Our Pastor

Pastor Tavares Stephens


Tavares Stephens currently serves as pastor of Suwanee Worship Center. Prior to his arrival at Suwanee, he served as pastor of Eastside UMC in Atlanta, Georgia and Associate Pastor at Saint James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. In his pastoral roles, he has served as pastoral lead for Christian Education, Stephen Ministry, Benevolence, and Young Adults. He also formerly served as a director of Children, Middle School, and Youth Ministry. 

Tavares was a recipient of the Candler School of Theology’s John Owen Smith Award for Preaching and was featured in By Faith magazine as a Harry Hoosier Spirit Award honoree for his diverse ways in proclaiming the gospel. Prior to receiving his call to ordained ministry, Tavares spent sixteen years as an educator. He is a former Teacher of the Year and was a recipient of Turner Broadcasting’s Teacher Appreciation Award. He also co-authored Reading Revolution, a book of biographies covering important contributions made to civilization by people of African descent and formerly served as a freelance education writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Learning Together Company – a company devoted to developing high engaging reading tutoring curriculum aimed at boosting student achievement. Additionally, Tavares served as a contributing author to the anthology The Secrets to Uplifting the Mind, Body, and Spirits of African American Male Students. 

Tavares is also an accomplished artist. He is a former member of Poetry Atlanta’s National Slam Poetry team and the creator of the spoken word CD, “Lend Me Your Ear.” He also authored Soulfood Café, a book of poetry, and wrote and produced the Ascension Project, a gospel music project that fuses praise and worship and spoken word poetry. Tavares also co-founded VerbalEyze, a non-profit specializing in the professional development of youth and young adult writers.

Tavares also serves as a content consultant for the non-profit Fearless Dialogues – a group which focuses on creating unique spaces (using art, music, and theory based modules called “experiments”) for unlikely partners to engage in hard, heartfelt conversations about taboo subjects. In his work with this organization, Tavares has aided multiple United Methodist conferences and dozens of United Methodist churches, across the country, in helping them see and hear one another with deepened empathy that can lead to radical hospitality, relationship building, and racial healing in their communities. In addition, he serves a mentor with the North Georgia UMC’s Committee on Race and Religion’s Racial Healing Cohort. In this role, he aids individuals who have committed to being vessels of racial healing develop ways and means of building beloved community within the churches and communities in which they serve. 

Tavares graduated with a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in English Education from the University of Georgia. He and his wife of twenty-one years, Nicole, have been blessed with two children, their son Simeon and their daughter Nia. 

Suwanee Worship Center
754 Brogdon Road, Suwanee Georgia
Service Time - Sundays @ 11:00 A.M.