentor while serving as an assistant pastor. Along with his wife—Mrs. Kimya S. P. Johnson, Esq., a corporate diversity professional and employment attorney—and their three children, Rev. Dr. Johnson considered Abyssinian Baptist Church their spiritual home even prior to this momentous appointment.

Rev. Dr. Johnson was the founding Lead Pastor of Dare to Imagine Church, Inc. In seven years, he grew a ministry that started with 20 people in his home into a 1,500-member congregation on a $2.2 million, 6.8-acre campus in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. In that time, the church donated over $750,000 to area organizations providing services for citizens in need. As an outgrowth of his commitment to holistic community development, Rev. Dr. Johnson founded and served as the President & CEO of Dare to Imagine Community Development Corporation. Prior to that, he was the President & CEO of Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation, which built a $100 million, 14-story student apartment tower for Temple University along with The Goldenberg Group.

As President and CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), Rev. Dr. Johnson developed a new workforce-training vision and launched career-sustaining programs in banking, energy, construction, and technology. Under his leadership, the budgets of OIC and its affiliates increased from $2M to over $5M. In 2017, he secured a $6.6M alternative school contract from The School District of Philadelphia, making OIC the first to provide over-aged and under-credited youth a pathway to earning a high school diploma and a direct pipeline to life-sustaining careers. Additionally, he launched BankWork$, the first bank training program in the northeastern United States for young adults from low-income communities. While expanding OIC’s workforce programs, he successfully maintained a nearly 80 percent placement rate for jobs in the hospitality industry.

Rev. Dr. Johnson is an internationally renowned speaker, preaching and teaching in distinguished arenas including the largest Protestant church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, South Korea. He was also the first African American in 200 years to speak at Regent Road Baptist in Freetown, Sierra Leone—Africa’s oldest Baptist church. He later was inspired to raise funds, build, and establish a new church in West Africa—Bright Hope Baptist Church in Moyamba, Sierra Leone. By invitation of the American Jewish Committee, Rev. Dr. Johnson traveled to Israel and Palestine in 2008 to discuss the challenges that exist between the nations with government leaders. A prolific and respected writer and speaker, Dr. Johnson frequently writes for the oldest, continually running, African American newspaper—The Philadelphia Tribune—and is heard by 400,000 listeners every Sunday morning on WDAS-FM 105.3.

Rev. Dr. Johson has lent his expertise to the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, City of Philadelphia Workforce Steering Committee, PHL Diversity, the Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, African American Leadership Forum, and was the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University. A recipient of numerous awards and citations, Newsweek featured him as one of the “up-and-coming” national post-Civil Rights ministers, The Philadelphia Tribune identified him as a “mover-and-shaker” in the city, and Morehouse College inducted him into the prestigious Board of Preachers. Rev. Dr. Johnson has been a guest on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, FOX NEWS, and other national media.

A Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College, Rev. Dr. Johnson was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey scholarships. He earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) as a Union Scholar from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership and Transformational Learning from Columbia University. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Alpha Boulé), and is a lifetime member of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association.