Demitrius moved to the Bay Area from Phoenix, Arizona in August of 2013 and is a native of South Side, Chicago. He is a Brown University graduate where he played football as he majored in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations with a concentration in Organizational Studies.
Demitrius is also an alum of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. In his time at PSR, he was a part of the first class of Change-Maker Fellows, earning a Certificate of Theological Studies in 2014 and continued on to earn his Master of Divinity (M.Div) as a part of the Class of 2016.
Currently, Demitrius works to address the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area while helping non-profit organizations gain funding as a Program Officer at the San Francisco Foundation.
Demitrius previously served as the Youth Pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond, CA, for four years. As Youth Pastor, alongside the Youth and Young Adults, he is the creator of "Worship & Flow," the church's Hip-Hop worship experience, and has been working to bring more creative methods to preaching, including the spoken word sermon.
In December 2016, Demitrius proudly joined the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (DVULI) for Urban Youth Ministry. As a member of the Oakland/Bay Area Cohort, Demitrius joined local and national clergy and youth advocates in a 15 month journey to develop skills, frameworks, and partnerships to reshape how youth ministry is done in the Bay Area, and other major cities, while better equipping him to effectively serve Richmond's young people. His time in the cohort has shaped the way he approaches ministry.
Demitrius' earliest days in ministry did not begin with preaching alone, but also with poetry. Having preached his first sermon at 11 years old, Demitrius has now been preaching and speaking for over 16 years. He began to develop his gifts in writing and performing his writing. The early work of ministering originally written "inspirational readings" and gospel raps would eventually grow into spoken word performances over the years.
This foundation of preaching and poetry is what explains the foundation of Demitrius' intimate relationship with both art forms. For him, poetry and preaching work best together. Both may naturally flow out of him through his cadence, imagery, and message in any given piece or sermon. His experience with and early exposure to Christian Hip-Hop also shows up as he integrates Hip-Hop into the workshops he leads, messages he delivers, and entire life in ministry.
In November of 2014, Demitrius had an experience that would change his life forever. When he learned that the jury had failed to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, Demitrius was more heartbroken and devastated than ever before by the clear message from our country that Black life, that his Black life, had no value. Over the course of his transformation, he was a part of a cohort who traveled to Ferguson, MO for the one year anniversary of Michael Brown's death. He was selected as one of PICO's 50 Under 50 Clergy Cohort composed of 50 individuals nationwide under the age of 50 years old who are rising leaders in their communities for social change and completed a year long formational journey with the local Bay Area Clergy Cohort.
In May of 2016, Demitrius continued his journey of transformation vocationally as he accepted a position with East Bay Housing Organizations, or EBHO, as their new Interfaith Program Coordinator. He worked with faith communities throughout the East Bay to advocate, educate, and organize for more affordable housing opportunities for low-income communities.
In March of 2018, Demitrius began the next phase of his professional career at the San Francisco Foundation as a Program Officer. There, he is continuing his contributions towards social change through grant-making, strategic collaborations, and civic leadership and engagement to prevent the displacement of low-income and communities of color from the Bay Area while ensuring these diverse neighborhoods are places where all residents can live, work, and thrive
Demitrius Burnett is a man devoted to the Lord who truly seeks to serve an Audience of One as he works with others to advance the Gospel and uplift the community.