BISHOP RUDOLPH WALDO MCKISSICK JR.
Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr., is Senior Pastor of the Bethel Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida. McKissick returned to Bethel in 1995 to share leadership with his father, and has since succeeded him as the sole Senior Pastor of the church. Under our Bishop’s leadership, Bethel has become known as The Bethel Experience; a worship known for his vibrancy, energy and diversity. His teaching has resulted in a church that has transitioned into a church where generations worship. Bishop McKissick is a powerful messenger of God who has been afforded many national platforms for proclamation,among them being the morning preacher at the prestigious Hampton University Ministers and Musicians Conference as well as the featured conference preacher in the evening; the conference preacher at the John Malcus Ellison Convocation at Virginia Union University (Now the John Ellison/Miles Jones Convocation) and being inducted into the Morehouse School of Religion Board of Preachers. Bishop has also served as a professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in the capacity of doctoral mentor, where students have been selected to sit in a learning cohort, sitting under his academic mentorship as they work towards their earned Doctor of Ministry degree. In the United program, McKissick has graduated five doctoral classes.
The musical blessing and vision of Bishop McKissick, Jr., has resulted in the production of five CD’s by the Word and Worship Mass Choir of the Bethel Church. All five CDs have received national critical acclaim, with the project entitled, “The Right Place” debuting at No.5 on the Billboard charts, and The Recovery debuting at No.2.
Bishop McKissick is also the author of several books as well as an accomplished musician with several national, critically acclaimed music projects.
Bishop McKissick, Jr. also serves on various boards, which include being a board member of the National Action Network, founded by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Bishop is best described as an overcomer and a testimony to God’s healing power. He was told by doctors he would never sing again after undergoing a twelve hour spinal fusion that affected his vocal chords. He is also a cancer survivor.
Bishop McKissick, Jr. holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Jacksonville University with a double major in the field of music: one in Opera and the other in Sacred Church Music, with a minor in pipe organ performance. He holds the Master of Divinity Degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Religion at Virginia Union University, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary. Bishop McKissick has been awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from both Bethune Cookman University as well as Virginia Union University. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., as well as Sigma Pi Phi Boule (pronounced BOO-LAY).
He is married to the former Kimberly Joy Nichols and they are the proud parents of three beautiful children; Jocelyn, Janai (pronounced JANAY) and Joshua.
After 17 successful years as a Mary Kay Sales Director, Pastor Kimberly redirected her focus to full time ministry. She is a Personal Development Coach under LADYKIMSPEAKS and Executive Pastor at The Bethel Church where her husband, Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr., is the pastor. Pastor Kim mentors Pastor’s Wives under 40 and offers one on one coaching sessions to persons who need prayer, spiritual guidance and life strategies.
Pastor Kim is the author of two books. The Joy Spot shares successful tools to handling the hiccups God’s way and continue to exude a joy posture. The Entrepreneur’s Bag shares a personal testimony with helps for business success
Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Pastor Kim received a B.A. degree from Virginia Union University, where she met and married her husband 28 years ago. Together they have three gifted children: Jocelyn, 26, Janai, 23 and Joshua, 22. She´s a 2020 graduate of the School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Master of Divinity degree.
At The Bethel Church she leads the Women Of Purpose Ladies Ministry and the Covenant Keepers Marriage Ministry alongside her husband. In the community she’s affiliated with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Virginia Union University Alumni Association. Pastor Kim’s life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to thine own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Her mantra is “act successful and you will be a success.”
Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Sr., is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Mindful Meditation Ministries, Inc., in Jacksonville, Florida. This ministry teaches applicable tools, practices and biblical principles, to gain greater clarity, deeper connections and understanding, while creating a stronger prayer practice that renews spirit, mind, and faith journey. This ministry conducts Silent Retreat Experiences for Pastors and Lay Persons for a spiritually, mentally and physically restorative experience.
Bishop McKissick, Sr. serves as Pastor Emeritus of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida. On January 31, 2014, Bishop McKissick, Sr., retired after 48 years as the Senior Pastor. However, he now serves as Pastoral Counselor and serves at his leisure.
Bishop McKissick, Sr., is the longest serving Pastor in the church’s history. He was raised from a child in Bethel, served in the Choir, Male Chorus Choir Director, Assistant Church Clerk, Church School Teacher, Assistant Deacon and Deacon, before the Lord called him to Pastor his beloved Bethel. He believes the measure of his success in ministry is accredited to his love for people and his hands-on ministry style. His longevity in ministry is attributed not to anything he’s accomplished, but to those he has served and continues to serve.
During Bishop McKissick, Sr.’s tenure as pastor, an Educational Building was erected which now bears the name of “Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr.” A city block of property was also purchased which currently houses the Main Sanctuary and Family Life Center. The Jacksonville City Council recognized his many noteworthy accomplishments and renamed a portion of Hogan Street as Rudolph McKissick, Sr. Boulevard in his honor.
A passionate scholar and lifelong learner, Bishop McKissick, Sr. earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Edward Waters College and received Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Bethune Cookman University and Edward Waters College. He has also received advanced training at Tuskegee Institute, the Music Institute of Columbia University, Princeton University and Luther Rice Seminary.
Throughout the years, he has served in a variety of civic capacities some of which are the first Board of Trustees at the University of North Florida, the Jacksonville Urban League, and served on the Board of Trustees of Edward Waters College for thirty years. He also served on the Board of the Duval Medical Center, National Council of Christians and Jews and The YMCA James Weldon Johnson Branch. He is the former president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Jacksonville, and Former President of the Pastor’s Conference of the National Baptist Convention and founder of the Christian Mission Center which later became the Help Center where persons could seek counseling and housing assistance for drug/alcoholic addiction. Bishop McKissick, Sr., was also the recipient of the Bernard V. Gregory Servant Leader Award presented by Volunteer Jacksonville in 2003. He is the organizer of the Jacksonville Coalition of African American Pastors and holds membership in a number of organizations including Life Membership in the NAACP, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Bishop McKissick, Sr., also served as Bishop of Marriage and Family in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. In February 2014 he was the Mayor’s Trailblazer Honoree recipient for the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bishop McKissick, Sr. has traveled to South Africa with Fresh Ministries, Inc., participated in a tour of Turkey as a guest of the Amity Turkish Cultural Center and joined by other diverse members of the clergy, visiting historic cities and sites. He has conducted revivals in Panama, and toured the Holy Land twice.
Bishop McKissick, Sr. has impacted the lives of many as a positive role model all across this nation. His spirituality and sincerity are evidenced in his work as Pastor for 48 years and in serving the community. God has used his leadership as an instrument in the calling of more than fifty young men and women to the ministry which proudly includes his own son, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr., who now serves as the Senior Pastor of Bethel.
In addition to the more than 40 ministries initiated by Bishop McKissick, Sr., he and his wife, Estelle established the (BEST) Bethel Enhancing Students Totally Saturday Academy, Inc., which is in its 25th year of existence and has earned a stellar reputation across the city of Jacksonville. Along with this program, he was instrumental in Bethel’s approval as a summer school site for Duval County’s most academically challenged students. He and his wife established a viable Marriage Ministry which has been in existence for over thirty-five years.
Bishop McKissick, Sr., sees his greatest accomplishment after 48 years of Pastoring, is the people – not the buildings. “It is a blessing to see those you’ve mentored play integral parts in ministry at the church and across the nation,” Being a people’s person, you learn how to treat people, love people and care for people, and that gives you a Shepherd’s heart.” His perpetual journey has crafted a lifetime filled with respect and adoration across the nation, as well as, unimaginable blessings and irreplaceable experiences. He is comfortable in his salvation and confident in a risen Savior, absolute, with no equivocations.
On January 31, 2014 Bishop McKissick, Sr. was elevated to a special status and received an honor not many Pastors experience, in that of “Pastor Emeritus.” His obedient spirit and total reliance on the Holy Spirit have afforded him the opportunity to continue to preach, teach and minister the Word of God for over 50 years which is a testament to serve as long as God grants life.
Bishop McKissick, Sr. is married to the former Estelle Teresa Lee Williams, a noted retired school administrator, for 57 years. He is the father of one son, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr. (Kimberly) and the grandfather of three: Jocelyn, Janai and Joshua (The Trinity).