Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr., is Senior Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Bethel is a vibrant Spirit-filled body of believers whose membership exceeds 14,000. 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. Bethel is the oldest existing Baptist church in the state of Florida, and yet remains a thriving, vibrant and growing congregation.
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.
In addition to his musical talents, first and foremost, Bishop McKissick is a powerful messenger of God who has established himself nationally as an outstanding preacher, teacher, theologian and academician. His preaching prowess has afforded him many national platforms and accolades, among them being the morning preacher at the prestigious Hampton Ministers and Musicians Conference, 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. McKissick 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.
Bishop McKissick is the author of several books. His second book “God’s Got My Back: Insights I learned From Spinal Surgery”, journeys through the medical miracle that resulted after Bishop McKissick, Jr. endured a twelve hour spinal surgery, which resulted in the paralysis of one of his vocal chords and being told as a result of that paralysis that he would never be able to preach or sing again. In July of 2010, “God’s Got My Back” reached number one on the Independent Publishers Book chart.
Bishop McKissick throughout the years has been the recipient of many prestigious awards. Among them being Who’s Who In Music, Who’s Who In Religion, The Community Service Award from the Jacksonville Urban League and was selected as a national delegate for Far East relations in 1983 as senior in High school.
In June of 2008, he was consecrated and elevated into the high office of Bishop in the Lord’s church by Bishop Paul S. Morton. He now serves in the capacity and episcopal office of Vice International Presiding Bishop within the Global United Fellowship under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Neil C. Ellis. Bishop McKissick, Jr. also serves on various boards, which include being a board member of the National Action Network, founded by Rev. Al Sharpton and the Advisory Board of the College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance at Florida State University.
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 was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Bethune Cookman 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.