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Senior Pastor

Rev. R. Janae Pitts-Murdock Biography 

Pastor R. Janae Pitts-Murdock, a native of Detroit, Michigan, and ordained into the gospel ministry at New Bethel Baptist Church under Rev. Robert Smith, Jr., is a lover of God and God’s people.  Pastor Janae is a lifelong learner who believes that excellence honors God, and for her, anything less is unacceptable.

Pastor Janae is a graduate of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies, Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Science degree in Public Policy & Management, United Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, and University of Memphis with a Master of Business Administration.  She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served as Chaplain of the Southern Region which includes Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and the Bahamas. She currently serves as Chaplain of the Midwest Region which includes
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Kentucky, West
Virginia, and Ontario, Canada.

Pastor Janae was a civilian employed by the U.S. Department of the Army as a U.S. Presidential Management Intern and later as a Logistics Management Specialist.  She was employed at The Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attacks.  While grateful to have been on assignment and away from The Pentagon on that day, Pastor Janae mourns with those who lost loved ones. Pastor Janae served as Lead Pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Memphis, TN under Pastor Frank A. Thomas.  While at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, Pastor Janae charismatically led transformation focused ministries into new models of ministry and spearheaded the church’s satellite campus launch. After Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, Pastor Janae was employed by the City of Memphis as the Coordinator of Teen Services for the Memphis Public Library and Information Center where she was responsible for teen programming at 18 public library locations.  In this role, she spearheaded the $2 million construction and development of a digital teen learning lab, CLOUD901, transforming Memphis youth from information consumers to information creators.  Pastor Janae also served as Connections Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Rogers, Arkansas where she created systems to connect members to serving opportunities and improve ministry

In August 2019, Pastor Janae began her tenure as the Interim Senior Pastor at Light of the World Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, Indiana.  During that period, the church experienced healing, revitalization, and renewed strength.  Under her interim leadership, Light of the World has launched a leadership development strategy that nurtured church leaders quarterly, faith formation strategy that trained Sunday School and Small group leaders, and initiated numerous virtual ministries like daily prayer calls, online meditation, wellness groups and growth groups to aid members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  She accomplished all of that while pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary.  In November 2020, Light of the World Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) elected Pastor Janae to be their sixth Senior Pastor and first female Senior Pastor in
their 154-year history.

Pastor Janae is a member of numerous civic and service organizations including the National Council of Negro Women (Indianapolis Section), Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and board member of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society.

Pastor Janae is united in holy matrimony to the one she calls, “God’s embodiment of divine love,” Jeffrey Allen Murdock, PhD, who is Professor of Choral Music Education and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Arkansas.  He is the Founding Director of the Arkansas Center for Black Music, the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year, National Music Director of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Together they parent two sons, Jeffrey III and John Patrick.