Rev. Darryl D. Roberts, Ph.D., is a gifted preacher and teacher who became pastor of the historic Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., in January 2017. Pastor Roberts believes God has called him to share the hope, love, liberation, and grace of Jesus Christ through spirit-filled worship, witness, and works.
Rev. Roberts joined an illustrious history of Nineteenth Street pastors who have served on the local, national, and international levels, including the late Rev. Dr. Walter H. Brooks, the late Rev. Dr. Jerry A. Moore Jr., and Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins. He works with members to advance Nineteenth Street’s rich traditions of prophetic preaching, Christ-centered worship, and socio-cultural enrichment. As a global ministry, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church sponsors outreach initiatives that promote evangelism, homelessness support, health and wellness, and food sufficiency.
As the only son of James Roberts and Linda Conner of Cleveland, Ohio, Rev. Roberts was a serious child who felt the irresistible urge to serve God’s people. At the tender age of 13, he heard and answered the call to ministry at Glenville Presbyterian Church, under the leadership of Pastors Rick Gillespie-Mobley and Toby Gillespie-Mobley. In 1997, Rev. Roberts was licensed to preach the Gospel while attending the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland and was ordained in 2005 by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. Immediately prior to joining Nineteenth Street, Rev. Roberts served for five years as the senior pastor at Mount Welcome Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga.
After attending elementary and secondary public schools in Cleveland, Rev. Roberts graduated from Collinwood High School in three years, in the top 10 percent of his class. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. During his college years, Rev. Roberts was co-spokesperson for Concerned Black Students and participated in student exchange programs at Morehouse College, where he served as a chapel assistant, and at schools in Russia and Lesotho. He also preached frequently at campus ministry events, local churches, and chapel services at Grinnell College.
Rev. Roberts furthered his academic studies and preparation for ministry at the University of Chicago, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree. His research examined the role of the Black church in promoting community and economic development, with a specific focus on the ministries of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Trinity United Church of Christ, and Brentwood Baptist Church. Rev. Roberts holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Ethics from Emory University’s Ethics and Society Program. Rev. Roberts has conducted extensive graduate work in the areas of law, Christian ethics, and Black religion with a particular focus on the role of Black churches in expanding religious freedom and civil rights during the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Roberts also holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Boston College Law School, where he pursued his interests in the intersection of religion and the law.
Rev. Roberts is a pastor, author, educator, and researcher who integrates Christian ethics, legal theory, and organizational practices to inspire students, congregants, and aspiring leaders to pursue personal fulfillment, spiritual growth, and social engagement. From 2007 to 2011, Rev. Roberts served as assistant pastor and associate minister of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., preceded by appointments as intern, ministerial project consultant and associate pastor at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (Cleveland, Ohio), Calvary Baptist Church (Haverhill, Mass.), Salem Baptist Church (Chicago, Ill.), and Brentwood Baptist Church (Houston, Texas).
Through his teaching and preaching, Rev. Roberts seeks to help individuals identify their core skills and spiritual gifts, which are essential for pursuing purpose with joyful service. He identifies best spiritual and legal practices that affirm human dignity, divine worth, and social responsibility, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. In addition to his wide-ranging teaching experience, Rev. Roberts has served as a legal intern for the Environmental Protection Agency and Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau and has held teaching posts in Christian schools and public school settings on the local and international levels.
A gifted writer, Rev. Roberts has been recognized and published locally and nationally in scholarly journals and daily and weekly news media. He has published work on Christian ethics, the Black church, identity, organizational management, African American studies, nonviolent social change, cultural profiling, and leadership development in such publications as The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Journal of Business & Society, and the Duke Journal of Gender, Law and Policy. Rev. Roberts has helped to coordinate personal and social change initiatives for organizations such as the NAACP (DeKalb County), the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, The Carter Center, the Cleveland Job Corps, and AmeriCorps.
He is currently affiliated with organizations that support the church’s vision of local and global missions. These include The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living, Terrific Inc., Congregation Action Network, the District of Columbia Baptist Convention, the Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference of D.C. and Vicinity, The New Baptist Covenant, and The Prince Hall Freemasons. He is currently a commissioner on the Mayor’s Interfaith Council and board member of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention.
Pastor Roberts is the grateful father of two amazing children, Anaiah and Isaiah Roberts.