James and Jean Greene
One of the things you’ll notice about James Greene is that he doesn’t do anything halfheartedly. No matter what he gets involved in, Jim will be at the front, leading the way. Something you might not notice, but that is essential to any work Jim does: what Jim commits to, Jean also commits to, wholeheartedly. This doesn’t mean she travels. But as the poet John Milton said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” And while they are waiting, they are keeping other details of life running smoothly, praying without ceasing, serving as a most trusted sounding board, and, in the case of Linking Partners, having a deep love for many people she has never met.
You can see the results of this partnership at James Greene & Associates, the agency he founded in 1960, as well as in his missionary work. Over the course of his lifetime, Jim has planted two churches, served as a university trustee, distributed Bibles around the world and developed a ministry to the Roma (gypsy) people in Serbia. And did all of this while faithfully serving at his own church, raising a family, and running a prosperous and growing business.
He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, where his family worked hard for what they had. By age 6, Jim had already gone to work, earning 25 cents for hauling bricks in a little red wagon at a construction site near his home.
His family moved from Alabama to North Little Rock, Arkansas, while Jim was in high school. After graduating, he joined the Air National Guard and served for four years. During that time, he also married his sweetheart, Jean. Over time, God blessed the couple with four children: LaJuana, Matthew, ReNata, and DeAwna.
Those four mouths to feed provided Jim with a lot of motivation. So he worked hard to become successful at selling insurance. But he sometimes wondered whether he should give it up to become a full-time missionary. Jim’s doubts were settled when a university president who served with Jim advised him that “God needed Christian businessmen as much as he needed Christian missionaries.”
That conversation helped Jim realize that God could use not only the profit his business provided but also his gift for administration.
“He feels like God has given him what he has. Not just money, but organizational prowess.” his son, Matthew, says. “A lot of people have good hearts, but not a lot of people have organizational prowess. He could be the one who makes things happen.”
And make things happen he did.
After helping to establish Indian Hills Baptist church in a subdivision of North Little Rock, Jim felt a calling to plant a Bible church in the area. The result was Grace Bible Church. He and Jerry Hill served as elders. Their commitment to developing the ministry laid the foundation for a friendship that has outlasted the church. Jerry describes Jim as a very devoted Christian. “He’s goal oriented. He’s driven. He makes things happen,” Jerry said. “If you want something to go, you put Jim Greene in it, and you’ll get it going.”
Jim also served many years with The Gideons, working in local, state, and international capacities. At one point, he oversaw five states in the organization, which encourages members to share their faith and distribute God’s word around the world.
A fellow Gideon says that Jim was instrumental in getting him involved. “Jim being the leader that he is, he wanted to get people involved. And I was one of the ones he tapped to get involved.
As a result, I went to New York City. I’ve been to Korea and Ireland and all of the states of Arkansas and Louisiana because of him. He influenced me in many ways.”
In recent years, Jim has turned his attention to the country of Serbia. He is working closely with church leaders there to help raise up godly men and women to reach the lost in Serbia, especially among the tribes of Roma (gypsy) people who live there. He’s transitioning the ministry to his family members, so they can carry on the work.
“Jim really had a vision and a heart for Serbia,” said his friend, Jerry Hill, who served alongside Jim on a number of mission trips. “He really felt he could start a movement that would move through Serbia.
Hugh White, who shares Jim’s passion for the country, says it’s hard to tell who received the greater blessing when Jim began doing mission work there — Jim or the people he served. “His energy and Passion have been an example and a blessing to many as Jim became involved in a lifelong calling to do mission work,” Hugh said.
Through his life, Jim has demonstrated the importance of being part of something bigger than himself. That’s an example worthy of following. He was recently given a prestigious award from Brotherhood Mutual Insurance. That example, one well worth following made him an easy choice for the Kingdom Builder Award because he’s lived a lifetime of ministry and of regarding others as more important than himself.