Terence A. Merritt was born in Waycross, GA and reared in St. Petersburg, Florida. While in elementary school, he was labeled a slow-learner. However, after giving his life to the Lord, he began excelling academically and was placed in the class for the gifted in the fifth grade.
He became the first black valedictorian of his 50-year-old high school and was named the top graduating male in all 14 high schools of Pinellas County. The recipient of a full academic scholarship to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude.
Dr. Merritt pursued a career in medicine at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, also on a full academic scholarship. After extensive clinical work in the field of Psychiatry, he graduated with a Doctorate in Medicine. He was employed for several years in medical management of one the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Merritt grew up attending Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in St. Petersburg with his family. He accepted the call to the ministry while at Morehouse College. During his freshman year, he began “Abundant LIFE,” a Bible study for Morehouse and Spelman students. Many students were introduced to the Lord; several of which are in ministry today. Dr. Merritt was later ordained in the COGIC, while in medical school. An anointed and gifted teacher/preacher, he has ministered nationally and internationally in churches and in conferences, as well as conducted health awareness seminars.
For eight years, Dr. Merritt served the Church of God in Christ in the Jurisdiction of Brazil as Superintendent of the Fifth District, under the leadership of the late Bishop Samuel Moore. There, he oversaw the growth and expansion of the church in north Brazil. Under his leadership, the oldest church in the district was purchased, and eight new ministries were birthed. In January 2010, Dr. Merritt established LIFE Church in the Candler Park Neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia by leading weekly Wednesday evening Bible Study. Sunday Services commenced shortly thereafter in February. God has tremendously blessed and favored LIFE. Ministries encompassing teen mentorship, prison ministry, food and clothing for the needy and benevolent assistance in the community. In August of 2013, LIFE Church made its first acquisition. The then three year old ministry purchased a 25,000 square foot facility in Southwest Atlanta. LIFE Church has taken in more than 1000 members in the past eight years. Lives are being radically transformed for the better. LIFE Church has truly become a place where “miracles are common”.
In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Dr. Merritt serves in the Jurisdiction of North Central Georgia of the COGIC as an Administrative Assistant to Bishop Joseph Hogan and as a District Superintendent over the Zoe District. In recognition and honor of the unique contributions Dr. Merritt has made in ministry, he was inducted into the prestigious MLK Board of Preachers of Morehouse College; and in 2016, he received the prestigious LIFEtime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama.