Jasper Williams, Jr., a nationally known, prominent Baptist minister was born July 22, 1943 in Memphis, TN, the first of four children to the late Rev. Jasper Williams, Sr. and Alice Stewart Williams. He grew up in Memphis where his father was Pastor of the Lane Avenue Baptist Church. Jasper Williams, Jr. was raised in a very religious and family-oriented home environment with strong moral values. He was converted at the tender age of six, acknowledging his Call to the ministry and began preaching the Gospel.
A product of the public school system in Memphis, TN, Jasper Williams, Jr. graduated in 1961 from Melrose High School, where he excelled scholastically. He entered Morehouse College, majoring in sociology with a minor in Religion, graduating in 1972.
Jasper Williams was a young man of 19 years on Easter Sunday, 1963, when he was invited to preach at Salem Bible Church on Martin Street. He delivered a sermon so eloquent and so anointed that it touched the hearts and minds of the entire congregation. Subsequently, his initial plans of returning home as the Associate Pastor of his father's church was interrupted as he accepted the Call to pastor Salem in November 1963. With his gift as an electrifying orator, he quickly earned the name "Son of Thunder." In a short time, he tripled the membership and built a large new brick sanctuary, moving the present church to Baker Road. This was an astonishing accomplishment that brought him state-wide attention. He has given this institution 40 years of outstanding service. Pastor Williams has made it one of the key churches in the growing Baptist network. His priority as head of the church was its expansion through evangelism and ministry. He involved the church in a wide variety of social action ministries, such as organizing a Christian Education Department, a Welfare Assistance program, temporary aid fund to assist the socially challenged, a scholarship fund, and in 1989 a National Drug Ministry 1-800-4-GOD 1st.
In 1997, Salem purchased 163 acres of land in Lithonia, GA. The vision of Pastor Williams is to develop a community consisting of single family homes, apartments, condominiums, a family life center and commercial and recreational sites with the second location of the church at the center of the complex. Since the union of the two churches on Easter Sunday, 1998 Salem is now "One Church in Two Locations", with a membership of 10,000+. In addition Pastor Williams has spearheaded projects for senior citizens housing receiving grants totaling 5.6 million dollars for Phase I and Phase II of the Alice S. Williams Towers.
C.L. Franklin Masters Award, the NAACP award, the Award of Excellence, given by the Gospel Music Workshop of America, and the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award. He holds Honorary Doctorate of Divinity degrees from Miller University and Temple Bible College and Seminary.
Pastor Williams has served on the Boards of numerous community, religious and service organizations, including the Mayor's Advisory Board (Atlanta), Advisor for Governor Zell Miller, a member of the Board of Directors for the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Member of the Board of Directors for the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Inc., and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Until recently, he chaired the "Late Night Services" of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., a position he held for 12 years. Rev. Williams gained a high public profile when he relinquished this title and became the "voice of the people". He captured the organization's imagination as he spoke authoritatively with extraordinary abilities about the relations of Christian consciousness to social evils, "A man with a heart for the people!" He expounded on issues needed to strengthen the organization by advocating strong support of establishing programs in every state that would aid victims of natural disasters, and a retirement pension program for aged ministers.
Pastor Williams is highly regarded for his abilities as a thinker, theologian and philosopher. Through his many years of ministry, he has always shown himself to be a humanitarian, concerned about the "least of these." When Jesse Jackson ran for President of the United States of America in 1984 and 1988, he had to resign as President of Operation Push. It was Jasper Williams who rose to the occasion of financially supporting Rev. Jackson's wife and five children.
Of the variety of images that come to mind when one mentions the name Jasper Williams, Jr., the only one that truly would do justice to the whole of his person is simply the word "servant", as he continues to serve the National Baptist Convention and its former first family.
Jasper Williams, Jr. is a devoted father of two sons, Joseph Williams, who serves as Pastor of Salem Bible Church and Jasper Williams, III, serving as Pastor The Church in Gwinett County.