Dr. Ralph Douglas West serves as founder and senior pastor of The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church, Houston, Texas). He first preached as a sixteen year old in his native Houston. The church began with 32 members and now embraces 24,000+ families meeting in three locations and conducting six services each Sunday. Dr. West is affectionately known as PAS.
Dr. West completed degrees at Bishop College, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School, where he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree. He serves as Adjunct Professor of Preaching at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. He has an abiding commitment to the church and the academy, relating with equal ease to both venues and using his influence to mentor ministers in both locations. He speaks perennially at colleges, universities and seminaries across America as well as at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.
Dr. West’s preaching style includes careful explanation of Scripture combined with his signature ability to tell detailed, credible and indelible stories from contemporary life that enrich the sermon and relates to the congregation. He also makes penetrating and specific application of the text to his people. He does all of this while maintaining the vibrant preaching tradition of church and culture in an atmosphere of celebration.
Pas is a leader beyond his own church and serves on boards, agencies, trusteeships and committees at local, state and national levels. He is constantly in demand by fellow ministers for counsel and wisdom. On top of this, he pastors a very large church as if it were a much smaller church, standing with people in exceptional times of crisis. As one astute observer remarked, “He is unselfish with his time and utterly without self-regard
Through publications, television and the internet his messages are available across the world and are witnessed by thousands beyond his church each week. A perpetually demanded conference speaker, he has spoken multiple times at conferences such as the Hampton Institute, the largest gathering to hear preaching each year. From the pulpit to the lectern he is sought for his preaching gift.
Although Pas can boast of a number of degrees, honors and associations, those who sit under his preaching would most aptly describe his attitude using Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:1.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”
—1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Ralph Douglas West
Ralph Douglas West is the Pastor and Founder of Brookhollow Baptist Church, Houston, TX. From its initial membership of 32, Brookhollow Baptist Church has grown into a thriving congregation of over 24,000 families meeting in three locations. Along the way, because of the broad reach of its ministries in the Houston metropolitan area and around the world, Brookhollow Baptist Church affectionately became known as “The Church Without Walls.”
Pastor West holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL; a Master of Divinity degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX; and a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Philosophy from Bishop College, Dallas, TX. Pastor West has also completed advanced studies at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and received an honorary D.Div. degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center at Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia and Paul Quinn College, Dallas, Texas.
Pastor West’s philosophy of ministry includes a belief that the church and the academy are mutually dependent upon one another. For the academy, the church provides the impetus for its work and directs its course. For the church, the academy illuminates its sacred text, informs its worship, and articulates its faith. Therefore, Pastor West integrates academic interest with pastoral concerns, a juxtaposition clearly reflected in his preaching and writing. Pastor West’s ability to connect the esoteric with the practical makes him a sought after speaker and Pastor West has lectured at institutions such as Princeton Theological Seminary, Morehouse College, and Samford’s Beeson Divinity School. Pastor West also serves as adjunct professor of preaching at Truett Seminary in Waco, TX.
Pastor West is the author of Finding Fullness Again: What the Book of Ruth Teaches Us About Starting Over, (B&H Publishing, May 2006). In 2008, Pastor West released Left Alone, a powerful book on finding strength for life’s mysteries, impossibilities, and uncertainties.
He is married to Sheretta Machell Grays West and has two sons, Ralph Douglas II, and Ralpheal Daniel.
- Received an Honorary D.Div. degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center at Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
- Received an Honorary D. Div. degree from Paul Quinn College, Dallas, TX
- Philanthropic Award from Baptist University of the Americas, San Antonio, TX, 2010
- Who’s Who in Black Houston, 2009
- Contributing writer, Preaching Magazine, Volume 24, Sept/Oct 2008Atl
- Philanthropic Award from Alpha Merit Educational Foundation, Houston, TX, 2008 Georgia and Paul Quinn Texas
- The Global Directory of Who’s Who
- Dr. Gardner C. Taylor’s “Exceptional Preacher” Award, 2008
- Texas Southern University-10th Annual T.F. Freeman Ministers/Laity Summit Award, 2008
- Arena Theater Man of Action Award, 2008
- Contributing Writer, The African American Pulpit, Summer 2006 & Summer 2007 Editions
- Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Truett Seminary, September’s Pastor of the Day, 2007
- Lifetime Achievement Award-Jarvis Christian College, Dallas Alumni Chapter, 2007
- L.R. Scarborough Award – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
- Philanthropic Award from American Baptist College, Nashville, TN
- NAACP Houston Branch 2002 Freedom Fund Award
- Inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr., Board of Preachers as a “Distinguished Preacher,” Morehouse College, 1998
- Outstanding Men of America Award, 1985