Born in Hampton, Virginia, but raised primarily in Knoxville, TN, he was greatly impacted by the Christian nurture of his grandfather, the late Rev. Dr. J. A. Babington-Johnson and the First A.M.E. Zion Church, Knoxville, where his grandfather was the organizing pastor. He gave his life to Christ at age 15. Two years later, after excelling in academics and athletics (football, basketball, baseball, and track), he graduated from Fulton High School and entered the ministry. He received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC in 1979, the Master of Divinity Degree from Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury in 1982, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL in 1998. He was ordained a deacon in 1977, an elder in 1979, and was consecrated a bishop in 2008. His ministry has concentrated in six areas: pastoring, evangelism, teaching, community outreach, the episcopacy and writing.
PASTORATES included MT Moriah/MT Ararat Circuit, Richburg and Bascomville, SC; Greater Warner Tabernacle, Knoxville, TN; Thompkins Metropolitan, Chattanooga, TN; Spottswood, New Britain, CT; Metropolitan, Birmingham, AL; Evans Metropolitan, Bennettsville, SC; and Wesley, Harrisburg, NC, where he was the organizing pastor.
EVANGELISM: He has served as Director of Evangelism for the Knoxville District, the Tennessee Conference, the Alabama/Florida Episcopal District, and The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church for twelve years. He has served as the Vice-President of the Evangelism Program Ministries Unit of the National Council of Churches of Christ and is presently the chairman of the Wesleyan Commission on Evangelism and the Secretary of Evangelism for North America for World Methodist Evangelism.
TEACHING: He has lectured at workshops, institutes, conventions, and retreats throughout the country and overseas. He has served as an instructor at the Unity Theological Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee; as the Dean of the Hartford District School in New Britain, Connecticut; as an Adjunct Professor at the Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama; and as an Adjunct Professor at Hood Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH: He has served as board member, Eastside YMCA, Knoxville, TN; vice-chairman, Board of Directors, Urban Services YMCA, Chattanooga, TN; Interim-Director, Inner City Ministries, Chattanooga, TN; vice-chairman, Board of Directors, OIC, New Britain, CT; board member, Friendship Homeless Shelter, New Britain, CT; Incorporator, Wheeler Clinic, Plainville, CT; member, Christian Coalition of Connecticut; chaplain, Connecticut Department of Corrections; consultant, Black Family Ministries Project; and trustee, Lomax-Hannon Junior College, Greenville, AL; Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC; and Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury.
EPISCOPACY: In 2008, he was consecrated the 96th Bishop in the line of succession; and for four years served as the Presiding Prelate of the Southwestern Delta Episcopal District, which comprises Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Mississippi, Texas, and West Tennessee-Mississippi Conferences. In 2012, he became the Presiding Prelate of the Mid-West Episcopal District, which comprises Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and Trinidad-Tobago Conferences. He also served as Presiding Prelate of the Albemarle Conference of the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District. He was re-appointed to the Mid-West in 2016. He has served as Chairman of the following Administrative Boards: the American Bible Society, Health and Social Concerns, Public Relations and Historical Society, Worship and Ritual, and Church Growth and Development. He is one of our church’s representatives on the National Council of Churches of Christ and on the Pan Methodist Commission. In 2016, he was elected as the North American Officer to the World Methodist Council Steering Committee for the 2016-2021 quinquennium.
WRITING: He has authored several books. His most recent books include the following: Not Ashamed of the Gospel; An Evangelism Training Manuel (2009); 21st Century Christians Under Construction: A Discipleship Training Manuel (2011); and For the Perfecting of the Saint: A Handbook on Small-Group Discipleship (2013).
FAMILY: He is married to Sis. Camille Cullom Starnes, who is the daughter of an AME Zion Pastor, a native of Knoxville, a local preacher, and a graduate of Livingstone College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious Studies. She served in the Church School Literature Department for eleven years, before becoming a Missionary Supervisor. They are the proud parents of three beautiful children: Rev. Alicia Courtney (Rev. Rodney), Millicent, and Darryl Jr. and seven adorable grandchildren, Mya, Malachi, Kaiyon, Benjamin, Caleb, Jayelle and Chloe.