Pastor Byron E. Thomas is a native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. A veteran of the United States Air Force, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia and a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He also has a Certificate in Executive Leadership from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois.
Pastor Thomas served as the Senior Pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia from June 2006 through June 2013. During his tenure at Central his focus was on strengthening the link between spiritual formation and mission. Placing a premium on discipleship as opposed to membership, Pastor Thomas has emphasized the importance of spiritual formation as foundational for faithfully executing the ministry God has entrusted to the Church. He also strongly believes that United Methodist churches operate best when the mission of the church is being carried out by laity who are Christ-centered and demonstrate a love for God, for themselves, and for the people of God.
To this end, Pastor Thomas teaches the Six Marks of Discipleship as foundational principles and practices that support the vision and mission of the church. He encourages the congregation of believers to participate in worship weekly; engage in daily Bible study and daily prayer; serve others; give and develop spiritual friendships.
Prior to being appointed to Central UMC, Pastor Thomas served as Associate Director in the Office of Connectional Ministries for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. His primary area of concentration was Advocacy. He also served in the following capacities with the North Georgia Conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction: Chairperson of the Committee on Related Agencies, Chairperson of the Committee of Ethnic Local Church Concerns, Chairperson of the Advocacy Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, North Carolina. He has served the Atlanta-College Park District as a member of Board of Ordained Ministry and was recently elected to serve as the Chair of the District Committee on Superintendency for the Atlanta College Park District. He has also served as the senior pastor of Fort Street United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, from 1999 to 2005; twice-served as Chaplain at the United Methodist Children’s Home, and as the Educational Liaison to the schools attended by residents; and has chaired the Board of the Interfaith Children's Movement (ICM).
He is married to DuWanna and they have two wonderful sons of whom they are very proud - Ntchwaidumela and Mustafa.