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Charles Roesel receives honorary doctorate from University of the Cumberlands


Dr. Jim Taylor, president of University of the Cumberlands, presents Roesel with his honorary doctoral degree.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Charles Roesel, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Fla., was presented with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from University of the Cumberlands on November 26. The ceremony took place during Joint Convocation in the O. Wayne Rollins Center.

Roesel, who has a television ministry that potentially reaches over four million homes each week, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stetson University in Deland, Fla., and in 1961, he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. After graduating from the seminary, he served Coronado Baptist Church of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., for five years, leaving there to serve at the Zephyrhills, Fla., First Baptist Church for over ten years. Under his leadership, the church was in the top 1% of the nation in growth for ten years.


Roesel speaks to Cumberlands’ campus community during the convocation ceremony.

The Lord then led him to Leesburg, Fla., where he served the First Baptist Church for almost 30 years. While serving there, the church was in the top 1% of the nation in evangelism and mission giving, baptizing over 7,000. He is now pastor emeritus, and the church has built the Charles Roesel Ministry Evangelism Training Center to equip many churches and leaders in ministry evangelism.

The church now has over 50 separate ministries, a few of these being a Men’s Rescue Mission, Women’s Care Center, Children’s Shelter, Benevolence Center, Furniture Barn, Food Pantry, Teen Shelter, Pregnancy Care Center, Medical Center, Counseling Center, Rape Crisis Center and an Aides Clinic. First Baptist Church Leesburg is considered the model for the nation in ministry-based evangelism.

Roesel was the recipient of the Southern Baptist Distinguished Service Award for the year 2000. He is coauthor of the book, “Meeting Needs, Sharing Christ,” which is part of the Life Series of the Discipleship Program. In l994, he was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and served eight years.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 118th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, graduate degrees and certifications in education as well as online programs.