By Will Hall, Message Editor
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) —Wayne Jenkins passed away November 13, but the retired Louisiana Baptist evangelism director made a spiritual impact that will last through eternity.
Jenkins served as pastor with six Southern Baptist churches in Texas and Louisiana for 25 years before joining the Louisiana Baptist Convention staff as director of evangelism and church growth in 1990.
He brought with him a seven-year evangelism partnership with Brazilian Baptists and continued that international relationship another 28 years, until his retirement in January.
He was equally committed to soul-winning in Louisiana from 1990-2018, equipping numerous pastors and congregations for reaching the lost.
Most recently, he was a central figure in visualizing and implementing the statewide Harvest initiative which is underway to “pray for every home and share Christ with every person” in Louisiana.
HARVESTS AT HOME
Jenkins led the effort to enlist more than 900 of 1,650 Louisiana Baptist churches to join together across the state for Harvest prayer events and soul-winning activities, far-exceeding the goal of 700 participating congregations.
He helped lay the groundwork in 2015; planned and enlisted leaders and churches in 2016; set up statewide training and pilot projects in 2017; and, continued to foster the growth of the initiative until retiring this year.
Already, reports indicate a spiritual harvest is underway in different areas of the state.
In LaSalle Parish, as a result of Tomorrow’s Hope, an area-wide evangelistic campaign, 228 persons repented, 119 for salvation and 109 to restore their fellowship with Christ, and another 15 men and women made ministry or missions commitments.
Meanwhile, about 860 lives were changed during Hope4U2018 crusade events in Rapides and Grant Parishes, with 459 of those individuals repenting to follow Jesus and the 401 others repenting to return to Him.
State leaders believe this is the largest joint evangelistic effort by Louisiana Baptists in two decades.
Just prior to his retirement in January, Louisiana College established a center of evangelism and missions to honor him and his wife, Martha, for their lives of soul-winning service. It will serve to equip evangelists and missionaries to “be transformational leaders.”
Jenkins’ commitment to share the Gospel with the people of Brazil has had sustained success, netting about 9,000 new believers in Christ, combined, in just the last three years:
— In 2016, he led a team of about 97 members, mostly Louisiana Baptists, to share the Gospel through street evangelism, Vacation Bible School, health clinics, drama performances and other opportunities, resulting in 3,202 recorded salvation decisions. The names and contact information of these individuals were turned over to local churches for follow up home visits as part of the discipleship process.
— Last year, a team of 87 volunteers witnessed 2,568 persons repent and turn to Christ.
— This year, Jenkins and 129 others teamed up for evangelism and 3,212 Brazilians became children of God.
Jenkins made such a significant impact on the spiritual health and growth in Brazil that Baptist leaders in the country awarded him a special honor during his last evangelistic outreach in July.
As part of the celebration of 100 years of Baptist work in Minas Gerais, Jenkins received a medallion to mark his tireless Gospel efforts among Brazilians.
Moreover, Marcio Alexandre de Moraes Santos, executive director of the Minas Gerais State Baptist Convention, named Jenkins one of the “top 100 influential persons in the area of evangelism in Brazil.”
In all, about 100,000 Brazilians have repented for salvation during Jenkins’ many evangelistic outreach visits to the country, and his teams have built 68 chapels since 1984 when Jenkins led his first mission trip there with 10 volunteers.