In August, 2019, James Wilder was named associational missions strategist for Pottawatomie-Lincoln Association. Wilder has been in ministry for 27 years, and the Tulsa native’s career path has been in youth ministry, education ministry, associate pastor and senior pastor.
He was called into ministry while a high school student at Falls Creek, graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) with a bachelor’s degree in religion, M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary, and D.Min. from B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. He’s also a North American Mission Board-commissioned civil air patrol chaplain.
“Over the years, several friends in the ministry suggested I go in this direction,” Wilder said. “They seemed to think my skill set and my calling would greatly serve the churches and pastors in that (associational) setting.
“Our job is to help meet any needs the churches have, for renewal and restoration, hiring staff, counsel for major transitions, pulpit supply and the occasional interim or transitional pastorate,” Wilder continued. “The majority of my time is spent in encouraging, counseling, supporting and challenging pastors and staff members in the association’s churches.”
Another aspect of his associational ministry is providing opportunities for pastors to develop partnerships in Oklahoma, across North America and around the world. The association informally known as Pott-Lincoln has an ongoing partnership with the Southeast Kansas Association, and in Mexico, Latvia, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Locally, Wilder is a member of the OBU Board of Trustees, the University Advancement Team, and the Alumni Board. “I think it will provide campus expansion and new schools in the college,” Wilder said about the gift last fall to OBU of the St. Gregory’s College property. “Most importantly, the property will continue to be used for Christian higher education.”
Wilder and his wife Deanna, friends since the seventh grade, began dating when they were at OBU. Today they have two nearly-grown sons.