In a statement released to the Baptist Message (Louisiana state paper), Ken Hemphill has declared his candidacy for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. The announcement did not include the name of who would be placing Hemphill’s name into nomination.
Hemphill, 69, currently serves in a denominational support capacity at North Greenville University and is the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth (July 1994 — July 2003). He is currently a member of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC.
About Dr. Hemphill
A native of Morganton, North Carolina, Dr. Hemphill was born April 17, 1948, the son of Carl Roderick and Ruby Kincaid Hemphill. Dr. Hemphill inherited from his father a deep love for the church, as well as pastors. The single greatest human influence in Dr. Hemphill’s life, Carl Roderick Hemphill dedicated 55 years of his life to pastorates in North Carolina, serving Carolina Memorial Church in Thomasville for 33 years.
Dr. Hemphill served as director of the Southern Baptist Center for Church Growth in Atlanta, a joint venture of the Home Mission Board and the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He previously served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Virginia, taking the congregation from a membership of less than 1,000 in 1981 to almost 7,000 in 1992.
Dr. Hemphill graduated from Wake Forest University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in religion. During his years at that institution he was named twice to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Football Team, was listed among Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, chosen Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His academic training then took him to Cambridge University where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in New Testament in 1976. While there he studied under Professor C.F.D. Moule, the Lady Margaret Chair at Clare College, Cambridge.
Following his doctoral work, Dr. Hemphill began his teaching career on the faculty of Wingate College, Wingate, N.C. He then went on to pastor First Baptist Church, Galax, Virginia for four years, during which time he chaired the Education Committee of the Virginia Baptist General Board.
In 1981 he was called to the pastorate of First Baptist Church, Norfolk, leading that congregation in such extraordinary Sunday School growth that the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board awarded them three Eagle Awards. During his tenure there, Dr. Hemphill chaired the Norfolk Baptist Association’s Evangelism Committee and served on the Executive Committee of the Virginia Baptist General Board, the Southern Baptist Convention Resolution Committee and the Special Committee for Planned Growth in Giving.
In addition to his denominational involvement, Dr. Hemphill has been active in community relations, serving as chaplain of the Norfolk Cosmopolitan Club, member of the Committee on Gifted and Talented for the Virginia Beach Public School Board and Bible teacher for the Sunday Morning Bible Study broadcast on WTKR Radio, Norfolk.
Dr. Hemphill has served as guest professor and lecturer in seminaries and colleges throughout the United States and in Scotland, including the School of Evangelism in Scotland; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky; Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama; Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Hemphill is also a prolific writer. Among his seven published books are The Antioch Effect, The Bonsai Theory of Church Growth and Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Discovering Your True Self Through Spiritual Gifts.