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Dr. Emanuel Cleaver

Senior Pastor
Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III


phone8    816.444.5588

Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III is a dynamic clergyman whose diverse and vast influence stretches from the Kansas City, Missouri church he leads to the outline areas of West Africa. Dr. Cleaver’s expertise is rooted in his experience and the knowledge he acquired while working toward a Master’s of Divinity, which he received in 1999 from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Dr. Cleaver, the Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church since 2009 is known for his dynamic sermon delivery. His weekly messages are truly inspired, as are other aspects of his ministry. These range from his vision for the congregation to the church’s overall mission of spreading the gospel and constantly striving toward compassionate outreach that extends far beyond the congregation. He leads St. James in word and by example, urging them to always be mindful of the church’s motto, “Connecting people with God in practical ways.” 


His messages and leadership have led to many changes and new programs under his tutelage. These include the formation of a weekly worship experience for seniors residing at nearby St. James Place, many of whom are unable to make the weekly commute to Sunday worship at St. James UMC. Under his leadership, St. James secured funding for and renovated the church kitchen. He launched and delivers a quarterly State of the Church address as yet another way to more thoroughly communicate with the congregation.

Dr. Cleaver, who received his doctor of ministry degree from St. Paul School of Theology, participated in a mission trip to West Africa, where he was a guest preacher at S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. He also was among a group of Christians who visited Turkey to promote Christian and Muslim dialogue.

Dr. Cleaver was a participant in the Lewis Community Leadership Fellows program at Wesley Theological Seminary and a guest preacher and lecturer at seminaries and church organizations throughout the country. He’s a United Methodist denominational leader who was elected a delegate for the 2008 and 2012 South Central Jurisdictional Conferences as well as the 2012 General Conference. In 2013, he received the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award, which is Methodist Theological School’s highest honor for former students and specifically recognizes parish ministry.

The Philander Smith College graduate with a B.A. in political science, is a prolific reader and writer and has had several published works. These include a poem in “Unity Magazine,” an article about hip-hop culture in “Circuit Rider Magazine,” short essays about greatness, friendship, thanksgiving and disappointment in the “Wesley Study Bible” and an article about Moses’ leadership in “Ministry Matters.”

In 2014, his first book, “Pastor on Track—Reclaiming Our True Role,” was published. It chronicles God’s vision for creating a successful ministry in a quickly-changing world. Dr. Cleaver received this vision from God, shared the plan and has implemented it at St. James.