The name George Leile is not well known. Leile, as reported in Daniel Akin’s book, 10 Who Changed the World, was the first Baptist missionary who predates international Baptist missionaries William Carey and Adoniram Judson.
In 1773, Leile was saved at age 23. He preached for two years in the slave quarters of plantations surrounding Savannah, Ga., even making his way into South Carolina.
A black man and former slave, Leile left America to plant the gospel in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1782.
Once in Jamaica, Akin writes, “This cross-centered man set about the business of preaching Christ to a people in need of both spiritual and personal emancipation.”
The fruit of Leile’s labor consisted of his influence in the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, the eruption of nearly 20,000 Baptists in Jamaica, and thousands of lives saved through a single man’s obedience to the Lord.
In honor of Leile and his ministry, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has endowed the George Leile Directorship of Missions. This endowment accomplishes several objectives: (1) it honors the testimony of a nearly forgotten missionary by bestowing his name upon the directorship for one of the leading missionary training centers in the world; (2) it helps cover the costs of ensuring a competent and Christ-like director leading The Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) until Christ’s return; (3) the endowment forecasts to the world that Southeastern desires to become more like the Kingdom of Heaven – a multicultural and ethnically diverse institution here on earth.
Scott and Pam Reed and David and Susan Morrison, both of North Carolina, are underwriting this endowment.
The Reeds have been supporters of the CGCS since 2006, while the Morrisons began supporting Southeastern by helping a student directly. They then became contributors to the Southeastern Fund and recently became interested in ways to encourage faculty and staff in their work.
This endowed directorship is the first at Southeastern.
“Directors, in one way or another, are here to serve Christ by serving students, and they are a critical part of the ‘behind the scenes’ work of equipping students,” said Daniel Palmer, director of financial development. “We hope this new endowed level of ‘directorship’ at $500,000 will encourage more donors to consider how they might be a significant part in helping to ensure that there is competent and Christ-like leadership in place to prepare future champions for King Jesus regardless of any future economic headwinds we may face.
For more about endowed directorships, contact Daniel Palmer at [email protected] or call (919) 761-2352.