The Rev. Wayne A. Croft Sr. is not your typical senior pastor. This young clergyman is arguably one of America’s top preachers and a bona fide theological scholar. According to 2Timothy 2:15, Croft is an approved workman that needeth not be ashamed, (who can) rightly divide the word of truth.
Croft is the Jeremiah A. Wright Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Ave.
“Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is blessed to have Dr. Croft, a leading homiletician, on our faculty and serving as the leading professor of African American Studies in Homiletics and Liturgy. His presence on our faculty has increase interest in prospective students,” said Dr. Quintin L. Robertson, director of the Urban Theological Institute of the Lutheran Theological Seminary.
“Dr. Croft has masterfully combined the church and academy in his lectures and presentations. Although, Dr. Croft is a most sought after professor, he is also known to be rigorously demanding.”
According to Robertson, Croft is slated as the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Sr. chair in African American Studies, “however, he is not in the chair until we raise an additional $900,000 to fully endow the chair. Each year we host the annual UTI (Urban Theological Institute) lecture where we request donations to the Jeremiah A. Wright Sr. Endowed Chair Fund. Persons interested in making a contribution to this fund may send a check payable to LTSP Foundation and in the memo section indicate funds are for the Jeremiah A. Wright Sr. Endowed Chair.” Donations can be mailed to the attention of Dr. Quintin L. Robertson at Lutheran Theological Seminary, 7301 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119.
On Sept.1, Croft became the senior pastor at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in West Chester. Before St. Paul, Croft served as pastor of The Church of the Redeemer Baptist in South Philadelphia for 19 years. He is the founder of the Redeemer Renaissance Community Development Corporation and a life member of the noble Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He’s also been inducted into the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Reflecting on his professional hallmarks, Croft said “In my total years of being a pastor, both at Church of the Redeemer and St. Paul’s, really watching the church(es) grow spiritually, financially and numerically. In the four months of being at St. Paul, we have accepted 70 new members in four months. We have engaged in a number of outreach ministries.”
This includes a clothing donation initiative for needy youth called Sock It To Me, and a major toy drive for children of incarcerated parents and children of victims of domestic abuse.
Croft teaches undergrads and doctoral students at Lutheran Seminary, “There are some good preachers coming out of seminary, as well as coming out of some good sound churches,” he said. “Both have a prophetic voice.”
Croft says both camps are “able to take the Gospel and speak to the world and the condition of the world in a relevant manner. And, so then, it occurs to be that there are still some prophetic voices out there, not many, but still a few that I think can sound the trumpet.”
The Rev. Dr. Philip D. W. Krey is president of The Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, and he is a great supporter and proud colleague of Croft. Approximately two years ago, Krey met Croft during one of the seminary’s signature events.
“We have the annual Preaching with Power event, at Grace Baptist Church, in Germantown on Johnson Street,” said Krey. “And (Croft) was one of our Preaching with Power preachers. That’s an annual event that celebrates the most famous African-American preachers around the country.”
Krey recalls after witnessing the impactful preaching of Croft, that the Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones, the former chair of Lutheran’s UTI which sponsors the event, recommended that Croft “would be a fabulous candidate for our Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright Sr. Chair in Homiletics and Liturgics.”
Krey extended the offer and Croft accepted. Wright was the former senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown. Jones is now the current senior pastor of Grace.
Reginald Weaver is chair of the deacons at St. Paul. He’s been a deacon for 12 years and a member for 23 years.
“[Croft] is just an outstanding man of God, who delivers a very strong sermon each Sunday [and] a very powerful teaching and Bible study.” Under Croft’s short tenure, “He has really attracted current members of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, but also attracted a number of new members as well.”
Croft is an avid reader and prolific writer. He has a personal library that consists of thousands of books, and he conservatively estimates that he has read at least 4,000 books. Croft is a contributing writer to the book, “From One Brother to Another: Voices of African-American Men, Volume II” (Judson Press), and he has a soon to be released book entitled, Unexpected Calls to Unexpected Places. He has published two articles in the Past Master section of Preaching Magazine: “John Jasper: Preaching with Authority” and “E.K. Bailey: Expositor of the Word.”
Croft earned an associate degree from Pinebrook Jr. College where he was a Northeastern Junior College All-America basketball player. He graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary), and his Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Croft graduated with honors from Drew University in Madison, N.J, earning a Doctor of Ministry degree. He also earned a Master of Philosophy and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Drew University.
He is married to Dr. Lisa L. Croft, a family physician; they have three children, Darlene, a law student at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.; Wayne Jr., a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and Candace Nicole, a junior at Henderson High School in West Chester.
St. Paul’s Baptist Church is 125 years old, and one of its long term members is Juliette Davis. Davis has been a member of St. Paul for about 28 years, commenting about Croft being the new pastor, Davis said, “His ministry has been an absolute blessing to us. And he’s what we’ve prayed for — a real man of God who is sensitive to the needs of the congregation and the community.”
St. Paul’s Baptist Church is located at One Hagerty Blvd., in West Chester. The church’s phone number is (610) 692-2446. Sunday worship service begins at 10:45 a.m., and Bible study is held every Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Folk aspiring to serve the community as religious and spiritual servants attended Ministry Day at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in Mount Airy recently. The session was held at the Brossman Center on Germantown Avenue.
Leading the session were the Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft, Sr., the Rev. Dr. Mark K. Tyler, the Rev. Jocelyn K. Hart, the Rev. Keon A. Gerow, and Bishop Ernest McNeart.
Eight members of the Chosen Generation Church of God in Christ from Southwest Philadelphia were among the participants.
“I really want to learn more about how women can grow in the ministry,” said Andrea Gillis, a member of the Church of the Redeemer Baptist in South Philadelphia.
LTSP Master of Arts in Religion student Philip Harris, a South Philadelphia native who has lived in Mount Airy for 15 years, said he grasped an appreciation for the African-American’s community’s communal approach to service through ministry.
“There was a time when people looked down on what the old folks said about religion,” he said. “They would say that grandmom’s worship was not [authentic] because she was uneducated. Now we understand that she had a grasp on ministry that was theological…it just was not from the European point of view.”
After registration, the Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson, director of the Urban Theological Institute, and the Rev. Dr. Kiran Sebastian, the academic dean, led the praise and worship.
The morning workshop topics included women in ministry and missions in a global community —to name a few.
After lunch there was another series of workshops with the morning themes. Musical group Catalyst for Change Worship Team led the crowd through the closing praise.
It was announced at LTSP that a new grant is available for part time students. There are still grants available for this fall in the Leadership Grant for Part Time Students program.
Those interested must be newly admitted to one of the master’s degree programs and enrolled in two or more courses per semester to qualify.
Each recipient will receive $765 for the first two semesters of study. There are 10 leadership grants still available for the 2012-2013 academic year.
For more information contact the Rev. Louise N. Johnson at admissions @ltsp.edu or call (215) 248-7302.