Dr. Benji Kelley

Founding Pastor

Pastor Benji is from Sumter, South Carolina and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1994 with an Associate’s Degree in Religion and a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Interdisciplinary Studies.

He then studied at Duke University’s Divinity School where he received two Master’s Degrees in Divinity and The Theology and Practice of Christian Preaching. The Kelley family then traveled to Kentucky where Pastor Benji received his Doctoral Degree in Christian Leadership and Preaching from the prestigious Beeson Pastor Program at Asbury Theological Seminary. IIn 2002, Pastor Benji and his family returned to North Carolina and started NewHope Church where he faithfully served as Senior Pastor until September 2022.

The Dream of NewHope Church

We dream of a church that shines brightly as a beacon of faith, hope, and love in the Carolinas and beyond– a church that is made up of real people who actively lead others to a real Savior and meet real needs as they are compelled by a real God to do so.

We dream of a church full of people who have hearts for God and are so contagious with authentic Christian life that non-believing, dechurched, and unchurched people are drawn to experience Jesus for themselves– many for the first time!

We dream of a church where people know they are loved because they know how to share their needs with each other, they know how to pray for each other, they know how to support and encourage each other, and they know how to spur each other on to be all that God intends them to be.

We dream of a church where discipleship is taken seriously – where people deeply desire to grow in their knowledge and experience of Jesus. We long for a church where people grow spiritually because they put their faith into action, using the gifts and talents God has given as they intentionally seek to fulfill His calling upon their lives.

We dream of a church where spiritual gifts are discovered and deployed for God’s glory – a church where leaders lead, administrators administrate, teachers teach, and caregivers give care; a church where people with mercy gifts offer mercy and people with hospitality gifts make all feel welcome; a church where all the other spiritual gifts found in the Bible are effectively utilized as God calls people to use them.

We dream of a church where everything happens as a result of diligent prayer and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Where people humbly go wherever God leads for His glory, and for the benefit of needy and unbelieving people.

We dream of a church where young children are raised in a relevant children’s ministry so that the faith they come to know can enable them to grow to maturity in Christ – a church where their continued experience of Jesus Christ will carry them through the turmoil and challenges of adolescence and young adulthood because they have seen authentic Christianity lived out by the adults who surround them.

We dream of a church where people expect to encounter God in worship and wait with excited anticipation for the next opportunity to gather together.

We dream of a church that refuses to be ingrown or self-focused. A church that is respected by all because it breathes hope and life into this world as it meets needs and transforms lives. A church that is so caught up in what God is doing that it generously shares its resources with those in need, and with other works of God around the world.

We dream of NewHope Church.

Dr. Benji W. Kelley, Founding Pastor