Our Pastor


holds two fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education. While at Morehouse, he served as the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants Program and was named the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar. Francois received a Master of Divinity from Harvard University’s Divinity School, where he was awarded the Hopkins Shareholders Award—the school’s highest academic recognition—and served as class commencement speaker. 

Called and committed to empower God’s people through transformative preaching and teaching, Francois serves as the Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Pleasantville, NJ. From 2013 to 2015, Francois served as the Associate Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC) in Harlem, New York, where Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr. is the pastor. Prior to joining the FCBC team, he served as the Minister of Christian Education and Discipleship at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, under his pastor, Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby. Willie also fulfilled several highly engaging and structured ministerial internships at Wheeler Avenue, FCBC and Morning Star Baptist church (of Mattapan, Massachusetts, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. John M. Borders III). Francois was licensed and ordained at the First Union Baptist Church of Galveston, Texas.

Francois lives into the intersection of the life of the spirit and the life of the mind. In addition to publishing various articles and sermons, Francois served as a member of the Young Preachers’ Leadership Team of the Academy of Preachers, the director of the Young Ministers’ Corner of the African American Lectionary, a research assistant for Dr. Jonathan L. Walton, a Civil Rights Scholar for the imaging of the King Paper collection through the Martin Luther King Center (in Atlanta). Likewise, he holds an adjunct position in the African American Studies program at the University of Houston.

Francois is a founding fellow of Emerging Millennials Leadership Alliance, which is a movement committed to dismantling the racialized prison industrial complex in America. Through the Bill Lucy Fellowship, Francois represented the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference in a global conversation on mass incarceration at the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race at the University of London-Birkbeck in London, England. Francois serves as co-chair of the Theological Working Group of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality. For 2014-2015, Francois was named a Beatitudes Society Fellow, focusing on congregational responses to Mass Incarceration and empowering returning citizens. Francois’ pastoral activism is organized around racial and economic justice and criminal justice reform.

Francois attributes his love of life and dedication to doing the so-called impossible to his close-knit family. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Willie Dwayne Francois III

Senior Pastor

Willie Dwayne Francois III is a 2009 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion, named the ranking scholar in both departments. Francois is a member of of various honor societies and