Dr. Lela G. McConnell

KMBC has a great godly heritage. Many spiritual giants have helped shape the college and form it into what it is today. Had Miss Lela G. McConnell not heeded God’s call to come to the mountains of eastern Kentucky in the 1920’s, KMBC likely would not be here preparing men and women for ministry.

Miss McConnell attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. While there, she joined the Mountain Missionary Society, a group founded by Claude Mingledorff in 1915. The society was made up of students who had a desire to take the gospel to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. It was her earnest prayer that God would send missionaries to those mountain communities. God soon began to make it clear that He was calling her for that ministry. Upon graduating from Asbury in 1924, college president Henry Clay Morrison commissioned her as “the General of the Kentucky Mountains.”

Miss McConnell preached the gospel and the message holiness to the people of Breathitt County. It was not an easy calling, but it was what God had called her to do. Although satan fought her bitterly, souls were soon being saved and sanctified.

In the dedication to Miss McConnell’s book The Pauline Ministry in the Kentucky Mountains, published in 1942, Mrs. Henry Clay Morrison writes, “...Rev. Lela G. McConnell has done more for the spiritual uplift of Kentucky in her ministries to our mountain people, than all the churches in the states.”

Miss McConnell faced trials during her years of service, yet she never doubted God’s call. In the same book, she writes, “...It was God who called me: it was God who trained me in the school of faith, it was God who ordained that I should found the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association to help evangelize… the Kentucky Mountains.” Miss McConnell believed that God had promised to give her the Eastern Kentucky Mountains for the Lord, She claimed Joshua 17:18 as a God’s promise.

But the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”- Joshua 17:18

Miss McConnell continued to do God’s work in Breathitt County until her death in 1970. She wrote several books, and trained hundreds of men and women for the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


1. Lela G. McConnell. The Pauline Ministry in the Kentucky Mountains, 1942. Louisville: Pentecostal Publishing, 1942.

2. Matt Kinnell,  Lela G. McConnell, http://www.asbury.edu/offices/library/archives/biographies/lela-g-mcconnell (accessed February 8, 2014)