Tom Zempel with the Lord

Good-bye for now!

On Sunday morning, April 24, 2016, God in His kind but inscrutable providences ripped a sizable hole in my life and the lives of many whom I love best in this life. The Bookmans’ dear friend and ministry-life-time soul-mate, Tom Zempel, went charging off of this mortal coil.

Meet Tom Zempel

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Jim's picture

Colonial Baptist Church mourns the loss of a beloved pastor, counselor, husband and father, Tom Zempel.  Dr. Zempel went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ early Sunday morning, April 24, 2016.  We extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to his cherished wife Jane, their three children, Jonathan (wife Renee), Ben and Amy (husband Neil) and their six grandchildren. 

Tom served this church family faithfully and joyfully as a Pastor in our Care and Counseling Ministry. He invested in the lives of his Adult Bible Fellowship (Crossroads), helped lead the church as an Elder and served on the faculty of Shepherd's Theological Seminary. Tom was passionate about training our church family to love and care for each other and led an initiative to raise up a  team of lay counselors. Tom's legacy will continue.

Dr. Zempel came to Colonial in 2011. He received his M.Div. from Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis and earned his doctorate in Biblical Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary. Prior to coming here, Tom served as  senior pastor in Windsor Locks, Connecticut and was the Professor of Biblical Counseling and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis.

Tom left an indelible mark on the lives of hundreds of individuals and on this church family as a whole. He taught us to think carefully and biblically about how we counsel and help one another through times of grief and difficulty. He modeled a grace-filled compassion for the hurting. And he led us by his example of pursuing obedience to Christ with joy and passion. We're thankful to God for Tom's ministry and we're comforted with the knowledge that he is now enjoying the fellowship of His Savior face to face … great is his reward! 

Tom's funeral service is Saturday, April 30. There is a public reception beginning at 10:00AM. The funeral service will begin at 12:00PM. The service is in the Worship Center of Colonial Baptist Church, 6051 Tryon Road, Cary, NC  27518

Aaron Blumer's picture


My condolences to the family... I'm a bit stunned. Didn't know he was unwell.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jim's picture

Dr. Tom Zempel

9/24/1944 – 4/24/2016

Today is a hard day.  Yesterday the news came to ACBC that one of our members, Dr. Tom Zempel, died while jogging with his wife.  Tom was the husband of his dear wife Jane, and the father of Benjamin, Jonathan (wife Renee), and Amy (husband Neil).  He was a pastor at Colonial Baptist Church, a professor at Shepherd’s Seminary, and a long-serving Fellow at ACBC.

Over the years many in ACBC have come to know Tom as dearly cherished brother in Christ.  We have served with him, received his wisdom, been guests in his home, and seen the powerful fruit of his ministry counseling troubled people and supervising counselors in training.  His loss is as painful as it is surprising.

In honor of Tom we want to highlight this video [in link above] of Tom that we filmed last year.  It is characteristic of Tom’s love for people and devotion to Christ.

In these days we want to join in praying for the Zempel family, and the body of Christ at Colonial.  May they know the comfort and peace of Christ himself in these hard days of loss.