Contact Info Subscribe Links





The Passing of Wade Jernigan

by Gene R. Kissinger

To read more about the life of Wade Jernigan, read News About the Denomination.

INDIAN SCOUTS AND TRACKERS were the original crime scene investigators. It is said they could track anyone anywhere. We don’t need an Indian scout or CSI officer to track the life of Wade T. Jernigan He was a giant, a pioneer. He left tracks everywhere he went—large tracks so deep that pastors like me still walk in the trail he blazed.

Jernigan stepped into Jerome, Idaho, 42 years ago when the concept of home missions was relatively new to our denomination. He started, constructed, and pastored a thriving home mission church—no small feat in a state dominated by the LDS (Mormon) church. Decades later, a precious woman he won to the Lord still worships with the present congregation in the building he constructed.

When Dr. Jernigan preached a revival at our church, one of his most dynamic sermons was entitled, “Where Are the Elijah’s of God?” As he spoke, it was like listening to a living Elijah. Wade challenged the next generation to stand up, step out, and do great things for God. He definitely set a fast pace for us to follow.

During his lifetime, Wade conducted more than 800 revivals, pastored 14 churches, and served four churches as interim pastor. His pastorates included churches in Oklahoma (Spring Hill, Owl Creek, New Home-Berryhill, Norman First, Guymon, Way of the Cross, View of the Cross, Asher and Crossland), California (Modesto and Kerman), Jerome, Idaho and Cavanaugh, Arkansas. Throughout his ministry, Dr. Jernigan was involved in church planting, involvd in starting 25 churches.

However, during his 60-year-ministry, he was also involved in Bible conferences, mission services, youth camps, revivals, and many other special occasions when he was asked to preach. His ministry spanned North America—from North Carolina to Hawaii and Texas to Alaska. He also ministered in many Free Will Baptist churches in Old Mexico. And his work left a clear trail to follow.

The church in Jerome, Idaho provides an amazing example at what God has done through Dr. Jernigan. Sixteen years ago the church had dwindled to 8 people. Since that time, however scores and scores of people have been saved and baptized. We have given nearly 75,000 dollars to FWB International Missions, built a $120,000 children’s ministries building and remodeled the church building (all debt-free).  

And that is only one brief chapter in the life of one of the 25 churches started by Brother Wade. What an impact! Before he left Jerome, Dr. Jernigan planted a tree in the churchyard. Today it is large—spreading wide like his influence. And it is an evergreen, always growing, just like the results of his work for God. Maybe God had Bro. Wade in mind when he wrote “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

GENE KISSINGER has been the pastor of the Jerome FWB Church, Jerome, ID, since January 1991. Gene is the moderator of the Idaho State Association of Free Will Baptists.






©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists