How the charismatic leader’s impact remains 20 years after his death

For a quarter century Jamie Buckingham was the conscience of the charismatic movement. Through his many books, speaking engagements and his monthly “Last Word” in Charisma for 13 years, he called things as he saw them. Now, two decades after his death, we reflect on the spiritual giant he was and his genius as a writer.

Jamie received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1967 at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s convention while researching for his first book, Run, Baby, Run, co-authored with Nicky Cruz. Jamie had been a Southern Baptist, but two devastating moral failures left him wounded, humbled and aware he needed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. He was always open about his own failures in his sermons, columns and books such as Risky Living, and that transparency drew people to him. 

Only Jamie could write about a “sock-eating demon” in his washing machine and make a spiritual point. Or tell how God had to essentially give the Israelites a laxative in the Sinai Desert to “get Egypt out of them.” He loved the Sinai and made several pilgrimages there. In 1979 I climbed Mount Sinai with him (he scaled it six times). It wasn’t only a wonderful experience; Jamie transferred to me his love for Israel, which I have to this day.

No big ministries were beyond having Jamie prick their pompous religious balloons. He was concerned with the extreme fundraising and big egos on Christian TV, which he warned was bound to collapse. And so it did with the PTL scandal of the 1980s, followed by Jimmy Swaggart’s scandal a couple of years later. When the church was reeling from those scandals, Jamie’s voice was a voice of reason—as shown in a powerful cover story he wrote for us after the PTL empire collapsed called “God Is Shaking His Church.” 

Jamie entered my life when I was in my late 20s, struggling to make a small church magazine succeed. While others helped, it was Jamie agreeing to write regular columns in Charisma that put us on the map in the early days. But more than that, he became my mentor, friend and in many ways our spiritual “covering” in the way that Jack Hayford is today.

For several years I’d drive 80 miles to Melbourne, Fla., once a month to have lunch with Jamie and spend hours dreaming, strategizing and problem-solving. He’d challenge me to think bigger and to believe God. He posed a question that he probably heard somewhere but that was nonetheless life-changing for me: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Jamie was excited about ministry and life. Aside from his own books, he wrote for and hob-nobbed with big names such as Kathryn Kuhlman, Pat Robertson, Dennis Bennett and David du Plessis, yet still befriended unknown people like me. He built a great church in Melbourne, traveled the world and was a prolific writer. He always said he wanted to live to be 100.

But at age 58 he collapsed while playing racquetball. At the hospital they found he had cancer of the kidney. After his kidney was removed, it seemed the cancer was gone, and during the process something wonderful happened, which he recounted in Summer of Miracles. And in one of his last columns, he wrote: “Having tasted from the sweet spring of intimacy with God, we will never again be satisfied with lapping from Earth’s polluted puddles.” Tragically, the cancer came back with a vengeance, and weeks before he turned 60, Jamie went to be with the Jesus he loved.

That was Feb. 17, 1992. Now, 20 years later, we honor him with a monthlong tribute on the website of the magazine he not only edited during the last few years of his life but was also instrumental in helping to start: Ministry Today. Every day we’ll have something new either from or about Jamie. You can write your own tribute or reflections about him and what his life meant to you by going online to

Few readers had the opportunity to know Jamie as I did. But you can still be influenced through his writing, which lives on. One such memorable line is in Shout It From the Housetops and challenges us all: “Attempt something so big that without God it is bound to fail.”


Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter @sstrang, friend him on Facebook or sign up to receive The Strang Report at

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was the first Hispanic pastor in history to pray at a presidential inauguration.

    At Trump Inauguration, Charismatic Leaders Pray Boldly in Jesus' Name. Is This Foreshadowing a New Day in America?

    It was an amazing day to let religious freedom ring in America.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what was going on!

    Jennifer LeClaire Releases Urgent Prophetic Warning Over Washington, D.C.

    When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Churches don't address this topic affecting women.

    The Secret Sorrow Women Carry

    This woman breaks the silence about a taboo subject to help restore many women.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit