Rev. Melvin D. Watkins, Jr. – Senior Pastor

A Beacon of Hope and Transformation

Reverend Melvin D. Watkins, Jr., serves as the Senior Pastor at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Westwood, Inc. Reverend Watkins’s influence extends far beyond the pulpit. His unwavering commitment to faith and community upliftment has left an indelible mark on the congregation, the community, and all who know him.

Family and Marriage

Reverend Watkins is happily married to Loie Watkins, his partner in life and ministry. Together, they have 3 sons and exemplify the beauty of a strong marital bond rooted in faith and love.

Ministry Leadership

As the shepherd of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Reverend Watkins provides guidance, inspiration, and pastoral care to the congregation. His sermons resonate with wisdom, compassion, and a deep understanding of the human experience.

Military Service

Reverend Watkins served with honor in the United States Air Force. His dedication to duty and sacrifice exemplifies the values of service and patriotism.

Leadership and Community Revitalization

Reverend Watkins has emerged as a beacon of hope and transformation in the city of Memphis. Under his leadership, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church feeds over 100 families a week through the Manna Food Pantry. His leadership was instrumental in founding Uplift Westwood CDC, which focuses on revitalizing the Westwood community. As the founding board chair of Uplift Westwood CDC, he has been influential in improving community green spaces, enhancing the Westwood Community through community art murals, addressing blight, and strengthening support for local schools. Pastor Watkins spearheads the vision of breathing new life into the Old SW Twin Drive-In Theater through a robust partnership with the City of Memphis. Reverend Watkins is an Adjunct Professor of Theology and is on the board of directors at The Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies at Union University.

Advocacy for Senior Citizens

Rev. Watkins serves as president of Westwood Manor, Inc. and Westwood Manor Elderly Cottages. His presidency underscores his dedication to the well-being of senior citizens. Westwood Manor Elderly Cottages provides affordable housing that dignifies their golden years, ensuring their comfort and security.

Nurturing and Empowering Future Generations

Reverend Watkins’s commitment to nurturing future generations is evident through his dedicated mentorship of youth. Reverend Watkins co-founded The Chosen Ones Mentoring Initiative, an impactful program that trains adult male mentors. Through this initiative, he prepares young men for the journey into manhood, imparting wisdom, guidance, and life skills. He also conducts a weekly session at Westwood High School called Club L.I.T., which stands for (Leadership, Inspiration, & Transformation) and aims to strengthen leadership qualities within the youth, inspire them through meaningful connections and discussions, and support their personal and spiritual transformation.

Church Revitalization

As the visionary CEO of The Watkins Ministry Group, he fortifies leaders and churches encountering stagnation in their ministry efforts by providing practical ways to revitalize church congregations for effective ministry.

Global Impact

His passion for outreach and evangelism has extended his ministry globally. He has ministered in Sierra Leone, Mali, and Uganda where he assisted in planting churches, teaching in Bible Schools, conducting seminars, and encouraging believers to faithfully continue their Christian ministries.

Recognitions and Awards- Reverend Watkins’s unparalleled contributions have not gone unnoticed:

Community Icon Award: JP Freeman Elementary and Middle School recognized his impact.

Harriet Tubman Living Legend Award: TN State Representative Barbara Cooper honored his service.

Henry Logan Starks Outstanding Alumni Award: The Memphis Theological Seminary celebrated his achievements.

Adopter of the Year Award (2022 and 2023): Memphis Shelby County Schools recognized Reverend Watkins’s impact as an adopter, fostering positive relationships and support for students.

Clergy of the Year Award: We Care, Inc. honored his exceptional service in Memphis juvenile success and community re-entry.

African American Male Image Award for Social Action: Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity


Pastor Watkins graduated from Hamilton High School in Memphis, TN, received a bachelor’s degree from Crichton College. He graduated from the Memphis Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He is a fellow of The Black Theology and Leadership Institute of Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry Degree in Pastoral Theology and Church Revitalization from Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA / Charlotte, North Carolina.

Reverend Watkins’s legacy is one of service, empowerment, and transformation. His tireless efforts continue to uplift individuals and communities alike, leaving an indelible mark on Memphis and beyond.


Contact info

620 Parkrose Rd, Memphis, Tn

Broadcast Schedule

Broadcast Schedule

MONDAY nights at 9:00am – Voice of Hope television broadcast on channel 17
WEDNESDAY nights at 6:30pm – Mid-week Bible Study and Youth Bible Study
THURSDAY mornings at 11:00am – Seniors and Retirees Bible Study and Fellowship
SUNDAY mornings at 8:45am – Sunday School
SUNDAY mornings at 10:00am – Worship Service
SUNDAY afternoons – Voice of Hope radio broadcast at 4:00pm on WLOK Radio, FM 104.9 / AM 1340