2-1-4-Small Groups I
Satan tempts Jesus in the dessert
Read Luke 4:1-13
Sometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us it will always be “beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:2). But that is not necessarily true. He led Jesus into the desert for along and difficult time of testing and he may also lead us into difficult situation. When facing trials, first make sure you haven’t brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices. If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change then ask God to strengthen you for your test. Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads.
Temptation will often come after a high point in our spiritual lives or ministries (see 1 Kings 18; 19 for Elijah’s story of great victory followed by despair). Remember that Satan chooses the times for his attacks. We need to be on our guard it times of victory just ass much as in times of discouragement.
The devil who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden also tempted Jesus in the desert. Satan is a real being, a created but rebellious fallen angel, and not a symbol of an idea. He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey God. Jesus was a prime target for the devil’s temptations. Satan succeeded with Adam and Eve, and he hoped to succeed with Jesus too.
Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn’t wrong in itself. Turning stones into bread wasn’t necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut to solve Jesus immediate problem at the expense of his long range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way-persuading us to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at a given time. Many people sin by at tempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God’s will or ahead of his timetable. First ask, “Is the Holy Spirit leading me to do this? Or is Satan trying to get me off the track?”
Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where he was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted him to use that power without regard to his mission. When we give into the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gifts to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to his service.
The devil arrogantly hoped to succeed in his rebellion against God by diverting Jesus from his mission and winning his worship. “This world is mine, not God’s”” he was saying, “and if you hope to do anything worthwhile here, you’d better recognize that fact.” Jesus didn’t argue with Satan about who owns the world, but Jesus refused to validate Satan’s claim by worshipping him. Jesus knew that he would redeem the world through giving up his life on the cross, not through making an alliance with a corrupt angel.
Has the devil misinterpreted Scripture. The intention of Psalm 91, is to show God’s protection of his people not to incite them to use God’s power for sensational or foolish displays.
Christ’s defeat of the devil in the desert was decisive but not final. Throughout his ministry. Jesus would confront Satan in many forms. Too often we see temptation as once and for all. In reality, we need to be constantly on guard against the devil’s ongoing attacks. Where are you most susceptible, to temptation right now? How are you preparing to withstand it?
If the devil had three “shots” at you, what three temptations would he use? How do these compare to Jesus’ temptations? 123
What can help you resist these appeals to self-interest, power and spiritual price? What encouragement do you find here?Under
Under what circumstances (vv. 1-2), was Jesus tempted: After a spiritual high? At a weak moment? Apart from God?
In each temptation, what was it’s appeal? It’s price? Had does Jesus resist them? How does Satan’s use of the Scripture differ from the way Jesus uses it?
How are the three temptations similar? Different?
Why were the temptations all directed against the divine Sons-ship of Jesus, when this had just been confirmed at Jesus’ baptism (3:21-22)? Why did God allow Jesus to go through this?
Which temptations would be the hardest for you to resist?
When do you find yourself most vulnerable to the tempter?
What has helped you overcome temptation when it comes?
What has made you feel good about resisting temptation?
In verses 9-10, what do you learn about Satan?
In verse 3, why did the devil challenge Jesus to change stones into bread?
What tactics does Jesus use to conquer Satan?
How would you describe the power struggle going on here?
The Life of Jesus Christ in You
We have learned that those who receive Jesus Christ and believe in him become children of God. In other words, you have made a complete turn around in your spiritual life. You have had a change of mind.
In the past you lived in sin. You did not know God as your Heavenly Father. Now, you know your Heaven Father and you have begun a new life. In this way you have experienced a great change in your way of thinking.
In the Bible this change of mind is called Repentance. The idea of Repentance is not very well understood today, in-spite of the fact that many people use the word. For this reason, we are going to study the idea of Repentance in depth.
The Bible teaches this about repentance: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8).
A changed life is clear evidence that there has been true repentance, that is, a change of mind.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that repentance is simply feeling sorry for the sins they have done. They miss the importance of living a changed life.
Friend do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Then there should have been some change in your life. Is there something wrong in your life which needs to be changed?
Ask the Lord, right now, to help you change your attitude toward sin as well as the way that you live. Then you will be able to tell this to your trainer, and your life will testify to your friends.
2-1-4-Small Groups I
God’s plan for us to reach the world for Christ is clearly stated in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us to “wait” for the unsaved world to come to us. We are told to “go.” Romans 10:17 (NIV) reads, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
We must be prepared to teach the Word, as told in 2 Timothy 2:15(NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
We must reach out in our spheres of influence, ass the Apostle Paul did in his: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).
It is the purpose of this training to present the “process,” or “how-to’s,” of small groups dynamics. It is beyond the scope of this series to present “content” training, or the “how-to’s” of presenting actual curriculum. The components of “process” training include the following: defining leader characteristics, qualities, and styles; examining communications; describing effective witnessing and evangelism; developing relationships: and discussing promotion.
In a time and culture when building positive relationships in families and churches often seems more and more difficult, it is exciting to see the ways in which Christian small groups are being rediscovered by churches as an important resource for Christian growth and ministry throughout the world. Small groups have always been important in the Church from the days of the New Testament to today. People are discovering in a new ways that help them to experience, expand, and to apply their faith in many diverse and challenging settings.
Providing a place where love can be taught and experienced has always been a ministry of the followers of Jesus Christ, who commanded His disciples to “love one another.” Healthy small groups are one way in which churches can provide a context of love, nurture, and communication that moves beyond the polite and superficial to genuine love and ministry.
Small groups are very valuable. They give Christians opportunities to invite neighbors, coworkers, friends, or relatives to a place other than church, and to introduce them to Jesus Christ.
No one is more vital to the success of a small group then it’s leader. This leadership training will help you develop communication skills and identify your leadership styles for maximum effectiveness. Also, the dynamics of leadership that you learn will carry on over in Business meetings, PTA meetings, family discussions and more.
You will receive two other important benefits from small-group training: improved prayer life and evangelism training to equip you to reach your family, friends, and coworkers.
“The (instructions) which you have heard from one, along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust (as a deposit) to a reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2, AMP).
“And they were continually devoting themselves to the aposstles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
“And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
And every day in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:42).
How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house. (Acts 20:20).
Discuss the following key words in relation to the verses read.
House to House
Five characteristics of Bible Discussion Leaders
1. The characteristic of
An effective leader is in right relationship to:
An effective leader has a right relationship to God’s call,
An effective leader gives gives out of the overflow of God’s Word,
A person who is a good follower, makes a good leader. Obedience is necessary in order to be able to lead.
2. The characteristic of
Prayer is vital in your relationship with God (see 2 Chronicles 7:14, Philippians 4:6-7). People are looking for others who will pray for them.
3. The characteristic of
Without faith, it is impossible to please God and be of direct benefit to others (see Luke 22:32, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14). Darrell Robinson tells us that “your attitude will make the difference in your witness.” True enthusiasm is a faith attitude.
4. The characteristic of combined with.
Scripture directs us to speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15), and to be a vessel of love to others. We live in a cold, cynical world. People do not often experience compassion, and they need to see it modeled in you.
5. The characteristic of
Leader must be teachable in order to correctly handle the word of truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15). Good leadership is created through study and preparation.
The most outstanding leaders are those with a
Paul showed four qualities of leadership while at Thessalonica. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
1. Verse 2
At times we get discouraged, but if we are God-called, we can carry on with determination.
2. Verse 3
We should not lead to out do others, but like Paul, we should have pure motives.
3. Verse 7
People in the world today are exposed to harshness and cynicism.
4. Verses 11-12
People need a place to be accepted for who they are, not for what they can do. This is a refreshing change.
Paul was effective because he was
, and a
on people under his care.
Identify causes of failure as a group leader.
1. Wrong motives for leadership. Wrong motives can block a leader’s spiritual growth, and hamper a group’s spiritual progress. Wrong motives include seeking power, authority, or position; seeking to fill an emotional need, such as acceptance or approval; or seeking acclaim. Right motive include glorifying God, obeying His call, loving the Lord and Christian brethern, and advancing the kingdom of God.
Factors that can cause people to leave a group, possibly causing the group to die.
2. A sense of inadequacy. Leaders can be plague with doubts and in securities. How ever, they must avoid demanding more of themselves than the Lord does, or becoming enslaved to others expectations rather than the Lord’s. Remember, God often uses the weak to “confound the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
A sense of
3. Fear of failure. Every leader should expect to make mistakes; it’s part of the learning process.
4. Discouragement and disappointment. Things do not always turn out as we like. The important point is to focus on Christ. Remember 1 Thessalonians 2:2, and be determined.
5. Appearing spiritually dry. Spiritual dryness is usually caused by an absence of prayer, Bible study, holy living and concentration of purpose. One danger of leadership is being so busy that we neglect our own relationship with the Lord. We must continue praying and studying, and give out of our flow.
6. Unrealistic schedules. Leaders must base both personal and group schedules on God-directed priorities. It may be necessary to cut back on activities not planned by the Lord. Rest is part of His plan, and our bodies are the temple of His Spirit. Good time management is a leadership responsibility.
7. Improper handling of relational conflict. Personality clashes, jealousy, competitiveness, and so on, must be dealt with through prayer and hones love.
Improper handling of
8. Conflicts with authority. Problems arise when a leader disobeys God-anointed authority. Leaders are to respect and submit to authority.
9. Undue focus on attendance. The leader must focus on those present, not on those absent, and minister to current needs.
Undue focus on
List three additional obstacles to effective leadership.
Objective: Learn how to conduct a conversational prayer time.
1. Limit the time for prayer requests. Often more time is spent making requests than praying. One selection is to skip the requests and simply begin praying for specific needs.
Limit the time for prayer
2. Use conversational tones in audible prayer. Use everyday language. A group meeting is not the place for religious speeches in prayer. The leaders modeling of conversational prayer is pivotal.
Usein audible prayer.
3. Cultivate a consciousness of God’s presence. All prayers should be directed to Him. never pray to the group. Kneeling or holding hands can enhance on attitude of prayer.
Cultivate a consciousness of God’s
4. Be brief. God does not hear us on the basis “of… many words” (Matthew 6:7), but rather on the basis of faith (Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 11:6). Jesus modeled brief prayer throughout His ministry (Matthew 26:34, 42; Mark 15:34; Luke 23;34, 46; John 11:41-43). Each person should pray in one or two sentences, then allow others to pray. Pray so an eight-year-old child could understand.
5. Have one person pray about one topic. In conversations, only one topic at a time should be shared by the group. Only one person at a time should pray. One person’s prayer might focus on a topic such as prayer for wisdom in a job situation. Another person might then pray for wisdom in a family situation.
Have onepray about one
6. Agree in prayer. When one group member is praying, the others should silently agree; there is much power in prayer of agreement (Matthew 18:19-20). During the prayer, others can verbalize agreement by short responses such as “yes, Lord”. “hear this prayer”; and “answer that prayer, Lord.”
7. Be spontaneous. Informality, honesty, and love are all vital. Stay away from ritualistic memorized prayers-we are in relationship with a living God “who has been tempted in all things as we are” (Hebrews 4:15).
8. Allow for silence. Silence is not an uncomfortable space to be filled with unnecessary words. A waiting silence to hear the voice of God can be the most reverent portion of a group’s prayer time.
9. Pray with and for each other. It is appropriate to follow some one’s prayer with a request related to an expressed need or concern. Example: After John prays for his wife in the hospital, Ann might add, “God, please strengthen John, and the children during this difficult period,” Peter could then say, “Lord, we ask that You provide for the financial needs of John’s family during his wife’s hospelization.”
10. Pray for each member of the group. Each one might ask for a prayer request from the person on his right, and then pray for that request as the prayer moves around the circle.
Pray for each member of the
11. Expect God to guide. As the group is praying, be prepared at any time to confess, to uphold, to rejoice, to accept, to exhort to agree, and to weep.
Expect God to
12. Be creative. At various times try the different types of prayer: adoration (praise), thanksgiving, confession, commitment, and intercession. Also, choose various topics to focus on, such as family relationships, needs of the local church, community problems, national government, and authorities.
Review the characteristics of effective leadership. Remembering a positive experience in a small group (Bible study, committee, or work experience), identify a characteristic that the group leader possessed, and why you thought it was important.
Review the obstacles to effective leadership. Which one do you think is the most frequent, and how can it best be overcome?
Write a sample conversational prayer.
Name a leadership quality a person who has greatly influenced your life? Why do you value that quality?
The primary purpose of conversational prayer in a group are: To_______ an opportunity for people to pray together; That each member may realize the presence of ______ in the midst of the group?
There are two sorts of jealousy among men, and only one of them is a vice. Vicious jealousy is an expression of an attitude, ” I want what you’ve got, and I hate you because I haven’t got it.” It is an infantile resentment springing from unmortified covetousness, which expresses itself in envy, malice, and meanness of action….But there is another sort of jealousy – zeal to protect a love relationship, or to avenge it when broken…. This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, for it shows a grasp of the true meaning of the husband-wife relationship, together with a proper zeal to keep it intact.
Now, Scripture consistently views God’s jealousy s being of this latter kind: that is, an aspect of His own people. The old Testament regards God’s covenant as His marriage with Israel, carrying with it a demand for unqualified love and loyalty….One further point must be made, if we are to view this matter in its true light. God’s jealousy over His people, as we have seen, presupposes His covenantal love; and this love is no transitory affection, accidental and aimless, but is the expression of a sovereign purpose. The goal of the covenant love of God is that He should have a people on earth as long as history lasts, and after that have all His faithful ones of every age with Him in glory. Covenant love is the heart of God’s plan for the world.
(From Knowing God by J. I. Packer)
Loving something more than God, and God is offended. Thank God for his unfailing love for you. He is the best friend you will ever have.
Take a sheet of paper and draw a large circle on it. Make a “pie-chart” showing what percentage of your time you devote to each major activity of your life. Draw slices of the pie to show how many hours of your average 24 hour day on your activities. Don’t worry about the fact that each day is different. Approximations are good enough.
How much of your time is regularly devoted to prayer or other activities designed expressly to enhance your relationship with God?
The future is hard to figure out. We know that… the seeds of repentance and renewal will fall on different kinds of soil. Some who receive these seeds will be superficial in their commitment and, lacking depth, will turn away from radical Christianity….
But every so often, and more often than one might think, there will be those individuals who get a handle on the message, realize what is involved, and go with it all the way. As the prophetic seeds take root in them, they will seek to do the works of righteousness (Matt. 5-6). In hard and forgotten places they will try to do what must be done for justice to roll down and for “shalom” to thrive. What they try to accomplish will often leave them frustrated, but they will learn how to overcome the world (John 16:33). And in the end they will bear fruit. Eventually their efforts will come to greatness. Even the seemingly little things that they do will have their rewards (Matt. 10:42). And when these people come together, they will be a presence that the world will not be able to ignore. They will be a new people who will shake the foundations of the old order. They will be a leaven in society. They will be the salt of the earth. They will be the beginning of a new Kingdom, even as the old… passes away.
(From Wake Up America by Tony Campolo)
Jesus has called his people to be the salt of the earth. Get involved with a ministry through your church or a Christian organization.
BIO:Robert Reynolds Jones by R.K. Johnson
Robert Reynolds Jones BORN: October 30, 1883 Shipperville, Alabama
DIED: January 16, 1968 Greenville, South Carolina LIFE SPAN: 84 years,
2 months, 18 days FUNDAMENTALISM’S GREATEST FORTRESS of the faith for
years was Bob Jones University. “Preacher boys” trained there have
fanned over the world with a zeal seldom matched anywhere. The fabulous
growth has put it in the top spot as far as enrollment is concerned
among Christian colleges. Some 5,000 take training there annually. What
produces such a school? Many things, but the indefatigable work of the
founder, Bob Jones, Sr., surely can be considered as the key
ingredient. One of the great evangelists of all time–a man who
preached in 30 countries–Dr. Bob’s contribution to Bible Christianity
has seldom been matched. By age 40 he had preached 12,000 sermons to
some 15,000,000 people, with 300,000 converts. Jones was the son of
William Alexander and Georgia (Cree) Jones. The parents were farmers of
Calvinistic convictions. He was the eleventh of twelve children,
having eight sisters and three brothers. The family moved to the
Dothan, Alabama, area shortly after his birth. Christian convictions
were instilled in him by his parents and hard work on the farm gave him
a challenge early in life to work. He was converted at age eleven in a
country Methodist church outside Dothan. The preacher was 80 years of
age and the young lad was the first to go forward. Since age six he had
desired to get this matter settled. From the time of his conversion he
began preaching publicly and was known as “the boy preacher.” He
preached to anyone who would listen. He became a good debater. He
developed strong convictions and undaunted courage. Like Billy
Sunday, his preaching was to be received because it would be on the
level of the people. He demonstrated unusual ability at memorizing
Scripture and recitation. For months he had made speeches at the Sunday
School, displaying great knowledge of the Bible. At age twelve he was
appointed Sunday School superintendent at this Methodist church at
Brannon’s Stand. Being something of a child prodigy, he would gather
children of the neighborhood and preach to them. One day he caught some
older folk hiding behind the trees, listening to what was going on.
From this point on his father began to take a deep interest in his
oratorical powers, clipping significant pieces from newspapers and
asking young Jones to commit them to memory. When he reached 13 years
of age, he built a brush arbor (outside shelter of brush, lattice work,
trees, etc.) and out of this meeting place, two miles from home, came a
church of 54 members where he preached for about a year (age 14). His
mother died that year also. By age 15 he was licensed and ordained by
the Alabama Conference. At age 16 he headed a circuit of five churches,
including the little church he had started. He would often walk miles
just for the opportunity of having a chance to preach. He received $25
a month for this ministry. More than 400 came into the churches by
profession of faith that first year. Bob was now preaching all over
southeast Alabama. He finished his formal education, which was dis-
jointed in his earlier years, at Kinsey (Alabama) High School, 13 miles
away from home. He worked his way through school, living in the home of
the principal, J.C. Hammett. Graduated in 1899, the year his father
died, young Jones entered Southern University (later Birmingham
Southern) at Greensboro, Alabama, in 1901 where he attended until 1904.
He studied Latin, math and science, continued his preaching and was
ordained by Methodists in 1903, from whom he withdrew in later years
because of their drift from the fundamentals of the faith. While in
college he kept on preaching, first every weekend somewhere, with good
results, then campaigns, holding weekend revivals during school and
full-time meetings in the summer. For three summers he held meetings in
the State of Louisiana. Fearing a man they couldn’t control, the
Methodists passed a rule that no Methodist layman or preacher could
preach or hold a religious service within the boundary of a Methodist
pastor’s circuit without that pastor’s permission. This of course did
not stop such as Bob Jones or his predecessor in those days, Sam
Jones. Bob was stirring up the entire state of Alabama as a young man
when he discovered his throat was bothering him more and more. It was
diagnosed as “tuberculosis of the throat.” He also had double
pneumonia, was malaria prone, and was told he could not live ten years.
He went west where he did recover, being healed by the Lord of this
difficulty. This was when he was 21. The following year, on October 24,
1905, he married Bernice Sheffield, only to have her die ten months
later in August, 1906, of tuberculosis. Somewhere around January, 1907,
in Uniontown, Alabama, he met Mary Gaston Stollenwerck, who was con-
verted in his meeting. On June 17, 1908, they were married. Their only
child, Bob Jones, Jr., was born October 19, 1911. Marriage and family
did not change his life style, as Mrs. Jones traveled with him, taking
a maid along to care for the child until he was six years old, when he
entered school in Montgomery. Following the death of Sam Jones and
during the heyday of the Billy Sunday meetings, Bob Jones was raising
a storm throughout the country himself. In 1908, now 25 years old, he
held a crusade in his home town of Dothan, where some city officials,
several of whom had been converted, called a meeting of the City
Council and closed the dispensary, eliminating intoxicating liquor.
It was also in 1908 that he witnessed two outstanding conversions: In
Abbeyville, Alabama, a Robert Reynolds was converted. This was his
father’s buddy in battle, for whom Jones was named. Then, in Ozark,
Alabama, he led a Dr. Dick Reynolds to the Lord. This was the doctor
who attended his birth. Several states were utilizing his services in
the next couple of years–Texas, California, Missouri, New York,
Georgia. By age 30, he had preached in 25 states. In 1911 he was
greatly used in Atlanta, Georgia, which had two notable services–a
“Women Only” service at the Forsyth Theater on June 2 and a large
gathering of “Men Only” at the city auditorium on his last Sunday
afternoon. People were long talking about his sermon, The Secret Sins
of Men. In 1915, great crusades were held in two small Indiana towns.
Crawfordsville had merchants closing their stores during the hours of
the services. They later commented that it was easier to collect for
bills, and preachers found it easier to get people to come to church.
Over 4,000 women gathered to hear his famous sermon for them, The
Modern Woman. One of the most amazing stories of revival in history
took place in Hartford City, Indiana, a town of 7,000. Before the
meeting, the church membership was 1,500; after the meetings the
churches had almost 4,000 members. On the last Sunday of the
meetings, 1,600 joined the churches. Some 100 per night accepted
Christ. Sunday movies were closed and the city voted dry and put out of
business 16 saloons within two months of his campaign there. Some 4,000
had attended his last service–in a town of 7,000 population. In 1916
Jones had good meetings in Joplin, Missouri. Going east, he was in a
small New York town, Gloversville, beginning April 8th. The headlines
of the April 13th newspaper said, “Bob Jones Launches Savage Attack
Against Saloons and Liquor Traffic.” Jones had simply talked on the
topic, Some Problems of Home, to some 3,500 who had gathered. The next
night he preached to 4,500 on The Sins of Gloversville. The six-week
crusade held at the Tabernacle on Temple Street was sponsored by 12
churches. The total attendance was 175,000 with 1,780 deciding for
Christ. He closed the year out with a large tent crusade in New York
City. He was front-page copy for the New York Herald for more than a
week. The tent, located on West 12th Street, was the scene of many
victories. Another outstanding revival that had been conducted earlier
that year was at the City Auditorium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The
following year, 1917, found him in Quincy, Illinois, then in a good
Zanesville, Ohio, crusade from February 18 to April 1. Seventeen
churches participated. Total attendance was 266,000 with 3,284 signed
convert cards. His closing day attendance was 18,000. A large
tabernacle had been erected which seated 5,000. Bob pounded the altar
so hard while preaching that he broke it. Noon shop meetings, meet-
ings with students and women’s meetings were all a part of this
crusade. One of his greatest crusades was the one that followed in
Grand Rapids, Michigan. Some 1,000 met him at the train, and some
10,000 gathered on the parade route while the procession went to the
tabernacle, where such as Mayor Tilma officially welcomed him. Some
15,000 attended the opening service, and 568 walked the “sawdust trail”
in response to the first invitation given the next day. Schools closed
early so that children might attend special sessions for them at 3 p.m.
A Sunday School parade had 2,500 participants. Over 5,000 converts were
made during his ministry there. In July of 1919 a good crusade was held
in Columbus, Ohio. Meetings were held under the Big Tent. In 1920 he
was in Anniston, Alabama, at the Lyric Theater. On Sunday, August 29,
1920, Jones and William Jennings Bryan were featured in a great rally
at Winona Lake (Indiana) Bible Conference. In 1921 Jones crusaded at
Steubenville, Ohio. Seventeen preachers who sponsored the meeting
early in the year attested to the good results at the large tabernacle
erected near the business center of the city. The newspapers gave great
coverage. More than 4,000 marched in the Sunday School parade. His
greatest crusade in his own opinion was that of the Montgomery,
Alabama, meeting in 1921. The meetings began on May 22; the headlines
the next day tell the story: “More Than Five Thousand Held Spellbound
by Eloquence of Splendid Evangelist: Hundreds Turned Away at Each
Sunday Service; Sermons Not Sensational.” His Sins of Men address to
5,000 men was perhaps his greatest individual meeting ever held, by his
own assessment. At the close of the service over 2,000 men started a
great rush to the front to shake hands with him so that he was forced
to rush back to the platform and appeal to the men not to create a
panic, but to respond to the proposition to live right by holding up
their hands. Meetings were held at a large wooden tabernacle erected
near the business center, which seated over 5,000. The building was
crowded to capacity every night, and many times there were hundreds
standing around the outside of the tabernacle. It is estimated some
12,000 heard him the closing Sunday night in June. Average crowds were
10,000 nightly, in a medium-sized town with a total population of
40,000. Bob Jones received an honorary D.D. degree by Muskingum
College during this year. In the late fall of 1921 he held a large
campaign in St. Petersburg, Florida. The tabernacle seated 5,000 and
sometimes it was necessary to have two services in order to accommodate
the crowds. In 1927 (the year the Bob Jones college was founded), Jones
held two large crusades. One was in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and the
other in Andalusia, Alabama. Jones’ meetings continued with great
success into the 1930s and 1940s. In 1947, he held good crusades in
Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. As many
as 100 per night were saved in the former, with scores coming forward
each night at the latter as well. In 1949, at Presque Isle, Maine, a
town of 10,000, between 50 and 200 were saved each night. In June of
that year he returned to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for a 15-day crusade.
The chairman of the sponsoring committee was his convert from a
Pittsburgh revival 25 years earlier. Bob Jones’ friendship with John R.
Rice was a mutual help to both men, with Bob Jones often appearing at
Sword of the Lord conferences and then making the Sword of the Lord
required reading amonst the preacher boys at the college. Concerning
evangelism, Jones once said:
I never had a goal as most men set up goals. My only goal was
to do the job at hand, and then to begin another. I never started out
to be a big evangelist, a little evangelist, or any other kind of
evangelist. I just started out to do the job the Lord had for me at the
Some 30 nations of the world were to hear him preach as
well. In 1952, at age 69, and 1959, at age 76, Bob Jones made
round-the-world missionary tours. Then again, in 1964, in connection
with his 80th birthday, the Joneses were sent on a goodwill tour around
the world, visiting 14 countries. By this time 850 missionaries in 90
countries had received their education at the school he started.
Perhaps he has been an evangelist longer than anyone in the history of
the Christian Church. He was preaching at age 13 and continued well
into his 80s, which would give him over 65 years in this chosen field.
He averaged some 40,000 miles of travel per year. His decisions for
Christ ran into the hundreds of thousands, with one report stating his
greatest single service response being 6,000 decisions. As years went
by Jones was beginning to get another burden–that of starting a
Christian college for the common people with whom he worked every day.
Many were the sad stories of sending children off to college and
seeing them return with agnostic views. Sitting in a drug store in
Kissimmee, Florida, in 1927, the idea hit him hard. “I’m going to
start a school!” he told his wife. A site was picked, seven miles out
of Panama City, Florida, on St. Andrews Bay. This site itself would
have a name–College Point, Florida. On December 1, 1926, ground was
broken. Jones described the naming of the school:
I was averse to calling our school the Bob Jones College. My
friends overcame my aversion with the argument that the school would be
called by that name because of my connection with it, and to attempt
to give it any other name would confuse the people.
Jones from the beginning, like other noble evangelists, poured his own
large income from evangelism right back into the work of the college, and
for years the operating expenses of the school were always current
because of this generosity. Whitefield and his orphanage, Moody and
his schools, are notable examples of this kind of dedication. On
September 12-14, 1927, the school opened with 88 students. The
financial crash of 1929 hit Florida especially hard, and assets of
$500,000.00 were wiped out. Enrollment was limited to 300 at this
Florida campus. A site in Cleveland, Tennessee, appealed because of a
better geographic position. Old Centenary College (Methodist Girls’
School) had been closed for years, and the move was made to Cleveland,
Tennessee, on June 1, 1933. Formal opening was September 1, and a new
school year was to begin. In 1934 Jones took a prolonged absence to
preach in such places as Ireland, Poland, and several engagements in
Michigan. During this time Bob Jones, Jr., got some good experience
in running the school. A great benefactor in those early days was John
Sephus Mack, who died on September 27, 1940. He contributed much
financial assistance in the development of the college. He was the head
of the Murphy stores and first met Jones at a revival in his home town,
McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Coming late to the meeting, he was seated on
the platform. Here he witnessed Jones’ lips moving, and he was able to
read his lips: “Help me get ahold of this crowd.” Being a conservative
Presbyterian, this kind of praying seemed a bit informal to him, but
since then Mack also talked to Jesus in this fashion. He also told
the evangelist if he ever made any money, he would give it to Jones if
he needed it. Approximately $150,000.00 for the building program
subsequently followed. By 1946 the school had expanded as much as it
could in Cleveland. Additional property needed to expand was next to
impossible to obtain. The Church of God was greatly interested in the
property, and so it was sold to them for $1,500,000.00. Much business
needed to be done, and Jones was constantly traveling, tying up loose
ends and preaching. He missed the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta in
1946 by one night, having checked out of the ill-fated hotel one day
earlier than anticipated. Some 120 died in that inferno. It was
finally agreed to move the college campus to Greenville, South
Carolina, where, on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1947, it was
dedicated. At this point the school changed its name to Bob Jones
University, and Bob Jones, Jr., assumed the presidency of the same,
with Bob Jones, Sr., becoming chairman of the board. Some 2,900
students were now attending. Through the years, the school continued to
grow, with Bob Jones, Sr., playing an active role until his resignation
as chairman of the board of trustees in April, 1964. Currently the
school handles 4,000 to 5,000 students annually-one-third of this
number being ministerial students. Over 30 countries are represented in
the student body. The school has excelled in film teaching and
production. Shakespearean drama productions are held annually. The
university has amassed one of the finest collections of religious
paintings in North America. The $40 to $50 million assets with 180 some
acres made the modern facilities and beautiful campus a legend among
Christian schools. Refusing to compromise in any way, shape or form the
Bible principles established in the very beginning, the school has been
coerced and criticized. The discipline and dramatics program have been
misunderstood and derided. Because of its refusal to become a part of
the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, some have
felt it to be unscholarly. Because of the monitoring of dates and the
“six-inch rule” between the opposite sexes, some have felt the school
antiquated. Because of the school’s refusal to back the Billy Graham
New York Crusade in 1957, an attempt to discredit the school’s
leadership was made. The conclusion of all this is that Bob Jones the
man and Bob Jones the school were just not going to change their stand.
In the early days of Youth for Christ and the National Association of
Evangelicals, Jones was a prime supporter. Once, at an alumni meeting
of his school, he asked all present to sign a pledge that they would
use their influence to have the school closed if it ever developed
modernistic leanings. Both the man and the school he started continued
to prosper, and history will likely show that a greater combination
evangelisteducator never lived. When he was on campus, one of his main
jobs was his “chapel talks,” where students received character training
and purpose. He left the Methodist Church in 1939. Jones will be
remembered as the man who was one of the first to take the unpopular
stand in those days of opposing the policies of Billy Graham. So much
has been blown out of proportion, but the simple facts are these: When
Graham began to insist upon the total support of a city, as he did in
the famous 1957 New York crusade, Jones would not put aside convictions
of a lifetime and ignore something he felt was harmful. Hence he, John
R. Rice, and others decided the truths of II John 9-11 should be
adhered to. It was not a personality clash as some would like to think.
It was not a matter of jealousy, for Jones promoted and supported Billy
Graham until the fraternization with liberals started. The ecumenicity
of Graham’s new sponsorship, resulting in the practice of returning
converts to unscriptural churches and false teachers as well as sound
churches and good teachers, clashed with Dr. Bob’s philosophy. “It is
not right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.” So the polarization
of new evangelicals and fundamentalists did start for the most part
in 1957, as this policy developed. Of course, the right kind of
fundamentalist will rejoice in souls won by Graham or anyone else, as
the issue is not a man–but a Biblical principle. Bob Jones and John R.
Rice sponsored a historic meeting in Chicago on December 26, 1958,
where some 150 prominent evangelists gathered to form resolutions
backing historic Christian premises in the field of evangelism.
Muskingum College gave him a D.D. degree in 1921, and John Brown
University granted Jones an LL.D. degree in 1941. A plaque in his honor
was unveiled in Dothan, Alabama, on October 18, 1962, marking his
birthplace. The Christian Hall of Fame at the Canton (Ohio) Baptist
Temple honored him in 1966 as the only living entry in their portrait
gallery of greats. The last two years of his life, he was in the school
hospital. His last words, on January 16, 1968, were, “Mary Gaston,
get my shoes; I must go to preach.” He was buried on campus in a
beautiful little island in a fountain of cascading pools, just across
the street from the Rodeheaver Auditorium. An excellent biography of
his life is the book Builder of Bridges by his friend of many years,