Hemphill to Lead EKG Initiative at NGU

          Dr. Ken Hemphill, National Strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG) for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has recently been named the Director of the Center for Church Planting and Revitalization (CPR) at North Greenville University. After nine years under the SBC, the EKG initiative has transferred possession to North Greenville University’s Craft-Hemphill World Evangelism and Missions Center to open this fall.

          Hemphill says the EKG [a strategy for enhancing church growth] process will continue to be a centerpiece of NGU’s church revitalization strategy, but the initials CPR will be used.

          “It is a bit of a play on words,” said Hemphill. “CPR in the medical world stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.  EKG can tell you that you have a problem, but CPR begins the process of revitalization and healing.”

          This is an exciting opportunity for NGU to become the center of church revitalization. The University will not only be holding conferences for church planting and revitalization, but will also be working toward a process for revitalizing the local church.

          NGU plans to take ten churches through the year-long process beginning next year and will be using some of the EKG process that proved successful in Louisiana.    

          The Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) launched the EKG initiative in 2006 with 65 pilot churches. After four years, 249 churches or 18 percent of LBC churches completed at least one phase. The LBC staff researched the four-year trends associated with the EKG churches. Several relevant and significant statistics emerged that demonstrate the value of the EKG initiative.

          According to John L. Yeats’ article Making an Effective Difference for the Kingdom: EKG Strategy Demonstrates Measurable Gains: EKG churches baptized twice as many as the not-yet EKG churches; giving showed an average increase of 13 percent; EKG churches on average tended to invest a larger portion of their resources to cooperative mission work. EKG churches also gave an average of 41 percent more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions (LMO), while not-yet EKG churches increased their average giving to the LMO by only 12 percent.

          Another statistic Yeats mentioned was the support of the Southern Baptist World Hunger Offering (WHO).  EKG churches gave an average of 33.45 percent more to this mission; not-yet EKG churches, decreased their giving to the WHO by an average of 15.25 percent.

          In addition, Cooperative Program giving increased by an average of 2.15 percent. They also increased giving to the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions by 14.7 percent.

          “It is my goal to involve NGU’s ministry track students in the revitalization process so that when they graduate, they will have both the knowledge and ability to be instruments through whom God brings revitalization,” said Hemphill.

          He believes the revitalization component is critical since as many as 80 percent of North American churches’ membership have plateaued or are declining. The NGU students will have an unparalleled opportunity to be involved in an incredible Kingdom initiative. 

          Hemphill is the former president of the largest evangelical seminary in the world, Southwestern Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas. He 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 SBC. 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.

          He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Wake Forest University, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament from Cambridge University.

          He is the author of many books and evangelistic material: Splash; Core Convictions; Kingdom Promise Series; Prayer of Jesus; Names of God; got life?; Revitalizing the Sunday Morning Dinosaur; EKG:The Heartbeat of God; Eternal Impact; You Are Gifted, and Live it Up.

          Hemphill currently teaches in the Master of Christian Ministry degree program at NGU’s T. Walter Brashier Graduate School and will also take on a role in the new Doctor of Ministry degree program beginning this fall.