Pastoral Staff

Pastor Ronald TottinghamRonald L. Tottingham, PhD, LitD

Dr. Tottingham was reared on a farm in southern Missouri. In August 1955 he received Jesus Christ as Saviour. At age 17 he enlisted in the US Marines serving 6 years. He served with 3rd Recon, an Infantry Regment and Military Police. His 25 month overseas service included combat in South Vietnam.

Returning home he married his highschool “love” in May 1967. They have three children, all in the ministry, and ten grandchildren as of 2011.

August 1968 he was baptized and surrendered to preach. Entering school he earned his Bachelor, Masters and PhD in counseling psychology. He also holds a ThD from Omega Theological Seminary, Seoul, Korea.

April 1974 he was led to establish Empire Baptist Temple, Sioux Falls, SD which he pastored 33 years. He also established Great Plains Baptist Divinity School and served as president 30 years. After 33 years of pastoring the Lord reassigned Dr. Tottingham to become a military Chaplain Endorser and direct the divinity school off-campus degree programs. Under his pastorate the Lord greatly used EBT to train preachers and establish churches worldwide.

October 1983 Dr. Tottingham was commissioned a second lieutenant with the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and in January 1984 was promoted to major as a chaplain. He served 8.5 years as Region Chaplain of the North Central Region. In January 2008 he was appointed and served 3.8 years as the national Deputy Chief of Chaplains and Dean of the eight Chaplain Region Staff Colleges. In December, 2011, he was reappointed Region Chaplain for the North Central Region. In 2007 he received a Lieutenant Colonel’s commission with the US Service Command as a chaplain. In January, 2008, he was assigned Interim Chief of Chaplains and promoted to Colonel. In July, 2009, he was assigned Chief of Chaplains and promoted to Brigadier General. His military decorations include the South Vietnam Gallantry Cross (Bronze Star equal) and other combat awards for his service in Vietnam. In 2007 he was medically retired with a 100% service connected combat related disability.

In 1963 Dr. Tottingham became a student of martial arts. In 1993 he was promoted to Grandmaster and 10˚black belt. He has appeared in two films, In Harms Way (John Wayne) and on an episode of The Lieutenant about the Marines with Robert Vaughn & Gary Lockwood. He has also served on several state and city committees.

Recognition of his ministry includes a Kentucky Colonel commission (Kentucky), Estimado Amigo title (New Mexico), and twice The Rev. Dr. Ron Tottingham Day (South Dakota). He was honored with Rev. Dr. Ron Tottingham Day by the Mayor of Sioux Falls, SD including the Key of Sioux Falls for his ministry on his 30th anniversary as EBT’s Pastor.

In 1991 Dr. Tottingham co-founded Baptist Chaplains of America, which in 2000 was reorganized with a name change to Unaffiliated Baptist Churches of America and a Chaplain Commission was established with Dr T as Endorser for the Commission. As of 2012 he oversees 31 chaplains.

Since his reassignment from pastor he has preached in several countries, in churches all across the U.S., visited many military bases, served as interim pastor and has traveled thousands of miles. Praise the Lord for the ongoing privilege of being used for the Lord.