“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
As the early church increased in size, so did it’s needs. One great need was to organize the distribution of food to the poor. The apostles needed to focus on preaching so they chose others to administer the food program. Each person has a vital part to play in the life of the church (see 1 Corinthians 12). If you are in a position of leadership and find yourself overwhelmed by responsibilities, determine your God-given abilities and priorities and then find others to help. If you are not in leadership, you have gifts that can be used by God in various areas of the churches ministry. Offer these gifts in service to him.
Notice the requirements for the men who were to handle the food program : full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Pastors should not try, or be expected to try, to do everything. Instead, the work of the church should be spread out among its members.
What secondary issues hinder your ministry from fulfilling it’s mission? What principles here could help you free the church for a wider mission?
What’s needed today is leadership which helps people achieve what they are capable of, to establish a vision for the future, to encourage, to coach and to mentor, and to establish and maintain successful relationships.
The first step toward success in influencing people is establishing a good communication style.
Here are the first steps to successful communication
1. Make communication a top priority.
2. Be open to other people.
3. Creative a receptive environment for communication.
You absolutely must make time to communicate. Be open to other people – above, below, and beside. Once people do take the risk of telling you what they think, don’t punish them for their openness. Do nothing -absolutely nothing – to discourage them from taking the risk of communicating again. Communication is built on Trusting relationships.
Treat people like people. Motivation can never be forced. People have to want to do a good job. Dale Carnegie put it this way; “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get interested in you… People are not interested in you… They are interested in themselves – morning, noon, and after dinner.” There’s nothing more effective and rewarding than showing a genuine interest in other people.
Look at things from the other person’s point of view. Step outside yourself to discover what’s important to someone else.
Listen intently. Listen because you are genuinely interested. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone. Are you actively listening:
1. Do you ask questions and wait for an answer?
2. Do you respond quickly and directly to the questions that are asked?
3. Does the other person feel you are listening actively to him or her?
People everywhere love to be listened to and they almost always respond to others who listen to them. Listening is still the best way to learn. Nobody is more persuasive than a good listener.
Create a shared sense of purpose. Treat people like the individuals they are. But make each member responsible for the team results. Share the glory, accept the blame.
Take every opportunity to build confidence on the team. Be involved, stay involved. Be a mentor. Team players are the leaders of tomorrow.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Put yourself in the other person’s place. Treat trainees like colleagues, and don’t condescend, dictate, or berate. Encourage people. Truly respecting others is the bedrock of motivation.
Admit your own mistakes. Think twice before you criticize or assign blame. Criticize respectfully. Above all, be constructive.
Set goals that are clear, challenging, and obtainable
Leaders never lose their focus. They keep their eyes on the Big Picture.
Consistently high performance comes from a balance between work and leisure.
Your thoughts make you what you are. Gain strength from the positive and don’t be zapped by the negative.
“Those who do not know how to fight worry die young.” (Dr. Alexis Carrel)
For every ailment under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none
If there be one, try to find it,
If there be none, never mind it.
Put a stop-loss order on your worries, keep things in perspective. Get busy. Ask yourself. What’s the worst that possibly can happen? Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst, if necessary. Then work calmly and methodically to improve upon the worst. Tame your worries and energize your life.
Enthusiasm is a feeling that has to come from inside.
(This article taken from InterChristo Career manual)
Would you like to meet some Christians who dared to integrate their lifework around mission? The following stories are of actual men and women in a wide range of work settings who successfully integrated the three dimensions of work in unusual and creative ways.
In all fairness, we couldn’t expect you to integrate expression, provision, and mission in your own career until you saw how others did it successfully. So we want you to look at the stories of some Christians who invested their faith, hopes, and dreams in a real God who helped them integrate the three dimensions of their work into rewarding careers. As you read, feel free to identify with the person(s) in whose work you most clearly see yourself.
Judy: Fashioned to Help
Judy is a fashion designer who’s gifts in fashion design were expressed in work that provided for her needs. But it was her sense of mission that really tied her lifework together. When Judy’s church sponsored some Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees, she volunteered to help immediately. Before long she realized that what these refugees needed most of all were jobs. Judy also noticed right away that her newfound friends were hard-working and very skillful artistically. Judy helped the refugees start a small business. She donated her expertise in design. The church bought some equipment, and the local mall provided some low-cost space for a tiny retail outlet. Within a year and a half, Judy was working full-time in the growing business that provided for her needs and the needs of eight refugee families.
Al: Faith at Work
Al was the owner of a small electronics manufacturing firm that employed 75 men and women. As demand for his products grew, so did the stress level of assembly line workers. Al became concerned when he saw tempers getting shorter and production time growing longer. He knew there was a handful of Christians who might be open to a creative solution, so Al went ahead with his idea.
He hired a chaplain from a local university ministry team to come to the plant one day a week. This “new employee” hit it off well with the workers. Before long, brief, informal discussions turned into deep, meaningful talks.
Today the chaplain leads a weekly Bible study with the plant’s workers. Among the regular attendees are Al himself and two employees who became Christians through the work of the chaplain’s ministry. Al was happy to stabilize his production level, but even more excited to see some of his employees find a new spiritual dimension in their lives and in their work.
Kathy & Keith: Hospitality Plus
Kathy was a legal assistant at a major big-city shipping company. Her husband, Keith, was a high school science teacher. Both of their jobs demanded lots of over-time. After a couple of years, the two realized they had put too much energy into fulfilling their respective job responsibilities, and too little time into forming lasting relationships with their co-workers.
Kathy and Keith decided to invite the couples and singles they worked with over to their home for a series of dinner parties. It opened up a world of new experiences for the couple. They learned how to cook new dishes. They discovered how to make their home a center of hospitality. Most of all, Kathy and Keith learned some of the personal needs of the men and women with whom they worked.
Kathy and Keith saw their dinner parties become the springboard for some new and growing relationships. Their work became more rewarding since they knew their co-workers better. Today, they are praying in new ways that God will heal the hurt and brokenness of those who’ve shared their personal struggles.
Ken & Carrie: New Mission
When Ken was twelve years old, he attended a world missions conference at his local church. After that, his life was never the same. First, he learned about people all around the world who had never even heard the name of Jesus. Second, he read that Jesus’ final instructions on earth were that Christians should go and tell the world about the Lord. Third, he saw his first eighteen-foot snakeskin, and the spear that killed it.
Over the years, Ken’s perception of world mission matured, but his commitment never changed. Four years of college majoring in Bible and anthropology, plus two college summers of short-term missions assignments confirmed what he knew all along: He was uniquely gifted and motivated to sensitively share his faith cross-culturally.
Marriage to an attractive missionary’s daughter was contingent on her commitment to go to a country and people group for whom Ken had developed a particular burden.
Now, after two more years of specialized training, and three years of language study, Ken and Carrie are missionaries working among a people group that never heard the gospel until now.
Bill: Port of Call
Bill was a naval officer for nine years. His tour of duty took him to most of the world’s major ports. Naturally, he loved to travel. But what excited him even more than seeing a new country was visiting with familiar friends in cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. These were missionaries whom Bill came to know through his church back in the States.
Bill used his government clearance as a passport to get into foreign countries he could otherwise not visit. He arranged to meet the missionary in his respective city and use the time to deliver greetings and letters from back home. He also offered invaluable encouragement and fellowship that Bill’s new missionary friends said they so desperately desired.
Bill’s ministry has never interfered with his naval responsibilities. What it’s done, besides offering a practical source of one-on-one support, is strengthen the relationship between the missionaries and their home churches. Plus, it’s encouraged Bill to share his ministry idea with other Christian military personnel who’ve since used this creative approach to start their own means of outreach.
Just ordinary people,
God uses ordinary people
He chooses people
Just like me and You
Who are willing
To do as He commands
God uses People
That will give him all
No matter how small your all
May seem to you
Because little becomes much
As you place it
In the Master’s Hand.
Juan: Family Family Goals
Juan’s work as a newspaper reporter often kept him at the office until 7:00 p.m. When his son’s soccer team needed a coach, Juan decided to talk to his boss to see if he could arrange a new schedule. The editor obliged. Now Juan covers a city beat that allows him to leave the paper at 3:00 p.m. This gives him time to lead the team practices.
Juan and his team posted a winning record. But another victory that didn’t show up on the score-board was the relationships that Juan and his wife were able to develop with several of the parents. After the season was over, two couples regularly came over to Juan and Rosa’s home. One non-Christian couple took a particular liking to Juan and his wife, and now they regularly attend church with them.
Karen: Market Sharing
Karen was a successful stock broker in Chicago where her earned a six-figure salary. However, she chose to live on $30,000 a year. With the commissions she amassed from dealing on the commodities market, Karen was able to donate five times the amount she made to a number of international and local ministries. These included one of the city’s most needy foster homes, an evangelistic outreach in India, and a feeding project for the starving in Somalia. Karen also set aside some of her earnings to travel and personally visit these ministries in order to gain a better understanding of how she could help.
Today, back home in Chicago, she has begun a fellowship of Christian brokers who’ve committed to pray for, and minister, to their fellow workers. She also volunteers two nights a week in the foster home she supports financially
MAKING MAJOR CHANGES
As you’ve just seen, mission opportunities can happen right in your own place of work. They can also grow out of opportunities created by Christians who are willing to make major changes in their careers. Here are some examples of men and women who did just that:
Jerry: Engineered to Serve
Petroleum. It had produced a lifetime of financial success and professional reward for Jerry, a respected chemical engineer. For years the main avenue he had for sharing his faith was a men’s Bible study at church. When he saw his own brother become a Christian, something changed inside Jerry.
He began to see the need for evangelistic outreach. When he learned that petroleum engineers were needed in Saudi Arabia, Jerry and his wife saw an opportunity to combine work and ministry. He took a new job at a processing plant on the Persian Golf. This became his “tentmaking” job. Today, while there are a few opportunities for him to verbalize his faith, Jerry lives the Christian life and trusts God to show him new chances to be an effective witness.
Jerry and his wife risked career, financial security, and their future to move overseas. What they’ve gained, however, is a ministry in a new setting that still allows Jerry to grow in his profession.
Robert: Song of Joy
As a popular radio disc jockey, Robert was the man many people in his home town woke up to every morning. Robert’s career was growing. He had hopes to become station manager and even part owner of his station’s network family. But Robert decided that he wanted to do more with his life than spin top-40 records from 6:00 a.m. to noon.
He decided to give up his popular morning shift and work for a much smaller Christian station. The pay was only a fraction of what he was previously making. But Robert found a new satisfaction by creating innovative programs that had a Christian focus. Robert grew with the station. Today, he’s able to reach a whole new audience of people with whom he shares his faith. And some of the programs he’s introduced at his new place of work have set standards of broadcast excellence that managers at some of the secular stations have noticed and admired.
Sheri owned a successful gift shop in her home town. After a shaky start-up period she saw business grow, especially with elderly buyers. The seniors who came in stopped and talked. They shared their concerns, their stories of loneliness. Sheri listened to them all. She began to visit the nearby community center where these men and women ate their meals.
Sheri was a businesswoman, but at heart she was also a gifted organizer. After weeks of volunteering her few spare hours at the center, Sheri decided to sell her shop. With the earnings, she was able to work full-time at the senior community center as the new activities coordinator. She accepted only a fraction of the salary her friends wanted to pay her. The seniors had never experienced the fun of crafts, music, and outdoor recreation, until today as Sheri is puting her gifts of planning and enthusiasm to work.
Ryan: New Fields of Growth
For as far as he could remember, Ryan’s only field of exploration had been outer space. That’s because as an aerospace engineer, he had worked on many manned missions designing huge rocket boosters. One Sunday, he volunteered to help on a refugee farm project through his church. The agricultural habits and back-breaking labor made Ryan see right away that he had definitely gone to work in a “foreign field.” But the project was successful. It gave the congregation a source for fresh vegetables and gave the refugees a needed source of income. The project also gave Ryan an unusual sense of accomplishment.
As Ryan’s involvement with the refugees grew, the church asked Ryan if he would go on salary, full time, to organize other refugee projects. Ryan agreed. He left his job inn the aerospace field and went on to work in his new field. He now administrates job development programs for over 300 refugees through his local church. At times he misses his former work, and the financial and lifestyle adjustments have been significant. But, by getting a new ministry off the ground, Ryan has utilized a whole new set of talents. And it has given him a whole new sense of purpose that he never had before.
Trudy: Creative Direction
Big sales and prestigious awards were what Trudy had to show for here seven years as an art director at a prestigious advertising agency. She had also received enough gray hairs from the pressure of the job for her to know that it was time to take a break. She and her husband decided to have a baby.
Today, Trudy loves being a mother. She has arranged her schedule so that she can still spend 20 hours a week offering her creative services to Christian organizations. She has the freedom to set her own schedule and work at her own pace. Plus, Trudy has the satisfaction of seeing her work promote organizations and causes into which she can put both her talent and her heart.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
None of the people you’ve read about here found it easy to integrate all three Biblical dimensions of work around the central focus of mission. Among other things, these Christians risked career stability, financial security, and the possibility of being rejected by friends-all because they knew that God wanted them to transform their respective work, and their lives, for His purposes. These people were willing to follow God’s leading. They listened. They prayed. They struggled. They obeyed. Ultimately, they acted on the mission and career opportunities that God put before them. And making this step, in His name, has made all the difference in their lives.
Think about a successful leadership experience you have had. Select one of your best experiences. Get a vivid image of it. Describe it fully:
1. Where and when did it take place? Who initiated it?
2. Who was involved? What was your role? What were the results?
3. What motivated you to assume leadership? What risks, if any, did you take?
4. What were your initial feelings? What did you feel during the project and at its end.
5. How did you foster cooperation? keep up enthusiasm?
6. How did you lead by example? Communicate your values?
7. Write a few words that best describe your experience, how you felt, what you learned about leadership style and practice, and what you felt to be the single most important factor in your success.
8. Now identify what you feel you need to improve your performance.
George Washington Truett
BORN: May 6, 1867
Hayesville North Carolina
DIED: July 7, 1944
LIFE SPAN: 77 years, 2 months, 1 day
GEORGE W. TRUETT PASTORED the same congregation for 47 years,
yet his influence reached far beyond Dallas, Texas, to the
world as he was probably the greatest Southern Baptist leader
who ever lived. His humble, spiritual, simple preaching
earned for him the reputation as the greatest orator of his
day with many referring to him as a second Spurgeon.
He was the seventh child of Charles L. and Mary R.
(Kimsey). This little mother saw both her husband and son fi-
nally converted after much perseverance in prayer. George was
born on a 250-acre mountain farm two miles west of Hayes-
ville, North Carolina. He first remembered feeling a deep
need for God’s forgiveness when he was only six while listen-
ing to an old country preacher. Again, one day while looking
for his father’s cows, God spared him as he was almost bitten
by a deadly rattlesnake. This brought a prayer of thanks and
more conviction yet. At age eleven the Spirit again weighed
heavily upon him during a local revival meeting in the moun-
tain church house.
Attending Hayesville Academy from 1876 to graduation
in 1885, Truett, handy with plow, rifle and books, was the
most popular boy in Clay County, North Carolina. He continued
a regular church goer (Clay County Baptist Church), but was
not a Christian. One Sunday morning in the fall of 1886, a
preacher by the name of I.G. Pulliam, planned to close out
his meetings–much to young George’s relief, as undoubtedly
the Spirit was again dealing with him. But that night, the
evangelist announced he felt led to continue for another
week! He used as his text, Hebrews 10:38. When the sermon was
over and the invitation hymn began, George–age 19 by this
time–was one of the stream of those coming to surrender pub-
licly to the Saviour. He later said:
When the preacher concluded his sermon, with a ringing chal-
lenge for immediate and unreserved acceptance of Christ as
personal Saviour, a large number promptly went forward, pub-
licly confessing Christ before all the people. I was glad to
be in that company. I could “draw back” no longer from such
commitment and confession.
He told his mother the next morning at breakfast, “I
answered the claims of Christ without any reservations. Af-
terward my heart was filled with a great peace.” The next
Wednesday night the pastor encouraged him to give a word of
testimony. He soon found himself in the aisle pleading per-
sonally with friends and neighbors to seek God’s mercy. Many
responded. From that hour onward people began encouraging him
to enter the ministry. He was baptized by J.G. Mashburn,
joined the church and continued to teach at the Crooked Creek
Public School, a one-room school house in Towns County, Geor-
gia–a position he filled shortly after his own graduation.
He had 50 pupils and taught various subjects.
Now that he was saved, he conceived the idea of
starting a Christian private school, which he called
At the Georgia Baptist Convention, George was pre-
sented for a testimony by a friend who said, “Brethren, this
is George Truett, and he can speak like Spurgeon. George,
tell them what the Lord has done for you and what you are
trying to do up in the mountain.” George told them the story
of mountain youth struggling for solid Christian faith and an
Dr. J.B. Hawthorne, pastor of the First Baptist
Church of Atlanta, said upon hearing Truett,
I have heard Henry W. Grady, Henry Ward Beecher, Phillip
Brooks and others of the world’s famous speakers, but never
in all my life has my soul been more deeply stirred by any
speaker than it was that day at Marietta by that boy out of
the mountains. My heart burned within me and I could not keep
back the tears.
He got what he came for–the principalship of this
private school in the hills of Georgia. George Truett was
twenty years old when he became principal! The Hiawassee
Academy opened in 1887 in a courthouse.
The student body soon numbered 300. As a teacher, he
had his first experience in leading someone to Christ. His
first convert was a poor, crippled mountain boy. The lad tes-
tified to Truett, “Teacher, I have found the Saviour, and
that time you told me that you loved me started me toward
One day he witnessed to a friend of his at school,
inviting him to a revival. The lad was named Jim. Jim told
Truett, “Not tonight. Perhaps tomorrow night, but not to-
night.” When he failed to come to school for a few days, Tru-
ett visited in the home. There George found out his friend
had contracted pneumonia, and his condition was growing
worse. While sitting by the boy’s bedside, the same saddened
words came through the delirium, “Not tonight, maybe tomorrow
night…”–and he died shortly thereafter. Truett never for-
got the incident and referred to it often.
He headed the school from January, 1887, to June,
1889. A strong Christian atmosphere was kept there, although
Truett personally got more and more interested in studying
After hearing Truett speak to a group of Baptists in
Georgia, C.B. Willingham, a wealthy layman, offered to send
him to Mercer University. Truett declined because of his fam-
ily’s plans to move west.
The family did move to Whitewright, Texas, in 1889,
where the local Baptist church recognized his talents, and he
was elected superintendent of the Sunday School. On several
occasions, when the pastor of the church was absent, Truett
was asked to speak to the congregation. He often conducted
services himself, yet he always stood in front of the pulpit
rather than behind it, because he felt unworthy. While living
here, he also entered Grayson Junior College. Many times he
was urged to enter the ministry instead of following his le-
gal pursuits. Each time he solemnly answered, “I will speak
for Christ, but I am not worthy to be His minister.” Finally
the congregation called a special meeting on a Saturday
night. The oldest deacon said, “I move that this church or-
dain brother George W. Truett to the full work of the Gospel
ministry.” Truett rose to protest. But the members’ pleadings
forced him to relent.
Truett talked about that night:
There I was, against a whole church, against a church
profoundly moved. There was not a dry eye in the house…one
of the supremely solemn hours in a church’s life. I was
thrown into the stream, and just had to swim.
That night the call to preach superseded the plans to
be a lawyer, and his course was set.
The next day he was examined and ordained–and one of
the worst men in the community was gloriously converted under
the influence of that service. He preached his first sermon
in the First Baptist Church of Sherman, Texas, now standing
behind the pulpit.
A few weeks later in 1890, when only 23 years old, he
was appointed the financial secretary of Baylor University of
Waco, Texas, which had an indebtedness of $92,000.00.
Pastor R.F. Jenkins had written Dr. B.H. Carroll
about the 23-year-old Truett: “There is one thing I do know
about George W. Truett–wherever he speaks, people do what he
asks them to do.” Dr. Carroll met him in the fall of 1890 and
shared the burden about Baylor University. Then Truett came
down sick with the measles, and the trustees were not too im-
pressed when Carroll introduced the lean, pale, young man to
them as their new financial agent. Truett then went to live
in the Carroll home–a further stepping stone into his life
The campaign was a complete success, with Truett
utterly exhausted as it ended. In 23 months (1891-93) George
eliminated that debt personally, due to his appeal as a pub-
lic speaker. He went home for a few weeks of rest before en-
rolling in September, 1893, as a freshman in the college he
had “saved.” A highlight of his student days was conducting a
powerful revival at the First Baptist Church of Waco. He also
pastored East Waco Baptist Church, 1893-97.
He married Josephine Jenkins of Waco on June 28,
1894. They later had three daughters–Jessie, Mary and Annie.
Truett graduated with the A.B. degree in June of 1897.
Shortly afterward, he was offered the presidency of the col-
lege, but declined, favoring the pastoral ministries. He
said, “I have sought and found the shepherd’s heart.” He re-
ceived his D.D. in 1899, and later on an LL.D. degree. Addi-
tion LL.D. degrees were bestowed upon him from the University
of Alabama and Southern Methodist University.
The summer following graduation, while rejoicing over
the birth of their first child, a call came from the First
Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. He had easily turned down
other offers, but a divine mandate seemed to burn in his soul
about this work. He did urge the committee to rescind the
call, but the church voted unanimously to call him, forcing
him to face the issue. He went to Dallas to confer, and at
age thirty, he accepted the challenge. He began on the second
Sunday in September, 1897, as the pastor–remaining there un-
til his death in July of 1944, 47 years later. The church
eventually would occupy a whole city block and become one of
the world’s largest churches. During his pastorate, the mem-
bership increased from 715 to 7,804, with a total of 19,531
new members received. There were 5,337 baptisms and
contributions totaled $6,027,741.52. Sunday School reached
The largest single offering taken was for $507,850.00
at the launch of the Seventy-five Million Campaign of South-
ern Baptists during 1919. The Sunday School grew to 4,000.
Thousands were saved! It grew to be the largest church in the
Southern Baptist Convention, and one of the most influential
in the entire world. His compassion for the unsaved was evi-
denced as he set aside and maintained two whole mornings each
week for correspondence with the unconverted. Considering
himself a topical speaker, he always preached for decisions.
He was absent from his pulpit at least 25% of the time, be-
cause of the demand for his ministry elsewhere.
His personal income was considered good, but he gave
it away as fast as it came to him. His personal esteem is
shown by the crowds who attended the annual evangelistic
meetings he conducted each April in his own church for about
His first appearance on a program of the Southern
Baptist Convention was at Norfolk, Virginia, in May, 1898. As
early as 1900 his services as pastor-evangelist began to be
sought on every side, not only in Texas, but in other states
as well. Schools of all kinds used him for evangelistic meet-
ings, baccalaureate sermons, convocation and commencement ad-
dresses on campus after campus. In 1904, Robert H. Coleman
became Truett’s lay assistant and Sunday School superinten-
dent, and continued as his loyal and helpful associate for
One time while preaching, Truett challenged some
friends to bring the worst sinner they could find to the ser-
vice. They did just that–a hardened, half-paralyzed old man
who listened and got gloriously saved–and who died shortly
Truett’s life took on a new sense soberness and grief
when his friend, J.C. Arnold, chief of police in Dallas,
died. Truett had accidentally shot him on a hunting trip. The
cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but Truett
blamed himself for the death of his friend. Deeply depressed,
Truett decided to leave the ministry, even though the shot
was accidental. But the prayers of many, plus a vision of
seeing Jesus vividly standing beside him, saying, “Be not
afraid, George. You are my man from now on,” pulled him
through his doldrums.
In addition to the responsibilities already men-
tioned, beginning in 1902, and continuing for 37 summers, he
was a preacher to the “cowboy meetings” in the Davis Moun-
tains of west Texas. He was also one of the twenty men ap-
pointed by President Wilson to preach to the Allied Forces in
Europe, which he did for six months in 1918 during World War
I. Though they were very lonely, those months overseas were
greatly used of God.
The Capitol steps of Washington were crowded with
15,000 people on May 16, 1920, as George W. Truett addressed
them on “Baptists and Religious Liberty.”
For one hour and fifteen minutes he held the audience
spellbound. The Southern Baptist Convention had been in ses-
sion for several days and there was simply no hall large
enough to seat all who desired to hear Truett.
In 1924 the church auditorium was remodeled and en-
larged with two galleries and choir space for about 75. The
capacity now was 4,000, but often hundreds would be turned
away. This same number would be in Sunday School.
Truett was president of the Southern Baptist Conven-
tion from 1927 to 1929, and of the Baptist World Alliance,
1934 to 1939–elected at Berlin. He was a trustee of Baylor
University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary of Fort Worth, and
Baylor Hospital of Dallas. His fund-raising abilities contin-
ued through the years for good causes such as Texas Baptist
Memorial Sanitarium in Dallas and later the Baylor Hospital
and Medical Center.
A world citizen, he led the cause of the League of
Nations following World War I. He toured South America during
the summer of 1930, preaching to large crowds. The South
American trip lasted two and a half months, and included vis-
its to Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Truett was the sole Amer-
ican speaker on the program of the Spurgeon Centenary in Lon-
don, England, in April, 1934. He toured world mission fields
as president of the Baptist World
He left Dallas in November, 1935, for England, Egypt,
Palestine and India. Burma, Singapore, and Hong Kong fol-
lowed. China and Japan concluded the tour.
In the summer of 1937, Dr. Truett and Dr. J.H.
Rushbrooke toured many European countries in “regional con-
Truett never engaged in athletic sports; he was no
fisherman, gardener, household mechanic, nor swimmer–but
hard work and a good diet kept him in good health for most of
his years. His most serious illness prior to his home-going
was in May and June of 1938, when he was seized by a virulent
attack of influenza. Mrs. Truett, describing those days,
…As you know, I did not leave his bedside for the four
weeks of his hospitalization, nor the weeks since. In his de-
lirium he was quoting scripture, preaching, calling men to
Christ or praying for them. I feel that his illness was a
great revelation of real man.
Truett wrote a lovely letter to his wife on his sev-
entieth birthday. He wrote:
May 6, 1937
My Darling Josephine:
The long expected day has arrived. “The days of our
years are three score and ten.” I have lived out the allotted
span of life! Emotions too deep for words stir in my heart.
More grateful than my poor words can say, am I, both to God
and humanity, for all the mercies that have been showered
upon me, through all the fast-flying years! It is all of
grace, grace, God’s wonderful grace! I would this day
rededicate my all to Christ, to go and to say and to do and
to be, what he would have my hands for all the days ahead,
whatever they may be: I do fervently hope and pray that my
days ahead may be far better and more useful than the days
that are gone. May God mercifully grant it, for His Great
No other birthday that I have ever had has so deeply
affected me as this one today. I have been reminded of it by
letters, telegrams, flowers, telephone calls, etc. on all
Though I do not deserve any of these tokens I appre-
ciate them more than I can say. They intensify my desire and
purpose, with God’s help, to strive still more faithfully to
make my humble and very imperfect life a blessing to the peo-
ple. And you will be by my side, to pray for me and to help
me all long–you my chiefest earthly comfort and inspiration.
Forever your own
Seventy-year-old, and going strong!
His health began to wane in 1938. Truett was stricken
with bone cancer in 1943, and died of Paget’s disease and
cardiorespiratory complications after several agonizing
months. On the day of George W. Truett’s burial, the city of
Dallas almost came to a standstill. His influence there had
been so great that the city never mourned a greater loss un-
til the death of President John F. Kennedy there in November
of 1963. He was revered as the leading religious leader of
Four characteristics seem to sum up his ministry.
First: Humility. Honors never puffed him up. The
smallest child could approach him and the poorest person
could reach his great heart.
Second: Simplicity. You might wonder what the secret
of his power was because his messages, though profound, were
always simple, filled with illustrations. He used short,
Third: Spirituality. Many said you felt as though you
were in the presence of the Lord when in his company. With
all of his spirituality, a person did not feel uncomfortable
in his presence. He simply made you want to be a better per-
son after you were with him.
Fourth: Oratory. He did not rant and rave to secure
the attention of his hearers. He did more to quiet down the
preachers of the South than any other man alive. He spoke in
a conversational voice. However, his voice of pathos and
feeling would make his congregation weep and never be ashamed
These characteristics were illustrated by the follow-
Once a young lady was brought before the church for
discipline because of a violation of the church covenant. It
was suggested that she be dropped from the roll of the
church. As the debate developed, Truett said, “Let us also
call the church treasurer and have him read the record of the
giving of every member, and let us vote to drop everyone who
has violated God’s law against covetousness.” Like a bomb ex-
ploding, the air was cleared of accusers.
His preaching was positive rather than negative–ex-
cept for a time of clashing with J. Frank Norris, independent
Baptist leader from nearby Fort Worth.
Truett continued to build and support the Southern
Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. He did, however,
look at the “social gospel” movement in general with real
suspicion. His great themes were evangelism and religious
liberty. His hobby was books, as evidenced by a library of
over 10,000 volumes. He loved biographies, and he loved
Truett’s published works, compiled and edited by oth-
ers, include ten volumes of his sermons, such as We Would See
Jesus and Other Sermons (1919), A Quest for Souls (1917) (a
collection of his sermons given in a great evangelistic cam-
paign in Fort Worth in 1917), God’s Call to America (1924),
Follow Thou Me (1932) and These Gracious Years. His autho-
rized biography, titled George W. Truett–a Biography, by
Powhaten W. James, his son-in-law, has appeared in six edi-
tions, five by MacMillan Company of New York (1939-1945) and
the sixth, Memorial Edition, by Broadman Press, Nashville, in
1953. Some of Truett’s well-known tracts are The Leaf and the
Life, and Baptists and Religious Liberty.
Truett preached 17,000 sermons and had a most loyal
associate, Robert H. Coleman, who was with him since 1904.
T.A. Johnson was personal and church secretary since 1910.
Since Truett’s death, many religious, educational and
healing institutions have erected new buildings or designated
others as memorials to him. Examples of these are a seven-
story educational building at the First Baptist Church, Dal-
las; Truett Auditorium, Southwestern Baptist Theological Sem-
inary; Memorial Chapel, Dallas; three Truett Memorial
Churches located in Denver, Colorado; Hayesville, North Caro-
lina; and Los Angeles, California; Truett-McConnell Junior
College, Cleveland, Georgia; Baptist Orphanage, Nazareth, Is-
rael; and the Truett Building of Baylor Hospital at a cost of