Paige Patterson began preaching at age 14. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene in 1965 and earned both a master’s and doctorate in theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Throughout his ministry, Patterson has visited more than 60 countries in revival crusades, missionary assignments and study tours. He is an author with books, theological commentaries and numerous articles to his credit. He has extensive editorial experience and served as the managing editor of The Believer’s Study Bible.
Patterson, 60, is married to the former Dorothy Jean Kelley of Beaumont. The Pattersons have adult children: a son and daughter-in-law, Armour Paige and Rachel, and a daughter and son-in-law, Carmen Leigh and Mark Howell. They have two grandchildren, Abigail Leigh and Rebekah Elisabeth.
Before coming to Southeastern, the native Texan, served as president of The Criswell College and associate pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas for 17 years. Before going to Dallas, Patterson pastored Second Baptist Church in Abilene from 1963 to 1965 and Sardis Baptist Church in Rotan from 1962 to 1963. Patterson also served churches in Louisiana and Arkansas. Patterson’s commitment to the integrity of Texas Baptist polity is underscored by the contributions of his father, T.A. Patterson, who served Texas Baptists as the executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1961 to 1973.
Compelled by a burden to reach the East Coast and the world with the gospel, Patterson accepted the presidency at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992, leading the school to pioneer church planting programs both in the United States and abroad not previously attempted by a Southern Baptist seminary.
In February 1997, Patterson announced the forging of a partnership between Southeastern and the New Hampshire Baptist Association aimed at establishing 50 Southern Baptist churches in that northeastern state over the next 10 years. In concert with the International Mission Board, he led Southeastern to pioneer the first church planting program on foreign soil. The seminary’s classes of international church planting students are sent out on two-year assignments in mission service. Also among Patterson’s notable achievements during his Southeastern tenure include revitalizing enrollment figures from 700 students to 2,200 today.
In 1998 and again in 1999, Patterson was elected to the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention, sharing his hallmark fervor for missions and evangelism he instilled in Southeastern with the rest of the nation.