50 Years of Missions

The International Missions Board recognizes HSU President Emeritus, Dr. Jesse Fletcher for founding the Journeyman Program.


The week of June 4, 2015, Hardin-Simmons President Emeritus Dr. Jesse Fletcher, traveled to Richmond, Virginia for a unique kind of reunion.  This year marks the 50th reunion of the Missionary Journeyman Program through the then Foreign Missions Board (FMB), which Fletcher founded in 1965. 

Fletcher’s inspiration for the program was modeled after a shorter version of the Peace Corps and allowed recent college graduates in the Baptist community to get involved in missions.  

In June of 1965, the FMB commissioned 46 of the first journeyman to serve as missionaries abroad for two years.  Of those original 46 journeymen, 31 were in attendance for the reunion and two were Hardin-Simmons alumni.

The program has since commissioned almost 6,000 journeymen who have served in 165 different countries around the world in the last 50 years.

“Having the opportunity of starting the Journeyman program from the perspective of 50 years later has been extremely gratifying,” said Fletcher. “Later, becoming president at HSU and seeing a line of our students take their place in the Journeyman ranks has been very exciting.”

During the reunion International Missions Board President Dr. David Platt, presented both Fletcher and Louis Cobbs, the first director of the program, with statues of Christ washing Peter’s feet in appreciation for their role in starting the program and for its continued success.  

Currently there are 229 journeymen in the field and there are six waiting for their orientation to start later this year. 

Fletcher answered the Lord’s call on his life to start a program that would bring countless lives to Christ and allow so many young people to experience the Lord through their missions. Now, 50 years later he has been able to see the journeyman in their unique roles in Baptist missions around the world continue into the second half of this century.


For more information on the Journeyman program visit http://www.imb.org/.


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