Bishop Joseph W. Walker III

The keynote speaker for Kentucky State University’s Fall Commencement Convocation later this week will be a Nashville-based church leader. 

Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, the senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, will deliver his address on Friday at 10 a.m. in the Carl H. Smith Auditorium of David H. Bradford Hall. 

Mt. Zion Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in Nashville and was first organized in 1866, according to its website. Walker became a pastor at the church in 1992 at the age of 24, with 175 members in the congregation at the time. Now, there are 30,000 members of the ministry and that continues to grow by 1,000 members a year. There are now three locations and a virtual church part of Mt. Zion.  

Walker is on the board of directors for Meharry Medical College and Citizens Savings Bank & Trust. In 2016, Walker became the chairman of the Board of Trustees for Tennessee State University and was re-elected to the position in 2019. 

The bishop is currently the International Presiding Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and has been in that role since 2013. He has authored 12 books and his latest book, “Restored at the Root,” is about dealing with life’s issues from a spiritual and practical perspective. He and his wife, who is known as the first lady of Mt. Zion, Dr. Stephaine Hale Walker, co-authored a book called “Becoming A Couple of Destiny.”

Walker is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Southern University; a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University; and a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also has two honorary doctorates from Meharry Medical College and Southern University. 

Walker often appears on the Rickey Smiley Radio Show and has been a guest on CNN, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton on MSNBC, CBS Morning News, CBN, the 700 Club, Sister Circle and The Roland Martin Show. He writes “Rest,” a monthly op-ed in the Tennessee Tribune. 

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