A deep and abiding love for the church--
the gifted body of Christ
That is the heartbeat of Kenneth S. Hemphill, who became the seventh
president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on July 28,
1994 after a unanimous vote by the board of trustees.
A groundbreaker in the area of church growth, Dr. Hemphill came
to the presidency after serving 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.
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 is married to Paula Moore Hemphill of Greenville,
South Carolina, a registered cytotechnologist, a former trustee
of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and past president
of the Virginia Baptist Ministers' Wives.
The Hemphills share a commitment to and passion for home and foreign
missions, having participated in partnership missions to Brazil,
Kenya, the former Soviet Union and England. Together they have served
in schools of evangelism and church growth for the Home Mission
Board, targeting pioneer mission areas.