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In 1967, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed Alvin out of a huge crowd during a service at Wayman A.M.E. Church which is positioned right in the heart of the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects of Chicago. During his message Dr. King asked him to come forward to make an illustration in his sermon. At that very moment – Dr. King was challenging the audience to take responsibility for the promising future of the next generation and to bring pride back to their community. That moment left a lasting impression on Alvin’s life – especially after Dr. King shared a prayer of blessing over his life at the end of the church service alongside of his parents and four siblings.

Our Founder

Alvin has continuously met Dr. King’s challenge.  Alvin is a highly sought after motivational speaker, mentor and serves as an organizational coach/facilitator to congregations and not-for-profit organizations across North America. In addition to serving as President and CEO of The Justice Journey Alliance, Alvin is the Founder & Principal of The Obsidian Consulting Group, LLC which provides Compassion & Justice Ministry Consultations; Cross-Cultural & Diversity Sensitivity Training; Brand & Marketing Management Solutions; Emergent Multi-Ethnic Church Growth Strategies and Leadership/Organizational Development to ‘assist‘ and ‘propel’ organizations to the Next Level.

Prior to OCG, Alvin served as the Multi-Cultural Regional Director for the Willow Creek Association in South Barrington, IL.  He joined Willow Creek Community Church as staff in1996 as the Director of Extension Ministries (the missions outreach for the church) and in 2005 transitioned to the Willow Creek Association.  His primary responsibilities were to acquire new markets to grow The Global Leadership Summit participation in the Midwest and Southeast Regions and to assist the entire Willow Creek Association in shaping a more ethnically diverse and inclusive movement in order to serve prevailing churches around the country. 

Under Alvin’s leadership at Willow, several strategic networks were launched – the National Compassion Network and the Chicago Pastors’ Alliance.  Both organizations have the vision of strengthening the impact of local churches in their support of the under-resourced communities and families. In addition, Alvin founded the growing national initiative known as The Justice Journey Experience™ an annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage designed to bring multi-cultural and inter-generational leaders, churches and organizations together for honest dialogue on race and relevant issues on social justice. 

Prior to his position at Willow Creek, Alvin was the Heartland Regional Director of Young Life. His role was to develop, train and supervise new ministry sites throughout the city of Chicago and throughout the Midwest. At that time, Alvin was the only African American holding a national position within the international Colorado Springs based organization.

In the Christianity Today’s 1996 November issue, Alvin was featured as one of the Top Fifty “Up and Coming” Evangelical Leaders in the country under forty years of age. In January of 2010, Alvin was featured in a TIME Magazine article entitled ‘Can Mega-Churches – Bridge the Racial Divide.’

Crazy Enough to Care: Changing Your World Through Compassion, Justice and Racial Reconciliation

Alvin is an author of a book released in 2009 entitled: Crazy Enough to Care: Changing Your World Through Compassion, Justice and Racial Reconciliation. He is also a contributing author on a number of Christian books and spiritual resources including the newly released: A Heart for Community: New Models for Urban & Suburban Ministry, Moody Press 2009; and City Lights: Ministry Essentials for Reaching Urban Youth, Group Publishing 2003. Finally, Alvin is also a well-known contributing cast member of Hoop Dreams (1994) an award winning documentary and  remarkable true story of two American dreamers; an intimate reflection of contemporary American inner-city culture, following two ordinary young men on the courts of the game they love.

Crazy Enough To Care