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Pastor and Founder
Mark Cunningham Sr.
New Birth Baptist Church
Royston, GA
Thursday & Friday

     From his humble beginnings to the present, Pastor Mark Cunningham has been on the battlefield for the Lord. He began his Christian journey as a singer, pianist, and avid church member of the New Salem Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Pastor Cunningham credits his Godly foundation to his mother and grandparents for constantly instilling the importance of seeking God in every aspect of his life.

In 1981, Pastor Cunningham moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he attended DeVry University. He studied project management and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree.  He began his career as a computer technologist at Northern Telecom and later became a project manager.

     During his time in Atlanta, Ga., Pastor Cunningham became a member of Zion Baptist Church in Doraville, Ga.  He was an active and dedicated church member at Zion and served as a choir member, pianists, minister of music, and a deacon.  Ultimately at Zion, Pastor Cunningham accepted his calling into the ministry. He attended Carver Bible College and completed a plethora of workshops, seminars, and classes on homiletics, marriage and family counseling, finances, and youth ministry.

     In 1991, Pastor Cunningham accepted the call to pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Bowman, Ga. He remained pastor of this church (2.5 years) until God directed him, two deacons, and a few faithful members to step out on faith and establish New Birth Baptist Church in Royston, Ga.

God has blessed the church to flourish during Pastor Cunningham’s twenty-nine years at New Birth Baptist. Deacons were ordained and fifteen members accepted their calling into the ministry. Under his leadership, several organizations were established. Some of them include a Nursing Home Ministry, Junior Deacon Board, Tutoring Ministry, Women's Ministry, Praise Team, and Praise Dance Ministry.

     One of Pastor Cunningham’s signature accomplishments is the Mark W. Cunningham Scholarship Foundation. This amazing foundation provides funds to students based on financial need and academic achievement. The scholarship also awards students accepted into four-year colleges with laptops to enhance their college studies.

Furthermore, Pastor Cunningham demonstrates his faith walk not only at church, but at his job as well. He is an extraordinary mathematics teacher, who has taught at both the middle and high school level. He was the sponsor and mastermind of the McNair Drone Zone Club, where his team placed first in Flight at the Drones for Good Competition in Atlanta Ga.

     Finally, Pastor Cunningham is indeed a faithful family man. He is the husband of Dr. Kathy Cunningham and the father of Dr. Mark Cunningham, Jr. and Dr. Sarah Cunningham. He is also known as “Poppa Cunningham” to his loving daughter-in-law, Dr. Ahfiya Howard-Cunningham. In fact, Pastor Cunningham is considered the spiritual godfather of every youth at New Birth Baptist Church.

     Pastor Cunningham under God’s divine direction has produced a legacy at New Birth that has inspired our present and future members.  He believes that God has been our shield and strength and will forever direct our paths.

      Darrell L. Ward, Sr. confessed his faith in Christ at an early age and was baptized under the pastorate of the late Reverend J. D. Hill, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Muncie, Indiana. He entered the US Army in 1984, which ultimately led him to Fort Worth, Texas in 1991 where he united with Greater St. Stephens Baptist Church under the auspices of the late Dr. R. B. Gray. There he was called into the ministry in June 1992. Reverend D. L. Ward delivered his first sermon on July 5, 1992 in Killeen, Texas under Pastor H. E. Debose, Simmonsville Missionary Baptist Church. He served as an Assistant Minister and member of the choir from 1992 through 2001. He was ordained on September 28, 1998 under the late Dr. R. B. Gray, Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church.


      In January 1999, Reverend Ward attended the Trinity Valley Baptist Seminary College, receiving several degrees. He received an Associate Degree in 2000, Bachelors Degree in 2002, Masters Degree in 2004, and on May 5, 2006, he received a Doctorate Degree in Theology.


      Reverend Ward united with Community Missionary Baptist Church under the jurisdiction of Pastor R. J. McGinty, where he served as an Associate Minister from 2003 to July 2006 until he was called to Pastor the Original Greater Saint Stephens Missionary Baptist Church. In 2008, he resigned as the Pastor of the Original Greater Saint Stephens Missionary Baptist Church and went on to organize the Christian Fellowship Baptist Church until 2013; which he considered the worst year of his life, after tragically losing his son.


      From 2013 to 2017, Reverend Ward traveled across the country preaching and teaching at various churches and ministered through evangelism and church leadership workshops. In February 2018, he united with the late Reverend R. L. Rogers at Harvey Avenue Baptist Church. He resigned from Harvey Avenue in December 2018.


      From January 2020 to December 2020, Reverend Ward assisted Pastor Howard McLean of Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, Hillsboro Texas until he was called to East St. Paul Baptist Church on January 1, 2021.


      Dr. D. L. Ward is truly a man of God who comes to lead God’s people. He has retired with 29 years of government service and three years state service. He is married to Alysa Ward and has three children. He is a very faithful and dependable servant of God. Overall, he has 31 years of ministerial experience for all ages and he has a significant background in nearly every aspect of church ministry, i.e., Pastor, preacher, teacher, evangelist, choir, youth, education, and administration.

Darrell Ward Sr.
East Saint Paul Baptist Church
Fort Worth, TX

      Pastor Erik Vance is the president and founder of the globally recognized “Pray or Die” Movement. Vance started the movement to emphasize the importance of prayer to a prayer-less, dying generation. Pastor Vance has made numerous media appearances on outlets such as B.E.T, CNN, TBN, and The Word Network. Vance's Pray Or Die! has also had product placements in a Tyler Perry movie and has also been a worldwide trending topic on social media. Pastor Vance is also an itinerant speaker who has traveled around the country speaking at major universities, revivals and conventions. Pastor Vance is a licensed and ordained minister who has served as a Campus Pastor at Georgia State University and Clark-Atlanta University. Vance holds a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Business Management/Marketing from Georgia State University. Vance also holds a Master of Divinity from Morehouse School of Religion in conjunction with The Interdenominational Theological Center. Ironically Pastor Vance won the Martin Luther King Sr. Award from Morehouse School of Religion prior to becoming the senior pastor at Floyd Chapel Baptist Church. Vance is also passionate about education as he lives by the motto of Benjamin E. Mays’ quote “Education is my salvation.” Vance is an Educator in the public schools in Fort Worth, TX where he teaches Social Studies. Vance has a total of 10 years of leadership in Ministry and Education. Vance is currently the Senior Pastor of Southside Community Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. 

Erik Vance
Southside Community Church
Fort Worth, TX

          Minister Dr. Mark W. Cunningham Jr. was born on December 29, 1985, in Decatur, Georgia from the proud parents of Pastor Mark W. Cunningham Sr. and Dr. Kathy L. Cunningham (retired principal of Tucker Middle school in Decatur, GA).

          Minister Mark Cunningham graduated in the top 5% of his class from Tucker High School in 2004. In addition, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. in 2008 with Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. In 2014, Dr. Cunningham successfully defended his dissertation and obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Florida. In 2017, Dr. Cunningham obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Millsaps College Else School of Management in Jackson, Mississippi. Moreover, on May of 2023, he received a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

          Minister Cunningham has always been a faithful and active member at his home church, New Birth Baptist Church of Royston, Ga., where his Father, Mark W. Cunningham Sr., is the Pastor and Founder. However, on December 2012, Dr. Cunningham accepted his call into the ministry and began working with the youth department at Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church (PBC) in Florida.  During this time, he served as youth minister, teacher, director, bible study coordinator, choir director, and mentor to many of the children at the church.  While residing in Mississippi, Dr. Cunningham was the lead director, youth minister, and activity coordinator (educational trips, tutorial services) for the youth department at Greater Belmont Baptist Church. On December 18, 2013, Minister Mark Cunningham was licensed as a minister at Zion Full Gospel World Changes Ministries, in Doraville, GA.

Dr. Cunningham continued his career in scientific research as a postdoctoral research associate, instructor, and then later as assistant professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi in 2017. On March of 2021, Dr. Cunningham moved to Fort Worth, Texas and served as an assistant professor in the department of physiology and anatomy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). Currently, Dr. Cunningham is a well-trained physiological scientist with over 45 publications and has presented his work at regional and national conferences. He has competitively applied and received grants for his research and community service projects. His research focuses on maternal health and fetal programing.  More specifically, the Cunningham laboratory examines the mechanisms for dysfunction of blood vessels in the brain, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and high blood pressure in women during and after pregnancy, and in their offspring.

          In 2019, he met his lovely wife, Dr. Ahfiya J. Howard and became engaged February 20, 2021.  On December 3, 2023, Dr. Cunningham married Dr. Ahfiya J. Howard-Cunningham. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and Pastor-in-training at New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Kyev Tatum.

        Minister Dr. Cunningham is Spirit filled man of God who loves to teach, preach, proclaim the gospel, engage in community service projects, mentor, and fight for social justice. Dr. Cunningham’s motto is, “Excellence in all things”. This motto is derived for one of his favorite quotes from Reverend Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, a Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and 6th president of Morehouse College, who said “Not Failure but low aim is sin”. However, his favorite quote is, “The Job of the Conscious is to make the Unconscious Conscious” Stockely Carmichael.   

          He believes that through God, all things are possible! His ministry incorporates holistic ideologies and practices that aid all mankind, especially Blacks and particularly individuals who live in poverty, are marginalized, disenfranchised, and/or oppressed. Minister Dr. Cunningham firmly believes that through Jesus Christ there is liberty, justice, equity, humanity, and love for all.

Mark Cunningham Jr.
New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church
Fort Worth, TX



Special Guest
Rolissa Rogers
Salem Baptist Church
Fort Worth, TX

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 kjv


Rolissa La’shaee Rogers was born, March 27,1973 at 11:58pm at St. Joseph Hospital here in Fort Worth, Texas. Her parents are The Late Dr, Pastor R.L. Rogers and Mrs. Laura Ann Smith-Rogers.

  • Rolissa was baptize by her father (Dr. Rogers) on April 1, 1979 at the Harvey Avenue Missionary Baptist Church. 1257 East Harvey Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76104, at the age of 6 years old.

  • Rolissa excepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior at an early age under the leadership of her pastor and Father.

  • Rolissa is the only child by marriage. She is the 2nd child from her mother. Rolissa went to Forest Hill Elementary School, (Pre-K thought 5th grade) Glenn Crest Middle School (6th grade) Forest Oak Middle School (7th and 8th grade) and Oscar Dean Wyatt (9th grade – 12th grade) Graduated May 27,1991.

  • Rolissa started her music career at the age of 4 years old.

  • Rolissa became the Minister of Music at the Harvey Avenue Missionary Baptist Church at the age of 16, under the leadership of her mother, the Later First Lady Laura Rogers, and Bro. Tommy Earl Brown Jr.


While in school my parents were very supportive. All of the years in school she was always known as “ that Rogers girl or that’s Laura’s baby girl. Especially through my singing. After graduation in 1991 from O.D. Wyatt High School, she attended Everest College of Fort Worth with her Associate Degree in Business Administration, after which she attended Texas Westley University, and was awarded her Bachelors Degree in Social Work.


Rolissa is an Investigator for Texas Department of Family Children and Protective Services for 17years for Dallas County.  Previously she was Employed with FWISD, under the Principle of Rev. Andrew Chambers at  Morningside Middle School, for 13 years. As of May 21,2023, Rolissa has been with the State of Texas dealing with children for 30 Years. Rolissa is looking towards retirement in about 5 years.

Rolissa is very proud of whom which she has become. March 27,2023, the Lord allowed her  GOLDEN year, 50 years of life.  The Lord has really been faithful and kind.  In the mist of lost her family, the Lord has kept her from seen and un-seen.  She is the Minister of Music for the Salem Missionary Baptist Church, where she is under leadership of, Pastor, Kendall D. Fisher. Rolissa has been employed by Salem for 9 years as of August 2023, and she also was married to the Salem Church by her late father a member September 16, 2018.  Her father came to Salem and awarded his Blessings for her to make Salem her church home, after a lot of fasting and praying, Rolissa and her father did TOGETHER. And right today, making Pastor Kendall Fisher, and the Salem Missionary Baptist church my home, was the absolute best thing I could have ever done. 

After her family (mother, Father, Daughter and Best friend) was called home from labor to reward, the Lord allow her to become an Author.  The title of the book: “You Left Me Alone”. After all of what has taken place in my life, now I’m finding myself to be More Loving, More Patience, more understanding, Forgiving, even when it didn’t make sense, and most of all TRUSTING MORE IN GOD. Those are the skills that was implanted in me from my parents that I WILL NOT LET DIE.

Rolissa’s Daily Motto: “In spite of hat it looks like, in spite of your tears and pain, just remember God STILL knows your name. Keep trusting, Keep standing on his promises and most of all KEEP BELIEVING”

No matter what friends may say, no matter what the world may do, I AM DETERMIND TO PRESS ON.

Jude 1:24-25 (KJV) says: "NOW, unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. TO THE ONLY WISE GOD our Saviour; be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever".  Amen  

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