Swanberg, Hemphill to highlight Classics lunch, session at Empower

February 2nd, 2021 / By: Rob Collingsworth | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

Swanberg, Hemphill to highlight Classics lunch, session at Empower

IRVING This month’s Empower Conference at the Irving Convention Center will kick off with a Classics luncheon at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 22 featuring Christian comedian Dennis Swanberg.

According to his website, Swanberg, a mainstay of Christian entertainment over the last three decades, served the local church in pastoral ministry for 23 years before starting his “ministry of encouragement” in 1995. He received an undergraduate degree from Baylor University and both an M.Div. and D.Min. from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth.

Following the lunch at 1 p.m. will be the Classics session, which will feature speakers Ken Hemphill, Jerry Chaddick and Ted Traylor.

Hemphill, who served as the president of Southwestern Seminary from 1994-2003 and national strategist for the SBC’s Empowering Kingdom Growth emphasis from 2003-11, is currently an administrator at North Greenville University. He was a candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2018.

Having spent time serving the local church and as an evangelist, Chaddick has pastored churches in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. He is currently the president of Spirit Truth Ministries and pastor of Mims Baptist Church in Conroe.

Traylor has been the pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola since 1990. He served on the Great Commission Resurgence task force and was the first vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000, in addition to being nominated for president of the SBC in 2010.

Music for the Classics session will be provided by the Southern gospel group Greater Vision.

The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have an effect on attendance at this year’s Empower Conference, although it is difficult to know how many people will choose to attend in-person vs. online.

According to a statement released by the SBTC, they are working with the Irving Convention Center to do everything possible to ensure the event is as safe as possible for all attendees.

Kenneth Priest, SBTC senior strategist for cooperative ministries, confirmed that attendees will be asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. The convention center has advised the SBTC that it has implemented safety protocols in compliance with local health authorities, including include reduced occupancy, required mask wearing in all areas except when individuals are eating or drinking, additional hand sanitation stations, signage and floor markers to aid in social distancing, and increased housekeeping in which the building will be sanitized multiple times daily.

Both the Classics luncheon and session are open for all age groups. Tickets for the luncheon are $15 each and can be purchased at