category: Campus News

Carson-Newman awards Pioneer Missions’ Akins with Ken Sparks Award  

Dr. Wade Akins, center, receives applause from those gathered during Carson-Newman University’s Alumni and Friends Dinner at Bellevue Baptist Church. Akins is this year’s recipient of the Ken Sparks Award for his service to spreading the Gospel. Congratulating Akins is Dr. Jonathan Akin, left, who serves as Carson-Newman's vice president for Church Relations and University President Charles A. Fowler, right.

Carson-Newman University presented Dr. Wade Akins with the Ken Sparks Award during its Alumni and Friends Dinner on Nov. 15 at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee. The event was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. 

Named for long-time Carson-Newman football coach Ken Sparks, the award recognizes pastors or lay people within the church who exemplify the traits of the legendary coach. 

“What an honor to present Dr. Akins with this year’s Ken Sparks Award,” said Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler. “It would be impossible to quantify the impact Dr. Akins has had for the Kingdom of God. His passion for sharing the good news of Christ has taken him across the globe and led to the establishment of thousands of churches. His commitment to spreading the Gospel and his demonstration as a servant-leader is one worth celebrating.” 

Akins serves with Pioneer Missions in Jackson, Tennessee. He preaches across America during mission conferences and revivals and teaches Pioneer Evangelism training worldwide. He previously served as a pastor, a missionary to Vietnam, a missionary and evangelist in Washington, D.C., and a trainer for church planters in 54 nations. His 26 years of service with the International Mission Board led him to share the Gospel in Vietnam and Brazil. 

Akins is also the author of three books: “Be a 24/7 Christian,” “Pioneer Evangelism” and “Sharing Your Faith with Muslims.” 

“Wade Akins is the best missionary and one of the greatest Christians I know,” said Dr. Steve Gaines, senior pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church. “He loves the Lord Jesus passionately and shares the Gospel everywhere he goes. He is a soul-winner and a disciple-maker. May God raise up more men of God like him.” 

Carson-Newman’s vice president for Church Relations Dr. Jonathan Akin said the opportunity to help recognize the honoree was special. 

“I am incredibly thankful to be able to present this year’s Ken Sparks Award to Wade Akins,” he said. “Wade is a man who shares God’s heart for the nations and models excellence in evangelism and discipleship.”    


Wade is married to Barbara Akins, who also serves with him in ministry. 

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