Joseph C. Parker, Jr., Esq., D. Min., a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is the Senior Pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, having completed his 25th year. He has been described as “called by God, shaped by experience, a man of action, and a Renaissance man.”
Prior to being called as Pastor in September 1992, starting in 1982, he served as a minister at David Chapel and from 1984 – 1992 as Associate Pastor for Christian Education. Since 1983, he has been licensed to practice law in the Texas and federal courts, and practiced as a trial attorney and mediator.
From 1976-79, prior to attending law school, he was a management/budget analyst and an assistant to an Assistant City Manager in the Dallas, Texas City Manager Office, where he also managed the 1979 Summer Youth Employment Program. After graduating from law school, he served as a prosecutor and Chief of Criminal Litigation in the Travis County Attorney Office (1983-1986); civil litigator, director and vice president with the Austin, Texas law firm of Long, Burner, Parks & Sealy, P.C. (1986-92); Chief of Litigation for the State Bar of Texas (1992-1994); and was elected the first African American president of the Austin Bar Association for 1996-97. Consequently, in recognizing his “blazing the trail for minority lawyers who followed in his footsteps, as he also spent his life and work championing the equal, ethical, and fair treatment of all people, and raising awareness of the need to diversify our community,” the Austin Bar Association named the “Joseph C. Parker, Jr. Diversity Award” in his honor. The State Bar of Texas has also honored him as a “Trail Blazer” and he has recently been selected by the Austin Bar Association to receive the 2018 “Distinguished Lawyer of the Year” award.
He resigned his position with the State Bar of Texas to devote more time to his pastorate. He is a Master of the Court Emeritus in the American Inns of Court and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas School of Law; his framed photograph, biography and autograph are on permanent display in a law school classroom as a part of the Distinguished Minority Alumni Portrait Collection.
He has taught preaching at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary and Advanced Civil Litigation in Trial Advocacy at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He has served on several committees of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and served on its Executive Board. He currently serves on the Baptist Standard newsmagazine board and serves as the Chairman of the Ministers Conference of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America.
He has written articles for the Baptist Standard, on-line Smyth & Helwys Uniform Series Bible Study and Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics journal, The Truett Pulpit sermon preparation aid, and editorials for the Austin American Statesman newspaper. His first book, Holy Change: A Systemic Approach to Transforming A Community, was published in 2008.
Beginning in 1997 he led the development and implementation of the Chestnut Neighborhood Plan approved by the City of Austin, which focused on revitalizing the Chestnut neighborhood in which David Chapel’s worship facilities are located. In 1998 he chaired the first Citizens Bond Advisory Committee for the City of Austin.
KFIT Radio Station selected him as the “1998 Pastor of the Year.” He has also been inducted onto the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. He is a 1985 graduate of Leadership Austin and in 1999 was selected by his classmates as the outstanding graduate of that class. He is also the recipient of the Leadership Austin 2002 Polly Scallorn Community Trustee Award. Pastor Parker has been a board member of Safe Place (Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Survival Center) and the Austin Area Urban League, and served as a Community Advisor to the Austin Junior League. He is a Life Member of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association and the NAACP. He is also the founding president of the Texas Congregations United for Empowerment (TCUE) and a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (“The Boulé”).
In 2009, Pastor Parker was invited by Wake Forest University Divinity School to participate in an all-expense paid two-week pastoral pilgrimage to Israel. He received the 2011 Hope Award from the Interfaith Action of Central Texas. He also received the 2013 Heman Marion Sweatt Civil Rights Legacy Award, presented by the University of Texas at Austin. In 2016 the American Diabetes Association (Central Texas) selected and honored him as one of four “Fathers of the Year.”
He delivers a weekly sermon each Sunday evening on Channel 11 and has participated in many ministerial, community and legal organizations.
Pastor Parker graduated with a B.A. from Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia) and received his Masters in Public Administration at the University of Georgia in Athens. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas at Austin where he was selected as a member of the Order of Barristers (one of the top ten graduating students in trial advocacy). He received his Masters of Divinity (magna cum laude honors) from the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where he was the first African American graduate and has served as the first alumnus and African American chairman of the Board of Advisors. In 2004, he was selected as the first “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” of the Truett Seminary. He received his Doctorate of Ministry degree in Urban Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pastor Parker has been married to J. Laverne Morris-Parker since 1976. They have three daughters – Jessica L. Parker-Battle, Jennifer L. Parker, and Janetta L. Parker and two grandchildren – Jordan Lynette Battle and Jeremy D. Battle, Jr.