By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Wayne Jenkins, who retired Jan. 31 after 27 years as director of evangelism and church growth for Louisiana Baptists, was presented with a fitting honor during the final moments of the 2018 state Evangelism Conference at First Baptist Church, Pineville, Jan. 23 – the announcement that his alma mater, Louisiana College, has formed the “Dr. Wayne and Martha Jenkins Center for Evangelism and Missions.”
Fellow members of the evangelism and church growth team joined Jenkins and his wife, Martha, on stage, and a multitude of family members gathered in front of the podium to surprise him with news his alma mater, Louisiana College, had formed the Wayne and Martha Jenkins Center for Evangelism and Missions that will reside on campus.
“It was a shock they did this, especially how they could keep it a secret since this idea was first born in November,” Jenkins said. “This center has a great deal of potential to equip students and pastors and staff in the areas of evangelism and missions. I’m looking forward to getting things rolling.
“It’s more than just an honor to have the center named after my wife and me – it’s another phase of ministry,” he said. “What I wanted to do was finish and finish well. Having an opportunity to invest in younger college students and pastors is such a blessing.”
According to LC public relations director Norm Miller, the Wayne and Martha Jenkins Center for Evangelism and Missions will be a resource of information and inspiration for Louisiana College students and Louisiana Baptist churches interested in training and mobilizing for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home and abroad.
The center will sponsor events and activities directly related to evangelism and missions, including evangelism endeavors and mission trips undertaken by students and faculty, and will forge and enhance an ongoing partnership with the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism and missions initiatives.
LC President Rick Brewer said in his remarks that Keith Manuel, who was evangelism associate for Louisiana Baptists before assuming the role of evangelism and church growth director Feb. 1, first brought forth the idea of naming the center after Jenkins and his wife, Martha. Brewer would not rule out at some time in the future naming a scholarship in honor of the couple.
“This will be a place that will forever be to honor the legacy and the ministry of Wayne and Martha as we continue to be a sending place, a place of preparing and equipping this next generation of solid Christian leaders,” Brewer said. “The Lord laid it on my heart that I want us to name a center on our campus that will be in perpetuity a place for equipping evangelists and missionaries and those who will go out from here to be transformational leaders.”
Brewer also presented Jenkins with a plaque, which read:
“On the occasion of your retirement and years of faithful service to the Lord, the Evangelism & Church Growth Team, along with Louisiana Baptist churches and individuals, in partnership with Louisiana College establish the Dr. Wayne and Martha Jenkins Center for Evangelism and Missions on this the 23rd day of January, 2017.”
In his remarks, Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins reflected on Jenkins’ commitment to sharing Christ with the lost.
“And he’s not only done it himself, but he’s called his parishioners and his colleagues and the Louisiana Baptist Convention to do the number one task given to us our Lord and that’s to tell people about Jesus,” Hankins said. “We are better for it and the kingdom of God is larger for it. So on the occasion of Wayne’s retirement as director of evangelism for Louisiana Baptists, we thank God for the remarkable ministry of evangelism of Dr. Wayne Jenkins.”
Prior to the evangelism conference, Jenkins told the Baptist Message that in addition to his wife and himself, three of his four daughters, three of his sons-in-law and six of his grandchildren have all attended LC.
From the onset, Jenkins was an active member of the Baptist Student Union at the school. He served on the freshmen council, as an officer and as a participant in summer missions to Jamaica at the BSU.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better place for me to help shape and prepare me for the calling on my life,” Jenkins said. “I was an introvert when I went to LC and they brought me out of it. More importantly, I received much spiritual guidance from the BSU and my professors who taught me lessons that I have taken into my various roles of ministry. Also, I received a great deal of experience conducting youth-led revivals all over the state. I owe LC and the BSU a huge debt.”