In a short 24 years, Jeffrey Jinkerson established a legacy to be admired. His friends knew him as a lightsaber-wielding, missions-minded master of Bible study who lived an entire lifetime for Christ in a mere 24 years before a car accident took his life on December 18, 2015.
Just days after his untimely death, Jeffrey’s friends took action and established a permanent scholarship in Jeffrey’s name at Freed-Hardeman University. Jeffrey graduated from FHU in 2014 with a degree in Missions and it seemed fitting to carry on his legacy with the Jeffrey Jinkerson Memorial Scholarship for students pursuing a Missions degree.
Establishing a permanent scholarship requires funding of $30,000 to begin awarding a scholarship to students. Jeffrey’s friends didn’t hesitate and began work immediately.
Small gifts began to come in slowly at first and by the end of 2016 the balance of Jeffrey’s scholarship was $2,080. By the end of 2017 it had grown to $20,440. It was a triumphant day on November 14, 2018 when Jeffrey’s scholarship reached the $30,000 mark to become fully endowed in under 3 years.
Jill McClurg, a friend of Jeffrey’s, stated “I’m not surprised that everyone was so willing to support his scholarship. Jeffrey had an impact on everyone he met, he was just that type of person.”
This impact was not accidental. Whether Jeffrey was organizing weekly devotionals at the Southern Oaks Assisted Living Facility, faithfully attending Missions Group meetings and on-campus devotionals, or in the library studying the Bible with anyone who would join him, Jeffrey lived an intentional life of service.
When asked to describe Jeffrey, he was described as:
Jeffrey was love. He was a shining light for Jesus. He was true friendship, a confidant, and someone who spoke truth with great love. He was everything I aspire to be
Jeffrey was pure in heart. Jeffrey was earnest. Everything Jeffrey did was sincere, and it was so endearing. He was just being Jeffrey, a young man full of the Spirit. A whole-hearted follower of Christ.
Jeffery was full of honesty and integrity. He was not afraid to tell you what he thought in the kindest way. He was always one of the people I knew I could depend on to help no matter what.
He was a man of great faith. I know very few people who are as confident and vocal about their faith as he was.
It is the life of this young man that is remembered and celebrated by the Jeffrey Jinkerson Scholarship. Jeffrey’s earthly life may have ended, but the impact he made will exist for a lifetime.
Getting this scholarship to the full endowment level was not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. When asked “What are your goals for the Jeffrery's scholarship?” those who knew Jeffrey responded:
The Jeffrey Jinkerson scholarship is important to me because it keeps the spirit of Jeffrey alive in what he valued most- winning souls to Christ. The scholarship is a way for people to understand who Jeffrey was and live life to its fullest extent just as Jeffrey strove to do.
Jeffrey’s death left a massive void. He did more to guide souls to Christ than I could ever hope to accomplish in a lifetime, and that loss left me feeling a sickening mix of waste and guilt. I hope that by helping young people receive evangelical training we can fill some of the void left by Jeffrey’s loss. More hands for the harvest, so to speak.
Although Jeffrey’s scholarship has reached the minimum level of $30,000, his friends are adamant this is only the beginning, not the end. The larger the scholarship grows the more students will be impacted and the more people will be exposed to the legacy of Jeffrey Jinkerson. Gifts can be directed to Jeffrey’s scholarship at any time by clicking here. Leaving a legacy that brings others closer to Christ is every Christian’s ultimate goal. Jeffrey achieved that goal, and those who knew him were better for it.