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wade burleson istoria ministries
wade & rachelle burleson

About Wade Burleson

Wade is a native Oklahoman, born on December 27, 1961, at Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City.  He is a writer, podcaster, and avocational historian. Wade started pastoring at age eighteen and served nearly forty years as a shepherd of people before stepping aside in January 2022 to work full-time writing, podcasting, and focusing on local and global Kingdom ministries for underprivileged people groups. Wade also made a decision on February 1, 2022, to run for United States Congress.


Wade Burleson’s family, both the maternal and paternal sides, resided in Oklahoma before statehood (1907) when Oklahoma was called Indian Territory by the United States government.

On Wade’s maternal side of the family (Cherry), he is the direct grandson (16x) of Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature. Wade’s great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Tinsley Cherry, immigrated to America from London, England, in 1832.   Charles T. Cherry served as the western missionary and book agent for the American Sunday School Union (ASSU), writing and distributing educational books for children along the Ohio and Mississippi basins, and shipping books from his ASSU bookstore in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Those serving with Charles T. Cherry on the Western ASSU Board of Directors in Cincinnati included Salmon P. Chase (Founder of Chase Bank), Thomas Brainard (the brother of Indian Missionary John Brainard), and Benjamin Seward (the brother to Vice-President William Henry Seward).

The Charles T. Cherry family eventually moved from Ohio to New York in the 1840s, then from New York to Tennessee prior to the Civil War, and finally settled in Sallisaw, Indian Territory, in the early 1890’s.  Wade’s grandfather, Frederick Tinsley Cherry (1912-1970), was an All-Big Eight tight end for the University of Oklahoma and scored the first touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in the newly dedicated Cotton Bowl in the 1929 rivalry game. Fred Cherry would later become a Christian evangelist.

Wade’s paternal ancestors, the Burlesons, originated in England and came to the Carolinas in the early 1700′s. Wade’s great-grandfather (7x), John Crawford Burleson (1729-1776) served under George Washington and died in the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. Wade’s ancestor, Rufus Columbus Burleson (1823-1901), was the President of Baylor University and Pastor of First Baptist Church (FBC), Houston. Rufus’ brother, General Edward Burleson (1798-1851), served as Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. Wade’s father, Paul Burleson, served as pastor of eight churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1950-2007, including the influential Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, from 1976-1982. Wade’s mother, Mary Burleson, is a retired Senior Editor for Random House.


Wade graduated from high school, class of 1980, in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Baylor University, where he met his future wife, Rachelle. Wade and Rachelle were married on August 6, 1983. They have four children: Charis Downey and her husband, Travis, who live in Allen, Texas (sons Henry and Samuel), Kade Burleson and his wife, Anne, who live in Oklahoma City (sons Levi, and James; and daughter Margot), Boe Burleson and his wife MacKenzie who live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Logan Burleson and his wife Nicole who live in Dallas, Texas.

Wade’s wife, Rachelle Burleson, DNP, APRN-CCNS, is the Chief Nursing Officer at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northwestern Oklahoma State University (2007), her Master of Science in Nursing from Oklahoma University (2010), and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (2014) from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wade and Rachelle met at Baylor University in 1981, where Wade was pursuing a degree in business, and Rachelle’s goal was to pursue a nursing degree. Wade moved to Oklahoma in the summer of 1982 to take a church staff position at First Baptist Church, Holdenville, Oklahoma. Wade and Rachelle were married on August 6, 1983.


Wade finished his bachelor’s degree at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, graduating with a major in finance and business administration. Wade served as pastor of Holdenville, FBC, from 1982 to 1987. Wade was called in 1987 to pastor the Sheridan Road Baptist Church (SRBC) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While at SRBC, he attended Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida, and served as a volunteer Tulsa Police Department Chaplain.

In 1992, Wade was called to be the Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid, where he served for thirty years. At the beginning of 2022, Wade retired as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid to focus on his non-profit educational and religious ministry called Istoria Ministries (est. 2012). Wade’s blog, according to Feedspot, is one of the top 10 Christian blogs in the nation. He and Rachelle have led travel tours and mission groups worldwide, including Israel, Russia, China, Turkey, Greece, Poland, and England.

Wade is now the President of Istoria Ministries, a 501-C3 non-profit ministry designed “to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ so that His Story becomes the center of all our stories.”  One of Istoria’s missions is to help people around the world to find their Kingdom story within the context of their respective cultures and histories. Wade is the author of several books, including the bestselling Happiness Doesn’t Just Happen. In addition, Wade has written many articles published in professional journals and periodicals. On the Istoria Ministry blog, Wade has written over 1400 articles on theology, history and current events. He is a member of the Surratt Society, a group of experts on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Wade enjoys playing golf and traveling, but his greatest loves are reading books on theology and history and writing.

Wade is an avocational historian. His understanding of history is woven throughout his teaching and writing ministry. Some of his most requested multi-media presentations on history include:

White Gold: Thomas Jefferson and the Great Salt Plains

A Transient Abode: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, and Boston Corbett

The Greatest Game Ever Played: Carlisle and Army and the Origins of the NFL

Red Earth Courage: The First Secret Mission of the Civil War.

Wade desires to be a life-long learner, believing that no person, regardless of their background, should ever grow static in their knowledge. The advent of the information age has made education in all fields–literature, science, theology, history, and the arts–available to all. Wade reads the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures, learning Hebrew from Dead Sea Scroll Scholar (and friend) Dr. David Darnell, and Greek from Spiros Zohdiates.


Wade served two terms as President of the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention. He has been a trustee of the International Mission Board and currently serves on several non-profit community foundations and boards in the state of Oklahoma. He was appointed by Governor Frank Keating to serve as a regent for the Northwest Oklahoma Board of Higher Education. He was honored by the United States Department of Justice for his work with victims’ families during the aftermath of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wade received the Distinguished Silver Star from the Tulsa Police Department for his involvement with a task force investigating crimes that involved the occult.

Wade was asked to serve as a consultant to NASA’s security office, the Broward County’s District Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office in Florida in their investigation and ultimate conviction of John Crutchley, the worst serial killer in Florida history. Through his involvement with various law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, the OSBI, and numerous local police and sheriff departments, Wade has ministered to people and law enforcement personnel throughout every major tragedy in Oklahoma since 1987 and has participated in relief work and ministry after national tragedies, including Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 in NYC.

Wade’s passion for reading has led him to become an antiquarian book collector. His favorite books of other centuries include Isaac Newton’s, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms; John Gill’s God’s Everlasting Love to His Elect; Edward Gibbon’s, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; and anything written by John Locke.




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