Missionary Hero – John Herbert Walker, Jr.
A highly intelligent, yet soft-spoken individual, J. Herbert Walker, Jr. was one of the most memorable directors of World Missions. His calming presence and confidence in its employees made for an effective ministry, both at home and abroad.
A native of Cleveland, Tennessee, Herb’s father served as president of BTS and Lee College and as a general overseer. Saved as a 5-year-old in a Wednesday night prayer meeting at North Cleveland Church of God, he was destined for a life of effective ministry. As a young child, Herb had a vision where the Lord was standing on the shore of a lake, beckoning him to come to Him. He believed this experience was Christ calling him into fulltime service. Missionaries frequently stayed in his parent’s home. Herb had many conversations with J.H. Ingram (known as the Missionary Extraordinaire) and had seen photos of the African work from Pearl and Edmond Stark (pioneers of the work in Africa). He realized that the particular geographic location where God wants one to work may be anywhere.
The Walkers first served in Haiti in 1947-1952. Upon returning to the U.S., Herb enrolled in George Peabody College to pursue a master’s degree. Afterward, they returned to Haiti for 18 months, fulfilling his position as assistant overseer. Herb was appointed as assistant superintendent of Latin America in 1955 and the family moved to San Antonio, Texas. He later assumed responsibilities at Lee University in 1957 where he remained for the next 13 years. The Executive Committee assigned them to the position of superintendent of Europe and the Middle East in 1970.
Herb completed an A.A. degree at Lee University. At Vanderbilt University, he received a BA degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology; obtained an MA in sociology studies/concentrated economics; and achieved a BD degree with a major in Old Testament from the Vanderbilt School of Religion. Herb was awarded his PhD in Sociology from the University of Tennessee. He also spoke fluent French and Spanish.
Becoming director of World Missions in 1984, Herb gave 25 years to World Missions ministry with superb leadership. He also enjoyed a multitude of activities on the international level, as well as civic and community affairs, and other church responsibilities.
At the time of his passing in 1988 at the age of 60 years, Herb was serving as president of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. His love of world evangelization, his genuine concern for the entire missionary family, his earnest prayer life, and his devotion to God set him apart.
J. Herbert Walker said, “My whole goal is to witness for Christ and lift up His name!” His life definitely affirmed the fulfillment of that desire.