Award-winning community leader Floyd Thompkins takes the helm at Center for Innovation in Ministry


SFTS is pleased and excited to welcome Rev. Floyd Thompkins as the first Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry. “We are very excited about Floyd’s decision to bring his passion and call to ministry to the Center and our educational programs at the seminary,” said president Jim McDonald. “For many years Floyd Thompkins has been one of the most influential thinkers and creative doers, not only in the African-American church but in the entire Christian community. His experience and skill is impressive and expansive.”

Thompkins served as a dean and chaplain at two world-class institutions, Stanford and Princeton universities. He developed unique, highly effective programs to empower underserved teenage youth and young adults in urban and rural areas—in East Palo Alto, CA and rural South Georgia. He led Antioch Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in San Jose, CA, and was the Education and Administrative Pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Douglas, GA.

“I have had an unconventional journey in ministry,” Rev. Thompkins notes, “but one that has allowed me to network with a wide array of people, agencies, and ministries. I believe that God has blessed me with a dream of what Church can become. My goal for the Center for Innovation in Ministry is to equip people for the ministry to which God is calling us.”

As Associate Dean of Memorial Church at Stanford University, Rev. Thompkins founded Black Church, the largest multi-cultural religious gathering on the Stanford campus. He also implemented a special freshman support system still being used as a base academic support program. Mr. Thompkins has led grassroots non-profits. In Georgia, he was executive director of the Bower Fund and with Youth Empowerment Today, organizations dedicated to mentoring at-risk youth through middle school, high school, and into college. He is a curriculum writer and a published author with several books to his credit.

His many awards include the Presidential Award for Community Service from President Bill Clinton, The Benjamin E. Mays Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Edward G. Howel Preaching Award from Princeton Theological Seminary, the Regional Service Award from the Northern California Kidney Association.

The Center for Innovation in Ministry was created a little over a year ago to increase the Church’s capacity to respond faithfully and creatively to the opportunities and challenges of the twenty-first century by bringing together unlikely partners for collaboration and experimentation.

In October 2014, the Center was launched with a two-day event attracting 200 people that featured interactive events with Dr. Jane McGonigal, a well-known author and game designer who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context, and Smallify, a Silicon Valley innovation capacity-building firm that helps organizations tackle daunting challenges and implement big ideas.