Joe E. Pennel, Jr. was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from Lambuth University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
He served as pastor in local churches in Memphis and Nashville over a period of thirty years. Then, in 1996, Pennel was assigned Bishop of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church where he served for eight years.
Now retired, he continues to serve as a vibrant teacher, preacher, and member of the Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville as the Professor of Pastoral Leadership where he shares his experience and heart for ministry with a new generation of church leaders. Joe and his wife Janene reside in Franklin, Tennessee.