Rev. Matthew Watley
CEO | Black Idea Coalition | Chair, Kingdom Global Community Development Corporation
The Reverend Matthew Lawrence Watley is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Kingdom Fellowship AME Church, headquartered in Calverton, MD. Kingdom has an active membership of over 5000 people. In addition to the thousands that attend worship in person, thousands stream through the Church’s online platform nationally and internationally.
Under Pastor Watley’s leadership, the Church has completed several business transactions, including acquiring and developing a 125,000-square-foot office tower where it leases space to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other businesses producing an alternative revenue stream to support the work of the ministry. The Church also owns a 12-acre office park in Calverton, MD, where he developed the state-of-the-art Kingdom Worship Center. Currently under construction is the Kingdom Cares Center. The top-to-bottom 100,000-square-foot renovation was fully underwritten from funds Reverend Watley solicited from the Federal Government and the State of Maryland. Pastor Watley also serves as the Chair of the Kingdom Global Development Corporation, which oversees these community outreach efforts.
Additionally, Rev. Watley is Chair of The Black Idea Coalition, whose mission is to fulfill the promise of diversity and inclusion by empowering organizations and institutions to achieve Black parity in employment, investment, and contracting. The Black Idea has developed strategic partnerships with several national organizations and businesses with a specific depth of practice in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It hosts a leadership summit where thought leaders speak about the trends and opportunities for advancing the prospects of the black business community.
A third-generation preacher, author, businessman, lecturer, and professor, Pastor Watley is nationally and globally recognized for his extensive work in ministry and his experience in leadership development. He served on a Special Commission sponsored by the Ford Foundation to evaluate Non-Governmental Organizations in the Republic of South Africa. Pastor Watley served on the General Board of the AME Church and the Board of Trustees of Howard University as a graduate student. Rev. Watley has spoken for Ch2Mhill, Prudential, Industrial Bank, The American Institute of CPAs, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, and the National Society of Black Engineers, to name a few. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He has lectured at other institutions of higher learning, including Howard University, Alabama State University, Wilberforce University, Cornell University, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Wiley College. Reverend Watley serves on the Board of Trustees at Wiley College and is a Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee member of EXIM (Export-Import Bank of the United States). In March of 2023, Reverend Watley was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., for his lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service.
Pastor Watley is the author of Ignite, 50 Days of Prayer that Will Change Your Life, and co-author of Poems of a Son, Prayers of a Father with the Rev. Dr. William D. Watley. His writings have also been included in James Washington’s Conversations with God; Beyond the Frontier by E. Ethelbert Miller and Mr. President – Interfaith Perspectives on the Historic Presidency of Barack H. Obama by Darryl Sims.
Rev. Watley holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Divinity from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also served as a Graduate Assistant at the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. Rev. Watley earned an Executive Master’s in leadership from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in 2009. In the summer of 2015, he received a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University. Pastor Watley was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wiley College in 2020. Rev. Watley is presently a candidate for a Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.
Rev. Watley is married to the former Ms. Shawna Francis, Senior Policy Advisor in the Government Group of Holland and Knight. They are the proud parents of the beautiful and talented Miss Alexandra Elizabeth. The Watleys are committed to the arts, with Lady Shawna serving on the Board of Trustees of Arena Stage and a producer of “Colored My Mind,” which won the Independent Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Rev. Watley served as a script consultant for the T.V. One Movie “For the Love of Ruth,” Together, Reverend and Lady Watley were producers of the Tony-nominated Broadway play “StickFly.” In addition to being lifelong tithers, they are honored to support The National Museum of African American History and Culture as members of the 2015 Society, The King Memorial, and of course, their beloved alma mater Howard University.