Dennis Jernigan’s ministry is about healing from all kinds of wounds and freedom from spiritual bondage.
Dennis Jernigan’s ministry is about healing from all kinds of wounds and freedom from spiritual bondage. He speaks, sings and writes from his own experience.
He will be in concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium with special guest Chuck King. Also performing during this night of worship will be a dance team of students from the International House of Prayer, Kansas City.
Jernigan was born in Sapulpa, Okla., and grew up on his family’s farm three miles from the small town of Boynton, Okla.
“I grew up learning to play piano by ear,” he said in a telephone interview. “I grew up in a church family.”
By the time he was 9 he was playing piano for worship times at the nearby First Baptist Church which had been pastored by his grandfather. His parents met in that church, and his father has led the singing there ever since Jernigan can remember.
Also from his earliest memories, Jernigan felt worthless, unloved and alone. He also believes that he was taken in by Satan’s lies.
“I struggled with homosexual issues in my college days at Oklahoma Baptist University,” he said. “I finally realized that this was not who God called me to be.”
His breakthrough came in 1981 when he attended a concert by a group called the Second Chapter of Acts in Norman, Okla. During a song called “Mansion Builder,” singer Annie Herring asked those in the audience to lift their burdens to the Lord. Jernigan said that he did, and felt the Lord speak to his heart.
“It was then that I lost the need to be accepted or loved by others because I realized Jesus would love me and accept me no matter what,” he said. “It was also at this same time that those sexually perverse thoughts and desires were changed.”
Jernigan said that he gets a lot of e-mails from people wondering how he got free, and does a lot of ministering to those who are struggling.“I consider my ministry a healing ministry,” he said. “God loves us regardless of our circumstances and failures.”
Jernigan said that he does a lot of his ministering in his living room rather than a church setting, noting that not all churches are welcoming to those dealing with certain issues.
“Part of my goal is to educate churches that you can help people more by creating a relationship with them rather than cutting them out,” he said. “You need to walk toward Christ with them. A big part of what I do is teaching churches to minister to today’s culture.”
While he feels that homosexual behavior falls short of God’s standards on human sexuality, he opposes any legislation that would criminalize this behavior between consenting adults, and stands strongly against violence toward anyone because of sexual orientation.
Page 2 of 2 - He has published more than 400 songs, though he considers himself a “song receiver” rather than a songwriter. Those songs include “We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory,” “Thank You,” “Great Is the Lord Almighty,” “Who Can Satisfy My Soul (There Is a Fountain),” “I Belong to Jesus,” “Nobody Fills My Heart Like Jesus” and “You Are My All in All.”
Jernigan’s latest album is “Here in Your Presence - Dennis Jernigan Live from San Antonio.”
“If I were to die right now I believe the ministry captured on this recording would live on for years,” he said.
Jernigan is also the author of several books, including “Giant Killer.”
“That’s pretty much my story,” he said. “I have my hand in a little bit of everything those days.”
Jernigan and his wife, Melinda, have been married 29 years and have nine children.
“No, none of them are adopted, and yes, we know what causes that,” he said. “I’ll probably bring Melinda with me to Pittsburg. I also want people who feel hopeless or wounded to come and leave feeling encouraged and hopeful.”
His guest on the program, Chuck King, has been music and creative arts director at Heritage United Methodist Church, Van Buren, Ark., for the past three years. Prior to that, he was musical and artistic activities director for the International Christian Embassy - Jerusalem for 13 years. He has led ICEJ concert tours in South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Philippines, Hong Kong and the United States.
King also served as minister of worship for King of Kings Assembly, one of Israel’s largest Christian congregations. He is a songwriter and singer, and his solo albums include “Psalms of Ascent,” “Highways to Zion” and “Water from the Rock.”
There will be no admission cost for the Tuesday concert, but a love offering will be accepted.