Jenkins set to retire after nearly three decades at St. Paul’s

Pastor Donald Jenkins

Jenkins set to retire after nearly three decades at St. Paul’s
June 24
05:47 2022

Pastor Donald Jenkins has led the congregation at St. Paul United Methodist Church for 29 years.  On Sunday June 26, Jenkins will deliver his final sermon and retire from the ministry he has dedicated so much of his life to.

According to Jenkins, the reason for his retirement was his age as there is mandatory retirement for pastors in the Methodist Church.  He arrived at St. Paul in July of 1993 and will leave with fond memories and a legacy that no one will soon forget.

The calling to the ministry was something that came to Jenkins later on in his life.  He had other interest as a young adult but eventually he answered the call.

“I wanted to be several things,” said Jenkins.  “Early on I wanted to be a teacher first, then I wanted to be in business.  So, I was in school for business then I came out of school and went into marketing and sales, then there was this pull on me by God and it was internal that there was something else that I was supposed to do.  I was about 25 at the time, so this was not on my to do list, this was what I was called to do.”

After answering the call to ministry, Jenkins soon prepared himself to become a pastor by going to school and achieving the necessary credentials.  Jenkins says he attempted to fight the call to the ministry by just heavily involving himself in the church, however, he eventually gave in.

“I resisted it for about two years and thought that I could be a member of a church and be very active by being a super saint in the church by doing all of those things but that didn’t work,” he said.  “I was doing well in marketing and sales, whereas it didn’t fall off completely, the kind of successes that I was having didn’t continue.

“And then it was just being uneasy with yourself, that you need to be doing something else.  I talked to some members of the church and they knew what was going on, so they helped me clarify and I got the courage to do what I was supposed to do.”

Jenkins says he had some moments where he second guessed his decision to become a pastor.  He said those feelings didn’t last very long and soon became settled in his spirit.  

Upon arriving at St. Paul, Jenkins was hoping that it would be a good partnership between himself and the congregation.  He did not envision himself being with the church for nearly 30 years.

“I was hoping that this would work out and the fit with the congregation and me would be a good fit and that I would be able to be long term,” Jenkins said about his feelings when he arrived at St. Paul.  “I had not anticipated staying only four or five years and if it fit, I was looking for long term.

Jenkins has seen several generations of families grow up in the church during his tenure.  Seeing so many of the members of the church mature and then have families of their own is a blessing for Jenkins.

“I think that that’s part of the joy of long-term ministry; is that you get to see those things,” Jenkins said about being at a church for a long period.  “I think in addition to that, you get to see people’s lives changed.

“I think the thing I hear a lot that I think shows that I have done what I believe I am supposed to and that is they say ‘we know more about the Bible, we know more about God, we know more about the faith than we had before.  That you are a teacher and you have taught us in sermons and in Sunday school and Bible studies and we know more.’ That is for me the highest compliment and makes me feel like I have done what I have been called to do.”

Throughout his time in Winston-Salem, Jenkins has become one of the most respected pastors in the Triad area.  His willingness to help those in the congregation and assist other pastors in their time of need is something he is very proud of.

“I have sought to carry myself in such a way that you won’t hear any mess about me in the community,” he said about how important his reputation is to him.  “I have not been as active with some of the ministerial groups, although whenever they needed me, I was there, or whenever they needed St. Paul it was offered, and we never charge people to come and use our church.

“I take pride in the fact that my congregation knows and I hope the community knows that I have tried to live with integrity and you won’t hear mess about me; messing with the people, messing with the money, poor character or things like that.”

There are many things that Jenkins will miss about the church, he said.  He is trying to prepare himself emotionally for his final Sunday.

“The people,” Jenkins responded when asked what he will miss most from the church.  “I have served as their shepherd and I have been involved in their lives for 29 years.  I like being called Pastor Jenkins because that’s who I am.  I have served as their shepherd and I will miss it.”

Jenkins does not have any immediate plans on what he will do after retirement.  He says he will take a few months off to relax and get settled in his new home.  He and his family will stay in Winston-Salem, however because he has “loved every minute” of his time in the city.

Jenkins says it will be tough to take the pulpit for his final service.  He says he will have people close to him praying for him during the service to help him keep his composure.  

“I will prepare for it the best I can, and I hope nothing happens that I wasn’t expecting like letting the emotions flow out,” he said.  “After all of these years, I have cared for the congregation.  

“I have been with them in hospitals, I have been with them at funerals, I have been with them at weddings, I have been with them when they had marital issues and I have been with them during the fun times.  That’s 29 years of that kind of stuff and I have never let anything else take priority, other than my family.”


About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors