Bishop James E. McKnight, Jr. was born in Gainesville, Florida to Bishop James E. and Sister Jessie McKnight. As a young boy, he was always serious about the work of the Lord by integrating preaching, praying and teaching into his normal childhood routines. At the age of 18, he committed his life to Christ and served in various capacities including youth minister, deacon, musician, choir president and Sunday school teacher at his local church.
In 1985, Bishop McKnight received his call into ministry and later was led to plant a church in Starke, Florida. With a clear vision, strong faith, determination and God’s help, he founded Starke Church of God by Faith in March 1987. He studied business administration at Santa Fe College and received his license as an ordained Elder of Church of God by Faith Inc. in December of 1991.
Bishop McKnight is also president and founder of Bradford County Faith Community Center, a faith-based organization that serves North Central Florida by providing HIV testing and counseling, a recovery program, prison outreach, food distribution and a family literacy program.
His dedication and ministry in the Church of God by Faith was recognized by the leadership of the church and as a result, he was recommended as a candidate for Ruling Elder. In December of 2003, he was selected by the National Church at-large and became a member of the Executive Board.
On December 20th, 2014, he was elected and appointed by the Executive Council as the presiding Bishop of the Churches of God by Faith.
His life and ministry is driven by the fact that, every soul matters to God. His mission is to reach people and develop lives with a message of life and hope. Moreover, his ultimate passion is to resource and help leaders build strong local churches.
Bishop McKnight has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Delois Turner McKnight since 1978 and they have three children and one granddaughter.