Bio of The Reverend Doctor Ayo Whitaker
Reverend Doctor Ayo Whitaker is the current Pastor of Youth & Young Adults at the First African Baptist Church.
Dr. Ayo was licensed into the Gospel Ministry in 2005 by Bishop Joel V. Brown of New Jerusalem International Christian Ministries. Although, Dr. Ayo did not negate her Pentecostal upbringing, she transitioned to the Baptist faith tradition and in 2011; becoming the youngest and 2nd ordained female minister at Gravel Hill Baptist Church. Under the tutelage of Senior Pastor, Reverend Doctor Ray McKenzie, Dr. Ayo served as a seminary intern, Director of Christian Education, Associate Minister to Youth and Young Adults and currently serves as the Associate Minister of Congregational Care. Dr. Ayo is responsible to assist with ministerial duties and support such as facilitating preaching, Bible studies, overseeing the bereavement support group; and leading worship and the ordinances of the church such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Dr. Ayo has an extensive educational background having earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University; a Masters in Science Degree in Patient Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University and recently, the Doctor of Ministry Degree at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Dr. Ayo defines her call to ministry as “tailor-made”; birthing passion and purpose outside of the pulpit. Dr. Ayo is the founder and Worshipping Dance Artist of the Art of Judah Worship & Empowerment Center, an ecclesia group that utilizes artistic temperament and programs to approach personal growth, healing, recovery and spiritual unfoldment. She is the creative designer of The Clergy Couture Closet, LLC, a sewing, designing and tailoring source for ecclesiastical garments. Dr. Ayo’s love for the grieving and brokenhearted makes her no stranger to the death-care industry. She has worked at several historic funeral homes and cemeteries in the Richmond area; serving as a Family Services Counselor. She is a trained Bereavement Specialist experienced in Patient Counseling and Pastoral Care; possessing four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. Dr. Ayo is also the founder of the Sacred Breathing Space, skilled in facilitating grief support groups for adults and children who have experienced loss due to death and other life crisis. She has served as a Chaplain at VCU Health as well as other community and fraternal organizations. Dr. Ayo’s employment at the City of Richmond gives her great reward as she serves as a Crisis Responder and advocate for children and adults with Intellectual Disabilities who are experiencing crisis.
Dr. Ayo is active in her community; receiving many honors and recognitions in her lifetime. Dr. Ayo is honored to be a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and a faithful sister in the Order of the Eastern Star. Dr. Ayo is humbled by her spiritual gift of “humor” and the mandate for ministry that God has placed on her life. She is passionate about her purpose, which is to laugh, love, lead and labor. She is unashamed to use her life as a teaching lesson to encourage, educate and empower to those she encounters. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend who is blessed beyond measure to love and serve a God whose reciprocal love is never-ending.
FABC - January Calendar 2018.xls
Executive Youth & Young Adult Pastor
Rev. Dr. Ayo Whitaker
The EXPLORERS Pre-K and K Ministry (Ages 3 – 5)
The EXPLORERS, is First African Baptist Church’s Pre-K and Kindergarten Ministry aiming to teach the Word of God to children ages 3-5. We seek to encourage children to know and love the Lord through Bible stories, learning centers, play and the influence of godly role models who demonstrate His love and acceptance. The EXPLORERS Pre-K and Kindergarten Ministry partners with parents as we together lay the spiritual foundation for our alpha generation where exploration takes place for spiritual growth, fellowship and fun. The EXPLORERS Bible Academy is on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
The EXPERIENCE Children’s Ministry (Ages 6 – 8)
The EXPERIENCE, is First African Baptist Church’s Children’s Ministry dedicated to reaching, teaching and ministering to ages 6-8. We seek to build a foundation of faith through Bible stories, crafts, activities, field trips and much more to meet their spiritual, physical and emotional needs. The EXPERIENCE Children’s Ministry partners with parents as we together lay the foundation of faith and help each child to worship God, love others and serve God as they grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The EXPERIENCE Bible Academy is on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
The EDGE Youth Ministry (Ages 9- 12)
The EDGE, is First African Baptist Church’s Junior High Youth Ministry. The EDGE Youth Ministry provides a safe fun place for junior high students to fellowship in a solid Baptist community, to get answers to their questions about faith, and, most importantly, to experience Jesus in a profound and personal way. The EDGE seeks to speak to the physical, psychological, cognitive, relational, and spiritual maturation of middle school youth. The EDGE answers the needs of this age group in a catechetical, fun, and relevant way; providing a foundation for youth to continue onto the EVOLVE Youth Ministry. The EDGE Bible Academy is on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
The EVOLVE Youth Ministry (Ages 13 – 17)
EVOLVE, is First African Baptist Church’s Youth Ministry. EVOLVE Youth Ministry exists to develop middle and high school students as lifelong disciples through an interactive study of God’s Word using imagination and creativity. We seek to help each child to grow in their relationship with Christ, to serve with compassion, to fellowship with friends, and to live a life that EVOLVEs around God in all aspects of their life. Each year, EVOLVE Youth Ministry is introduced to four bible studies/devotionals that are 6-8 week long; exploring one topic each session. The bible studies are designed to encourage independent study of the bible and includes video lessons, questions, application activities, and other resources to help students dive into Scripture. EVOLVE Bible Academy is on Wednesdays from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.