is a dedicated pastor, spiritual teacher, and uncompromising preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loves God and longs to lead all people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
He is the husband of Lady Vernesta T. Austin, and together they are the proud parents of four children – James Jr. (Yashika), Dorcas, Prisca, and Marcus – and two grandchildren, James Curtis Austin, III (affectionately called “Hudson”) and Violet Dolores Austin.
Before receiving a degree in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry, from the University of Illinois in 1967, Bishop Austin received his call to ministry. In 1978 he was appointed pastor of the St. Luke Church of God in Christ, the largest and a progressive Pentecostal church on the Near North side of Chicago. He was consecrated to the sacred office of bishop in 2004. He is the bishop of 5th Illinois Jurisdiction-East, overseeing more than 15 churches in the Church of God in Christ.
Bishop Austin unyieldingly serves the underserved and the underprivileged in the Near North community, where St. Luke has resided for more than 75 years, and around the world. He has partnered with organizations such as Tabitha House, a home for the homeless, and countries such as Liberia, West Africa, who in particular has become a concern of his heart after having traveled there in March 2018.
One of Bishop Austin’s greatest accomplishments was producing “The Legacy of a Leader,” which is a commemorative documentary video on the life of the late Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, one of the unsung heroes of the 20th century. In addition, Bishop Austin was inspired to write two books: Preach (a collaboration with Lady Austin) and The God-Ordained Life. The latter book and its companion eight-week DVD series reveal God’s plan for our lives.
Bishop Austin has had the opportunity to minister to thousands of people around the world and bring a message of hope, love, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Many pastors and ministries have been birthed out of his ministry, and he continues to lead people into a higher place in God.
When Bishop Austin has downtime, he enjoys riding his bike along the lakefront, taking brisk walks, traveling, reading, and spending as much time as he can with his children and grandchildren.