With over 20 years of pastoral, teaching, and administrative experience, Watkins is an active teaching scholar and has over 250 publications and conference presentations to his credit. He is author of the books The Gospel Remix: Reaching the Hip Hop Generation (2007) and I Ain’t Afraid to Speak My Mind (2003). His most recent book Jay Z to Jesus: Reaching and Teaching Young Adults in the African American Church which he co-authored with Benjamin Stephens is helping thousands of congregations around the country effectively reach young adults in urban centers. His new book Leading Your African American Church Through Pastoral Transition has just been released. He has just finished his next book project, Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Music and the Message to be releasedby Baker Academic Press in October of 2011. Dr. Watkins is presently working with Justin West on a new book project, The Black Church: Dead or Alive to be published by Judson Press in 2012. Additionally, Watkins contributed the chapter “Rap, Religion, and New Realities: The Emergence of a Religious Discourse in Rap Music” to the book Noise and Spirit: The Religious Sensibilities of Rap Music (2003), which is considered an outstanding treatment of hip-hop and theology.
In recent years, Watkins has received a Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, Lilly Teaching Fellowship, Fulbright Hayes Fellowship for a study in Ghana, a Wabash Teaching Fellowship, and various awards and study grants to study in the in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Mexico, and Ethiopia. He is ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination and served as the executive pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles under Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter. Prior to returning to FAME he served as Director of Ecclesia / Executive Pastor at The City of Refuge under Bishop Noel Jones in Gardena California.