Robert Wilson-Black

Chief Executive Officer
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

As CEO of Sojourners since 2013, Rob Wilson-Black manages the organization, working closely with the Board of Directors and President & founder Jim Wallis. Sojourners resources the 3.3 million people who visit annually and the tens of millions of people who are reached by Sojourners through our media reach and events, including the annual Summit for Change gathering in Washington, D.C. Rob is a liaison to the World Evangelical Alliance, World Economic Forum, Aspen Institute, and Brookings Institution as well as top national foundations and others who support Sojourners’ messaging, media, mobilizing, advocacy, and convening.

A graduate of the University of Chicago (PhD, AM) under Martin E. Marty, and the University of Richmond (BA, MH), Rob served as a college and seminary vice president for 10 years. He is the author of numerous articles, blogs, podcasts, and a forthcoming book on religion and education. He was an editor of the multi-volume Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. He has given talks on campuses throughout the world, including UC-Berkeley, Northwestern, Georgetown, the University of Chicago, the University of Cape Town, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He serves as co-chair of the National Museum of American Religion Board; on the Alumni Council of the University of Chicago Divinity School, Sidwell Friends School Parents Committee on Equality, Justice and Community; and the Wild Goose Festival Board. He advises Crestivex Capital’s social impact investing project and previously served as an advisor to the New America Foundation’s Smart Strategy Initiative.

As a young evangelical Rob checked off many of the suggested boxes: have Jerry Falwell sign your Bible, attend Amy Grant concerts and Billy Graham Crusades, and meet with Chuck Colson, Carl F. H. Henry, and Richard Viguerie. Later came experiences of meeting with people of faith in Gaza, Guatemala, South Korea, and South Africa; marching on Washington for numerous justice issues; integrating his block on the Southside of Chicago; discovering his parents attended Gordon Cosby’s Church of the Savior in D.C. in 1960; spending time with the Rev. John R.W. Stott; and bringing Dr. Martin Luther King III and Julian Bond to university events for racial reconciliation initiatives. He lives in Reston, Virginia with his wife of 23 years, the Reverend Juli Wilson-Black, a Presbyterian minister in Alexandria, Virginia, and their children Hannah (15) Claire (12) and Owen (8). They travel with him to many of the 65 countries he has visited for research, speaking, and education.

Posts By This Author

What Do We Owe One Another? Chasing Compassionate Conservatism in 2016

by Robert Wilson-Black 08-11-2016

When my oldest daughter, Hannah, was in elementary school she asked me to explain the difference between conservative and liberal. I replied, “It’s too complicated.” She said, “Try me.” So I told her my best description was a metaphor, that of life as a high-wire act. Liberals are worried that without a net below the high-wire act of life, the performer may die or suffer when they fall. Conservatives are worried that if a net is built below, the performer may not be concerned enough about falling and use the net as a hammock. She paused for a moment and responded, “Why not build a trampoline below, so if they fall it will send them right back up?” Indeed.

Denying Christ and Getting to the Truth

by Robert Wilson-Black 08-27-2015
Lessons from a week at Taize

Teens across the world are still flocking to monks in France to deepen their Christian faith? Yes — and my family and I remained in awe of its tent-dotted fields and large scale kitchens staffed all by volunteers.

The Taize community of brothers from across Christian traditions — alongside sisters from a Catholic order — host religious thinkers, leaders, practitioners, and especially youth who want to engage biblically around issues spanning peace, justice, the arts, service, and Christian practice. We came to Taize as a spiritual "vacation-pilgrimage" during their 75th anniversary celebration and the 10th anniversary of Taize's founder’s death, joining religious leaders from around the world.

For American Christians who may be stuck in habits of religious thinking that promote "all or nothing," "left and right" interpretations of the Scriptures, Taize invites us to sing together and investigate the scriptures from a fresh global perspective.

Lean In: How Men Can Support Gender Equity

by Robert Wilson-Black 03-26-2015

Then there’s the more recent pragmatic argument: you should want gender parity because of how it will help your own family, business, or city. In short, inequality and violence harms the women who are your partners and friends. Some suggest that it’s mighty convenient that men are ready to take a stand when we finally see how it benefits us. But one female friend advised me that men should ease up on themselves: “Just deliver gender parity, and we’ll gladly forget HOW exactly you got there. Deal?”

According to the Global Gender Gap Report released at the latest World Economic Forum, it will take 80 years to reach gender parity in pay, status, governance, etc. In the year 2095, my daughters would be approaching 100 years old, and my mother, wife, two sisters, aunts and so forth would be long dead along with me and all the women that I care about today. Why wait 80 more years? It’s time for all men to lean in and help cut that number in half (and then some).

I’ve joked before that having two older sisters is what every boy needs to make the world spin around more equitably. If not biological sisters, then let’s find older sisters for every boy. Hopefully with gender parity cut down to 20 years from 80, my 7-year-old son will need to work twice as hard to “get ahead,” since he’ll finally be competing fairly with the other half of the sky. May it be so.

Jim Wallis Talks the World Economic Forum from Davos, Switzerland

Listen as Jim Wallis talks to Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black about giving the send-off speech on values at the World Economic Forum, where the pair brushed shoulders with some of the most prominent business minds. Here's a brief look at what Jim was trying to do with his talk:

"The pope reminded us about the excluded. This gathering is the most included gathering in the world. You are the most included people in the global economy. How will the most included reach out to the most excluded and bring them in to the global economy? That's what I want [World Economic Forum attendees] to ask themselves."


LISTEN: Jim Wallis Talks Pope Francis



Listen in as Jim Wallis and Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black kick off the new year with a discussion on Pope Francis and the new Pope's influential presence in all kinds of media.

LISTEN: Jim Wallis and Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black Talk Fasting

Brandon Hook/Sojourners

Jim Wallis talks to reporters at the #Fast4Families tent. Brandon Hook/Sojourners

Listen as Sojourners CEO Rob Wilson-Black asks Jim Wallis about his recent fast for immigration reform.


Four Questions for Christiana Figueres

by Robert Wilson-Black 08-01-2012

Jan Golinski/U.N.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

'Religion Everywhere, But None to Drink': God at the Aspen Ideas Festival (Part II)

by Robert Wilson-Black 08-24-2010
Three distinctive views about people of religious faith became apparent at this summer's Asp

'Trust is the new Black': God at the Aspen Ideas Festival (Part I)

by Robert Wilson-Black 08-11-2010
Against many odds, I was given the chance to spend six days at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer.