Pastor Kenneth R. Kemp is a native of Tucker, Arkansas. The son of Otis and Aristine McDonnell, he grew up in rural Arkansas and excelled in academics. After completing his junior year in high school he enrolled on the early admissions program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff where he continued to excel. Upon graduation with a 4.0 GPA in 1984, he was accepted into several medical schools and he finally decided to attend the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
In 1988, he graduated from the UAMS with honors in research and academics. Having accepted an ROTC scholarship in college and the Army Health Professions Scholarship while in medical school, Dr. Kemp was appointed a captain in the US Army upon graduation from medical school and he began his internship in internal medicine at Brook Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX.
He completed residency at BAMC in 1991 and was subsequently selected to be the Chief of Medical Residents from 1991 to 1992. After his year as Chief of Medical Residents, Dr. Kemp entered fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BAMC, which he completed in 1995. After serving three years as the Assistant Chief of the Pulmonary Service at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Dr. Kemp returned to BAMC in 1998 as a member of the teaching faculty in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship. In June of 2005, he was selected as the Program Director for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program at BAMC and later that same year, he was selected to be the Chairman of the Institutional Bioethics Committee. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Army Medical Corps in June 2006. He is currently certified in the areas of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Critical Care Medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Kemp retired from the Army in September 2009 after 21 years of active service and 25 years of total service in our nation’s military.
In addition to his life in medicine, Dr. Kemp has a strong faith in Christ and is an ordained Baptist minister. He was initially ordained as a deacon in 1990 and later accepted his call into the gospel ministry in 1991 at the Antioch Baptist Church under the late Pastor JJ Rector, Sr. He served as the interim Pastor of the True Vision Baptist Church in San Antonio from 1994 to 1995 and he was Assistant to the Pastor for Pastoral Care at the Lewis Chapel Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1995 to 1998. Upon his return to San Antonio in 1998, he resumed his duties as a member of the preaching ministry at Antioch under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. E. Thurman Walker. In 2004, he was selected to be Assistant Pastor at Antioch, under his friend and mentor, Pastor Walker. Dr. Kemp continued as Assistant Pastor at Antioch until September 27, 2009, when upon the recommendation of Pastor Walker and the overwhelming support of the members of Antioch, he was selected as Co-Pastor. One month later, on October 26, 2009, upon the demise of Dr. Walker and the move of the Holy Spirit, he assumed the responsibilities and position of Senior Pastor.
The Holy Spirit has continued to abide with the Antioch Church under the leadership of Pastor Kemp. He has preached the Word of God with power and passion and has sacrificially served the people of Antioch and the citizens of San Antonio. As a result, souls have been saved, saints have been encouraged, and citizens have been empowered.
Dr. Kemp is published in the areas of General Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Biomedical Ethics. He also has interest in Education in general, and Christian Education in particular. He is the lead editor of Lessons for Life: A Devotional for the Disciple, a collection of church school lessons written by the church school curriculum team of Antioch, which was published in February 2014. He is also the author of several books, A Servant’s Heart: Tips for the Associate Minister, which was published in April 2014 and in 2018 he published A Cry during Crisis.
He is a member of the Baptist Ministers Union of San Antonio and Vicinity, the Community of Churches for Social Action, the Guadalupe District Association, the San Antonio Baptist Association, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He has served as a member of the board of the Black Business Expo and the Antioch Community Transformation Network. He served on the Accountability Committee for the San Antonio Eastside Reinvestment Initiative and he is a member of the Advisory Board of the St. Philip’s College Veterans Outreach and Transition Center. He is member of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of San Antonio and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Eastside Christian Action Group. In September 2014, he was installed as the National Director of the Health Awareness Team, National Baptist Convention of America Incorporated. In 2019, Dr. Kemp was one of the contributing authors tasked by NBCA, Inc. to publish “Grace During Grief”; A Toolkit to Help Churches Develop an Effective Grief Ministry. In November 2014, he was honored by his Alma Mater as an inductee of the National Alumni Hall of Fame, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In 2020, during the global pandemic due to covid-19, Dr. Kemp was appointed by the Mayor of San Antonio to serve on the Mayor’s Health and Economic Taskforce. Pastor Kemp was awarded the 2021 MLK Commission Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.
Dr. Kemp married Velma L. Willoughby Kemp on August 3, 1985. They are the parents of two daughters: Rev. Jessica, an ordained minister and the current Reverend of Children Youth and Young Adults at Antioch, and Joelle, a pharmacist living in Humble, TX with her husband, Jacoby. The couple recently welcomed twin additions to the family and have made Pastor and Lady Kemp the proud grandparents of beautiful granddaughters Juniper and J'adore.
Velma Louise Willoughby Kemp, is the daughter of Rev. Jordan (deceased) and Mrs. Zenobia Willoughby, was born and raised in Arkansas as a daughter of the church. She developed a deep and abiding love for Christ as she regularly listened to her father proclaim the gospel as pastor of the Chapel Hill Baptist Church and the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arkansas. This provided the controlling foundation for the rest of her life.
After completing high school in England, Arkansas, Sister Kemp earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing in July 1985 from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. One month later, she married her high school sweetheart who was then a medical student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
In 1988, she joined the Antioch Baptist Church with her husband Pastor Kenneth Kemp and eldest daughter. Over the years, she has remained an integral component of the Antioch Church family. She is active in Antioch’s Church School, the Wednesday Word and Worship Service, the Minister’s & Deacon’s Wives Ministry, the Rites of Passage Program, the Marriage Ministry, the Sisterhood Ministry and the Women’s Choir.
Along with her busy schedule of service in her church, Sister Kemp is involved in numerous civic and educational initiatives. She is a member of the San Antonio chapter of the Links Incorporated, the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and serves on the San Antonio African American Area Fund. She also volunteers and supports programs that attend to those who have been affected by socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2012 God gave Sis Kemp the vision as the Founder and Chair of “Being a Christian Woman” Conference which is the first Citywide Women’s Conference held by Antioch. In 2019 we hosted the 4th biennial “Being a Christian Woman” Conference. This conference has provided inspiration to many. Sis Kemp also led the “Bibles in the Pews” initiative of the Antioch Ministers’ and Deacons’ Wives ministry that provided Bibles for our sanctuary and she has been integral in enhancing the library of the Antioch Christian Academy through partnership with the San Antonio chapter of the Links Incorporated. In 2016 Sis Kemp encouraged the MDWW to sponsor the Nursery located in the newly named Joe Ann Brown Annex. Also, in 2020 Sis Kemp was appointed on the Stark College & Seminary Board and will serve as the 2021 Board Secretary.
While Sister Kemp has numerous accomplishments, the one of which she is most proud is that of being mother to her two daughters, Rev. Jessica Kemp, M. Div. who serves as our Youth and Young Adult Minister and Dr. Joelle Kemp Clay, Pharm. D who is a pharmacist. Joelle and her husband Jacoby recently welcomed twin additions to the family and have made Pastor and Lady Kemp the proud grandparents of beautiful granddaughters Juniper and J'adore.
She enjoys gardening, shopping and caring for her family. Sister Kemp loves sharing her relationship with Christ through various speaking opportunities. Sis Kemp has been sharing moments with God via social media in what she refers to as her (#mugministry).
Antioch Baptist Church
1001 N. Walters Street San Antonio, TX 78202