United Methodist Church
Born in Dothan, Alabama, Mike Watson received a bachelor of science in finance and real estate from the University of Alabama, a master of divinity from Emory University, and a doctor of ministry from Vanderbilt University.
While a student in Emory’s Candler School of Theology, he was ordained a deacon in the United Methodist Church. After beginning his pastoral ministry in the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 1976, he was ordained an elder. He was appointed as the founding pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church in his hometown from 1979 to 1990, and then served as the pastor of Dauphin Way United Methodist Church in Mobile until the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference elected him bishop in 2000.
Bishop Watson served as president of the Mobile County School Board, the largest school system in the state of Alabama, with 66,000 students and 8,000 employees. He has been on the board of trustees of six colleges and universities, has been a board member of his local United Way, Boys Club, Girl Scout Council, Red Cross Chapter, and Inner City Mission. He was president of the Dothan Kiwanis Club and the Mobile Rotary Club. He is a member of the World Methodist Council and General Board of Pensions. He is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and a John Wesley Fellow of the United Methodist Men’s Foundation.
He was elected as an Emory trustee in 2000.