REMEMBERING DR. JAMES “JIMMY” BUSKIRK
Dr. James Buskirk, founding dean of Oral Roberts University School of Theology (1976-1984) and Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church, Tulsa (1984-2001), went to rest in his Lord’s arms Wednesday, September 9th , 2020 just days after his 87th birthday. Dr. Buskirk is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Nancy, his son Chris and wife, Cheryl Buskirk of Broken Arrow and daughter, Angela Postma and son-in-law, Bob Postma of Cypress, Texas. He cherished his 5 grandchildren: Courtney, David, and Jonathan Buskirk, and Danielle and Ben Postma. A Life Celebration service was scheduled for 11 AM, Tuesday, September 29th at First United Methodist Church, downtown Tulsa. The memorial message was offered by his dear friend, Dr. Mark Rutland, former President of Oral Roberts University. With thanks to host pastor, Rev. Jessica Moffitt, the service was livestreamed.. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts may be sent to the Jimmy Buskirk Scholarship Fund, Asbury Theological Seminary, 204 N Lexington Avenue, Wilmore, KY 40390.
Jimmy, born in a Methodist parsonage in Shannon, Mississippi, was called to ministry himself in 1951. He was appointed to a charge of 5 Methodist churches the next year at the young age of 18, where he met “my Nancy,” as his revival pianist. At the age of 25 he was diagnosed to be going blind with a usually fatal eye disease. Through both prayer and medicine, he recovered with 20/20 vision. His miraculous healing launched a creative burst of ministry with newborn passion. For 17 years he pastored growing churches in Mississippi and Georgia. Having received his bachelor and master degrees at Millsaps College and Candler School of Theology, he returned to Candler and earned his Doctorate of Sacred Theology in 1972. While completing his STD, he became the first professor of the Arthur J. Moore Chair of Evangelism at Candler, Emory University, training students in effective evangelism through an original program called Motivation For Ministry.
In 1976, with academic success and a healing testimony, he became the founding dean of the school of theology at Oral Roberts University. After achieving accreditation for the school in record time, growing a faculty of 21 professors and over 300 students, he returned to his first loves of evangelism and preaching at Tulsa First United Methodist Church in 1984. Under his leadership the church grew to a membership of 8600 and saw over 6200 come to Christ in his 16-year tenure, making it the sixth largest Methodist Church in the nation at that time. In retirement he taught evangelism at Asbury Theological School of Wilmore Kentucky and enjoyed supporting his son, Chris, in a new United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow called Abiding Harvest. He was equally proud of his daughter, Angela Buskirk Postma, a healthcare administrator in Houston. He was delighted to watch the maturing of his 5 grandchildren: Courtney, David, and Jonathan Buskirk, and Danielle and Ben Postma. He saved the best for last. And he awaits all who will enjoy eternity with him in the presence of his, and our, incomparable Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.