Pastor James C. Ward is the anointed, visionary leader whom God has sent to lead Antioch-Lithonia to the next level of success and achievement. Through his bold, principled leadership, Antioch-Lithonia has made great strides in spirituality, education, administration, technology, and ministry expansion. Serving since March of 1995, under the direction of God, Pastor Ward brought the church through a period of transition and transformation. Pastor Ward readily admits that he is a country boy from Abbeville, Alabama, whom God has blessed tremendously. God blessed him with an amazing combination of diverse life experiences, which prepared him for his divine appointment at Antioch-Lithonia.
His God-directed developmental path prepared him to handle the spiritual side of the church as well as the administrative and business sides. From stints in the corporate world as a public relations Manager at Exxon, to a Regional Systems Manager at AT&T, God’s invisible hand was gently guiding and preparing him. From learning shape note singing in rural Alabama, to singing in the Morehouse Glee Club, to performing with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, God’s invisible hand again was constantly guiding this leader, who is also an accomplished musician, composer and arranger.
Educationally, Pastor Ward earned a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, with a double major in Philosophy and German Literature. While at Morehouse, he earned sufficient academic credits to qualify for a minor in music. He earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of New Orleans and a Master of Divinity degree from The New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Pastor Ward has also been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Mississippi Baptist Seminary.
Pastor Ward has strong ties with community and civic organizations. He was the Charter President of the Lithonia-East Dekalb Optimist Club, the former President of the Board of Directors of the East Dekalb Boys and Girls Club. He is also a graduate of Leadership Dekalb class of 2003. President Clinton cited him for Dedicated Community Service on February 17, 1999. He was also invited to the White House in 2001. On September 16, 2005, Pastor Ward was among ten Metropolitan Atlanta Area pastors to receive the “Chosen” Award, presented by the Atlanta Gospel Choice Awards. The ceremony took place at an Awards Gala, held at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center.
Under Pastor Ward’s leadership, the congregation purchased 23 acres of land on Rock Chapel Road and completed its 6.2 million dollars edifice, which is the first phase of a strategic building project. The congregation occupied the new facility on October 2, 2004.
A scholar who reads four or five books a week and boasts of a personal library of over seven thousand volumes, Pastor Ward has taught at several colleges and seminaries, and is in constant demand for church seminars.
He is married to the former Idell Clark of Laurel, Mississippi. He affectionately calls her “My Beauty Queen.” They are blessed with three grown children and eleven grandchildren.
Pastor Ward’s diminutive frame, which weighs in at 119 pounds and scales a height of five feet, four inches, in no way reflects his powerful, anointed preaching ability. His baritone voice articulates with clarity, with precision and with succinctness, a Christ-centered, Bible-based message with relevance for the 21st century. Considered by many to be a “Walking Encyclopedia”, Pastor Ward draws from a plethora of sources to illustrate his points. In one sentence, he refers to an African folk tale; in another, he quotes a Greek philosopher; in another, he refers to a recent sporting event; after which he recounts the latest chitchat of the corner barbershop. His anointed preaching addresses the issues and problems of today and provides Biblical answers in a positive, uplifting way. Some of his most memorable and impactful sermons are "Keep the Soup Safe"; "The Hidden Agenda"; "Good that's Not Good Enough"; "Drunk at a Critical Time"; "Here Today - Gone Tomorrow"; "It Ain't Over Till It's Over"; and "Ther Silent Killer."
Pastor Ward, who considers himself a “late bloomer”, is humbled and honored that God has chosen him as the anointed vessel to lead Antioch-Lithonia in such a time as this.