Since 2014, Connection International Ministries (CIM) and Pastor Chuck B. Douglas have partnered with Dr. R. A. Vernon and the Word Church. This partnership includes financial giving, business practices, training and joint ministry fellowship.
Dr. R. A. Vernon is the founder and senior pastor of The Word Church, the largest and fastest growing church in the history of Cleveland, Ohio and one of the fastest growing churches in America.
With over twenty-five years in ministry and nearly two decades in the pastorate, Dr. Vernon has enjoyed a prolific, storied career in pastoring, but consciously chooses to never stop growing, personally or vocationally.
Having started with only one service in a high school in 2000, The Word Church is now a multisite ministry with fourteen services and four campuses across Northeastern Ohio including Warrensville Heights (Main), Downtown, East Cleveland, and Akron, which is currently under renovation, opening in the spring of 2015. A believer in the power of cash over credit and the importance of stewardship, Dr. Vernon opened The Word Church Downtown in the fall of 2014, completely debt free.
Known for his uncompromising integrity, he is a trailblazer and trendsetter who focuses on relevance and innovation. Because of the number of weekly worship services at The Word, Dr. Vernon developed the concept of pre-recorded broadcasting for the services he is unable to attend due to time and distance constraints—a ground-breaking move among African-American churches. He also adopted the practice of planting campus pastors to lead the satellite locations so that the members at these locations still receive a personal touch even when he is not physically present.
He is the author of three books, The Blessing Behind Closed Doors, Size Does Matter: Moving Your Ministry from Micro to Mega, and Dr. R.A. Vernon’s 10 Rules of Dating.
Dr. Vernon is committed to continual improvement and creating opportunities for others to improve as well. Through his bold, frank delivery of the Word of God, he crusades to free other church leaders from the fetters of foundationless formality. He shares candidly about the challenges the local church faces and provides spiritual, solution-driven responses to matters of social inequality and political injustice with cultural sensitivity.
Dr. Vernon knows the importance of mentorship, and founded The Shepherds Connection, a coterie of some 300 senior pastors around the nation to whom he provides creative leadership, guidance, and spiritual direction.
Under Dr. Vernon’s vision, The Word Church developed a for-profit company called The Word in Action, which operates a skating rink, restaurant, billiards hall, three full basketball courts, and two soccer fields.
Dr. Vernon has an ambitious appetite for both educating and learning and has a diploma of theology with a concentration in black church studies, a master of arts in practical theology, and a doctorate of ministry with a concentration in church growth, all from Ashland Theological Seminary. He is honored to be married to First Lady Victory Vernon and they have five children.