Wade Burleson is a pastor, writer and avocational historian. He is a native Oklahoman, born in 1961 in Oklahoma City, but he spent his growing up years in Texas. On the maternal side of his family, Wade is the direct grandson (16x) of Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature. Wade’s paternal ancestors, the Burlesons, also originated in England and came to the Carolinas in the early 1700’s. Wade’s great-grandfather (7x), John Crawford Burleson (1729-1776) served under George Washington and died in the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. Wade is a cousin to Rufus Columbus Burleson (1823-1901), former President of Baylor University and Pastor of FBC Houston, and to General Edward Burleson (1798-1851), former Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. Wade’s maternal grandfather, F.T.D. Cherry (1912-1970), was an All-American tight end for the University of Oklahoma and a long-time Christian evangelist. Wade’s father, Paul Burleson, served as pastor of eight churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1950-2007, including the influential Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from 1976-1982. Wade’s mother, Mary Burleson, is a retired Senior Editor for Random House. Wade is currently working with both his mother and father in writing a biography of their lives entitled Grace Is… Who In the Sam Hill Knows?
Wade graduated valedictorian from his high school class in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Baylor University where he met his future wife, Rachelle. Wade and Rachelle were married on August 6, 1983. They have four children: daughter Charis and her husband Travis Downey, who currently live in Oklahoma City where Travis is going through corporate training to become a manager for Sonic Corporation; son Kade and his wife, Anne, who also live in Oklahoma City where Kade is an accountant for Continental Petroleum and Anne cares for their baby boy, Levi Burleson; son Boe Burleson, who lives in Enid, Oklahoma and is the national broker for Paul Trucking; and son Logan who is a sophomore at Oklahoma University, majoring in television broadcasting and business. Rachelle Burleson, DNP, CNS, is the PCCU Nurse Manager at St. Mary’s Hospital in Enid. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, her Masters in Nursing from Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (2014) from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Wade and Rachelle have led travel tours and mission groups all over the world, including Israel, Russia, China, Turkey, Greece, Poland and England. Wade and Rachelle have co-authored a series on marriage and have taught others how to establish principles of grace in the home through teaching classes and marriage conferences for couples of all ages.
Wade served as pastor of Holdenville, FBC from 1982 to 1987. While at Holdenville he completed his Bachelors of Science at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, with a double major in Finance and Business Administration. Wade was called in 1987 to pastor the Sheridan Road Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While at SRBC he attended Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, from 1987 to 1992, he served as the Tulsa Police Department Chaplain. In 1992 Wade was called to be the Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid. Since Wade’s arrival at Emmanuel, the Sunday morning worship service has grown to four services, with Wade teaching live at all four. Wade’s messages can be heard on the radio in several states, and two of the four worship services at Emmanuel Enid are broadcast LIVE via the Internet and one service is broadcast on local television. Wade is a two-time recipient of the Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Wade’s teaching style is expositional, and he has preached through multiple books of the Bible, verse by verse, including Genesis, Psalms, Daniel, Ephesians, Romans, Galatians, and many more. He is currently in a three year exposition of the book of Hebrews. The video portion of the weekly teaching time during the fourth worship service at Emmanuel can be seen at Emmanuel Enid’s Vimeo Site or the audio of the message may be heard at Wade Burleson’s Sermons on I-Tunes
Wade has led Emmanuel Enid to be involved in missions locally and globally. In addition to supporting work among the poor in Enid through multiple ministries begun under Wade’s leadership, Emmanuel Enid has established mission work in Africa, India, Japan, Russia, Guatemala, and Poland. Emmanuel Enid has built schools, founded hospitals, dug water wells, and started churches around the world. In addition, Emmanuel Enid has targeted New York City and the Nigerians who live in the Bronx and work in Central Park for specific gospel ministry. In all, Emmanuel Enid has given millions of dollars and sent hundreds of people around the world ministering to people in need and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wade believes “The true greatness of any church in not how many it seats but how many it sends!” There are number of young people who have grown up at Emmanuel Enid who are now serving on the mission field or in pastoral ministry across the world. In addition to the vibrant teaching and mission ministries of Emmanuel Enid, several worship C.D.’s have been produced by the worship teams of Emmanuel Enid, including seven by the choir and orchestra and two by the REFUGE worship band. Wade thinks it is essential that ministry methodologies constantly adapt to reach a changing world for Jesus Christ, while simultaneously recognizing the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified never changes.
Wade is the President of Istoria Ministries, a 501-C3 non-profit ministry designed “to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ so that His Story becomes the center of all our stories.” He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Happiness Doesn’t Just Happen. In addition, Wade has written many articles that have been published in professional journals and periodicals. On his Istoria Ministry website, Wade has written over 1400 articles on theology, history and current events. He is a member of the Surratt Society, a group of experts on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Wade enjoys playing golf and traveling, but his greatest loves are reading books on theology and history and writing books himself . Wade has been a featured speaker at many conferences for evangelism and missions, history and theology, as well as at preaching conferences. His most requested multi-media presentations on history include (1). White Gold: Thomas Jefferson and the Great Salt Plains; (2). A Transient Abode: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, and Boston Corbett; (3). The Greatest Game Ever Played: Carlisle and Army and the Origins of the NFL; and (4). Red Earth Courage: The First Secret Mission of the Civil War. Wade’s desire is to be a life-long learner, believing that every person, regardless of their background, should never grow static in their knowledge. The advent of the information age has made education in all fields–literature, science, theology, history and the arts–available to all.
Wade has served two terms as President of the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention. He has been a trustee of the International Mission Board and currently serves on several non-profit community foundations and boards in the state of Oklahoma. He was appointed by Governor Frank Keating to serve as a regent for the Northwest Oklahoma Board of Higher Education. He was honored by the United States Department of Justice for his work with victim’s families during the aftermath of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wade received the Distinguished Silver Star from the Tulsa Police Department for his involvement with a task force investigating crimes that involved the occult. Wade was asked to serve as a consultant to NASA’s security office, the Broward County’s District Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office in Florida in their investigation and ultimate conviction of John Crutchley, the worst serial killer in Florida history. Through his involvement with various law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, the OSBI, and numerous local police and sheriff departments, Wade has ministered to people and law enforcement personnel throughout every major tragedy in Oklahoma since 1987 and has participated in relief work and ministry after national tragedies, including Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 in New York City.
Wade’s passion for reading has led him to become an antiquarian book collector. His favorite books of other centuries include Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms; John Gill’s God’s Everlasting Love to His Elect; and Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Wade’s favorite modern books include Laura Hildebrand’s Unbroken (the biography of Louis Zamperini), Paul Young’s Crossroads, and Eric Metaxes’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Other than reading, Wade enjoys time spent with friends and family. He learned from Paul Young, a dear friend and author of The Shack, a principle that guides his life: “There is no moment and no person more important than this moment and this person before whom I stand.” The philosophy of life and ministry of Wade Burleson is that of grace. It is his desire that anyone who has ever heard him speak, read his writings, or spent time with him personally, will better understand God’s immeasurable and unconditional grace. If you would like to contact Wade personally, you may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Contact page on this website (webmaster: Nick Zitlin)