Our Pastor

Dr. Rodney D. Waller, D. Min.

Dr. Rodney D. Waller serves as the 10th Senior Pastor of the historic First African Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, the third oldest African American church in the United States.

Dr. Waller has pastored at First African Baptist Church for nine years. Under his leadership, the church has experienced tremendous growth in membership and ministry. First African became a debt-free church during the first two years of Dr. Waller’s tenure. He is best known for his gifted preaching, visionary leadership and love for teaching God’s word. His commitment to grow a holistic ministry resulted in the development of the Ministers in Training program (MIT), FABC Discipleship Training Institute and the Core Ministry Leaders Roundtable collaborative sessions. Since assuming the role of Senior Pastor, Dr. Waller has added several new staff positions to include:  Minister of Christian Education, Minister of Missions, Minister of Evangelism, Youth Minister, Minister of Music, Church Business Administrator and Executive Assistant to the Pastor.  First African continues to grow under Dr. Waller's leadership, especially in its ministry to youth and young adults.

Prior to becoming Senior Pastor of the First African Baptist Church, Dr. Waller served as the Senior Pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in Weems, VA.  He led the congregation in expanding its ministry and outreach.  As a result, Sharon experienced significant growth.  Attendance tripled and a second service was added. 

Dr. Waller’s love and sense of compassion for others makes him no stranger to service in the community.  He has served as a volunteer chaplain at the Rappahannock General Hospital, a member of the Lancaster County Special Education Department, the Lancaster County Planning Commission, and the Lancaster Board of Directors.  He is the past President of the Northern Neck Ministers Conference and the Jesse DuPont Foundation Church Resource Service.  He is a member of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity where he has served as Treasurer.  Most recently, Dr. Waller was appointed by Mayor Dwight Jones to represent the City of Richmond on the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority, serving Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico.  He is a member of the Hampton Minister’s Conference Executive Board and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Waller earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Religious studies from Virginia Union University, a Master of Divinity from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Virginia Union University of Lynchburg.  He participated in the UK African American Preaching Festival in London, England.  While in London, he studied at Oxford University under the leadership of Dr. Joel Gregory.  

Dr. Waller is the author of Leadership Empowerment:  A Paradigm in Administration and Leadership in the Urban Church in General and the Rural Church in Particular for the Twenty-First Century.  A second edition of Leadership Empowerment which includes a workbook, is due to be released in Spring of 2017.

Dr. Waller believes that the church ‘s purpose is to motivate, inspire, and challenge God’s people to discover and live according to His divine WORD.  

Purchase Dr. Waller's Book