By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA – Those who worked with Wayne Jenkins during his 27-year tenure with the Louisiana Baptist Convention all agree he will be missed, but they are excited to see what the Lord has planned in the days ahead following his Jan. 31 retirement as evangelism and church growth director.
“I am so thankful for Wayne Jenkins’ friendship and ministry across the years,” Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins told the Baptist Message. “He has been the premier director of evangelism for a long time. His own commitment personally to soul-winning and his ability to teach and inspire churches to be evangelistic has advanced the Lord’s work remarkably. I pray that Wayne and Martha will be blessed greatly as they enter a new era of service.”
Keith Manuel, who has assumed Jenkins’ role Feb. 1, echoed the thought.
“Wayne’s ministry has taken the message of Jesus from the bayous to the piney woods of Louisiana, as well as to the remotest parts of the Amazon and the largest cities of Brazil,” Manuel said. “His heart beats for men and women to hear the gospel, no matter the personal sacrifice he has to make to see the task to completion. Thousands of men and women have been equipped to share the Gospel and inspired to be on mission at home and abroad. I, along with many others, have been impacted and blessed by his faithful service to the Lord.”
Beau Colle, who previously served on staff with Jenkins at the Baptist Building in Alexandria, said the long-time evangelism and church growth director understands how Sunday school and sharing the Gospel go hand-in-hand to advance the kingdom.
“Wayne is totally committed to sharing Christ, anywhere and everywhere,” Colle said. “He understood when Sunday school is growing, the church is growing. His role as evangelism director he continued that same philosophy there, supportive of the Sunday school or any organization that needs to be involved in sharing the Good News.”
Jenkins currently is a member at Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville. His pastor, Philip Robertson, said he is thankful that such a committed soul winner is a part of his congregation.
“Just like scores of others, the Lord has used Brother Wayne to impact my life personally, and what a blessing he and Martha have been to our church family,” Robertson said. “Wayne and (his wife) Martha are the epitome of committed, faithful church members. In his suffering (from a bout with cancer), Brother Wayne’s legacy only grows stronger and reaches farther. What an example of faithfulness.”
Carlos Meza, who has participated in 18 of the 33 mission trips Jenkins has led to Brazil, said he has modeled true servant leadership on the field.
“His ability to foresee futuristic problems and the solutions to resolve them could only come from his strong relationship with Jesus,” said Meza, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Del Calvario, Shreveport. “His managerial knowledge of the mission field is second to none. Wayne was never too busy to listen to me personally and others. His contributions to the Brazilian Baptist missions far surpass the exceptions of many clerical and non-clerical Brazilians for generations to come.
“The works of Jenkins has established a consuming fire that cannot be quenched and will someday bring Latin America to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Meza continued. “I am proud to have served under one of Louisiana’s finest Christian leaders.”
Kyle Williams, another participant in a Jenkins-led mission trip to Brazil, considers him a family member and is looking forward to serving alongside him on future trips.
“Wayne has been such a huge influence on everyone that’s gone on these mission trips to Brazil,” said Williams, a member of First Baptist Church, Greenwood. “Most people don’t realize the sacrifices he’s made, the countless hours behind each trip and he’s done this year after year after year. Each mission is well prepared for and thought out in advance. Everyone loves Brother Wayne and his selfless dedication to the Great Commission. He’s an inspiration to us all and I pray I get to serve with him for many more years to come.”