Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin Jr.

Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin Jr. has touched hundreds of thousands of lives throughout Central Indiana. For decades, he has been an advocate for justice and education for all – sharing his message from the pulpit, television screen, classroom and book pages.

Raised by his grandmother, Benjamin learned the importance of giving at a young age. “I watched my grandmother distribute food, money and furniture. I was taught to be kind and considerate of people regardless of their background,” he said. It was these very lessons that led Benjamin toward a lifetime emphasis on community and generosity.

Much of his community service and advocacy stemmed from his position as senior pastor of the Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis. Benjamin served the church for 43 years, using his leadership skills to grow it exponentially until his retirement in 2012. During his time as pastor, he hosted “Living for the City,” a weekly television broadcast which highlighted community issues directly related to the city’s African American population.

One of Benjamin’s biggest passions is education. “My belief in education is so strong, not just an education at school, but in the home and at church. Children are our destiny, so it is important to invest in them.” He’s invested much of his time, talent and treasure into improving education in Indianapolis, from opening Respect Academy in 2003 to creating a cooperative initiative between the Tom Benjamin School of Ministry and Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Benjamin’s dedication to education also includes helping thousands of at-risk youth by launching five IMPACT centers throughout Indiana – part of Project IMPACT USA, which implements a nationally recognized, best-practices model of reconciliation that reduces youth violence in the most at-risk communities across the U.S. He’s authored four books about helping at-risk youth and families, including “Boys to Men,” “The Home Alone Syndrome,” “Mama’s Boy” and “It’s All in Your Mind.”

His one wish for our community is a message he’s always preached, “That every person will treat one another with justice and respect, recognizing that we came here on different ships but are in the same boat.” Benjamin continues to serve his community based on a message by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The biggest thing he planted was that greatness is not a title, but a testimony that anybody can be great if you are willing to serve.”