Give a Five-Minute Testimony which can be used as an introduction to a complete presentation of the Gospel.
Name three basic steps to leading others to Christ in their right order, tell why it is important to ask permission before presenting the gospel, and write at least one question which can be used to do this.
List the four basic parts to the presentation of the gospel in the right order and explain each of them as you would to someone you were trying to lead to Christ.
Define the term urbanization and explain its importance for evangelization and church-planting and give three factors which should be considered when selecting an area for Church-planting.
List and explain the six basic steps to church-planting in the right order.
Your Personal Testimony
Today we are going to learn how to begin to sow the seeds of the kingdom. One of the ways that we can do this is through the use of our own personal testimonies.
We began our study of the examples of planting of the seed of the kingdom by looking at the parable of the Sower. What does the SEED which was sown – represented in this parable?
Think about the things we have learned in Matthew 13. How did Jesus sow the seeds of the kingdom in that chapter?
Jesus used many different opportunities to sow the seeds of the kingdom. In the very first verse of Matthew 13, we read that Jesus went out of a house and down to the beach where a number of people had gathered.
Read the second verse. Here Jesus is teaching from a
Verse 36 indicates that Jesus had left the boat and was now teaching in a
Verse 10 comes in between verse 2 and verse 36. But, in this verse also, Jesus is teaching His disciples. He had gotten out of the boat, but had not yet arrived at the house. So it is rather easy to see that Jesus also taught His disciples as they walked along the .
Jesus made it His practice to teach and preach and talk to people about the kingdom of heaven in all kinds of circumstances. Most of His teaching was done while people were about the normal affairs of everyday life.
If we are to follow Jesus’ example then, we too must teach and talk to people as we meet them each day. Remember that we too are supposed to sow the seed of the in their hearts, that is, the of .
We must make it our practice as well to talk to people about Jesus Christ. We may do it as we walk along the path in our village or along the sidewalks of our city. It may mean sharing with people at work or perhaps with those we meet shopping or at a community meeting. Wherever we go, we too must sow the Word of God in the hearts of men. In the space provided below, write down some of the everyday opportunities which you can use to sow the Word of God in the hearts of men.
The seed of the Word of God can be presented to people in many different ways. Modern technology like the radio, television, and the internet have made it possible to spread the Word over large areas. Through such things, the gospel can be heard all around the world. However, the most important way of sowing the seed of the kingdom is not any of these: Personal Testimony.
A person’s own testimony is a far more effective way of sowing the seed than any of these other methods. Read these words from Acts 1:8, “… and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” According to this verse, Christ’s followers are to be His .
A witness is some one who can give a first hand account of something he has seen or experienced. For example, witnesses are called into court to tell what they know about the person who has been placed on trial. So then, as a follower of Jesus Christ and as His witnesses, we are also to tell others about our with Jesus Christ.
When we share with others the experience we have had with Jesus Christ we are doing what all witnesses do. That is we are telling people:
Do you remember our study of the episode about the demon-Possessed man from Gadara? The story is found in Matthew 8 and Mark chapter 5. In Mark 5:19, Jesus tell the man who has been delivered: “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He had had mercy on you.” What was the man who had be set free from the demons told to do?
In today’s lesson you will learn how to tell about your own experience with Jesus Christ. You already have been taught one of the more important and basic facts needed for an effective witness of this kind. It is simply that, before anyone can tell others about Jesus Christ, they must first have Jesus working in their own lives.
You can only tell others about Jesus Christ as his witness, if you have first accepted him as your own personal savior and have his spirit within your life. Most of the people who have come this far in our study have an experience with the Lord that they can tell about. However, if you do NOT, why not ask Jesus to forgive your sins right now and invite him to be the one who rules the throne of your life.
There are three basic parts to an effective testimony. All three of these parts must be included in our witness to others.
What MY life was like Before I became a Christian.
How I became a Christian.
How Jesus Christ has changed my life since I became a Christian.
Some Christians fall into the trap of spending a great amount of time telling others about the kind of life they lived before they came to know Jesus. Read Mark 5:19 once again.
What did Jesus tell the man to do?
What did Jesus tell the man to talk about?
So then, what should we spend the most time talking about when we give our personal testimonies?
Even though most of our time is to be spent telling people about what the Lord has done for us, the first part of our testimonies ought to talk briefly about what our lives were like before we became Christians. We must be very carefully not to fall into the trap of making our past way of life look like an exciting and fun way to live. After all, we do know that before we became a Christian, we were under the power of Satan and that those who do not know our Lord are under his power right now.
It is very important that our personal testimonies tell people what the Lord has for us and that we are careful not to make our old way of life look like it was .
A good personal testimony tells in just a few words the reason why you were not satisfied with your old way of living. It explains the need you felt in your life for Jesus Christ. In this first part of your testimony you are telling people: “This is the way I thought and acted before I became a Christian.” Examples are:
“Before I became a Christian I was a very religious person, but I had a really bad temper.”
“I used to drink a great deal. In fact, I was an alcoholic.”
“Jesus sure has made a difference in my life! At one time, I was living just to make as much money as I possibly could. Oh, I was moral enough….”
The following testimony fits the description we have given of a good personal testimony? The believer:
Tells about his old way of living in about one minute,
Spends just a minute and one half talking about how he came to be a Christian, and
Then takes the last two and one half minutes telling people about the changes that Jesus has made in his life. Total time: 5 minutes.
A good testimony is a witness to Jesus Christ. This means that we want to tell people about our own with Jesus.
After we have told people how we used to think and act, we must go on to tell them how we became a Christian. At this point, there are three special things we ought to share with them. When we tell people how we became a Christian, we want to tell them:
How we heard about Jesus and His Kingdom.
Why we repented/changed and asked Jesus to forgive our sin.
How we asked Jesus to live within our hearts as Lord of our Life.
We should spend more time (1 1/2 minutes) talking about how we became a Christian than we do telling people about our old way of life (1 minute). This may be the only chance they will have to hear how to become a Christian. When we talk about this part of our experience with Jesus Christ, we should turn people’s attention to Jesus by including:
How I about Jesus,
Why I (changed) and Jesus to forgive me.
How I Jesus into my heart as of my .
Although this part of the testimony is very important, it is possible to try to say too much at this point. This is NOT the time to explain everything you are saying. For instance, it is NOT a good idea to try to explain what it means to ask Jesus into your heart as Lord of your life. This can be done After your testimony is finished. Then you will have an opportunity to make clear the things which people have not understood and use them as a bridge to lead someone to experience Jesus Christ in his own life as Lord. For example:
“After my cousin had told me what he had done, I decided that I wanted to do the same thing. So I asked Jesus to come into my life as Lore of it and forgive me.”
In the next part of this lesson we will learn one way to lead people to ask Jesus into their own life as Lord. The things you are learning about the use of a personal testimony can often be the first step in helping others to enter this kingdom. So let’s finish this part with that in mind. We want to sow the seeds of the kingdom in good soil.
In the beginning portion of your testimony you told about the way you thought and acted before you entered the kingdom of heaven. The last part of your testimony is supposed to tell people about the CHANGE Jesus Christ has made in your life. How they are different. For example:
“Before I accepted Jesus into my life I lived an immoral life… Since Jesus has come into my life I have been able to overcome these temptations to be immoral.”
“Everyone knows how proud I was before I became a Christian, but He has made it possible for me to let other people get the credit for things.”
“No, I was not a ‘bad’ person before I became a believer. but I never really had any peace inside. Now that Jesus has come into my life, I have the peace I looked for all those years.”
Five minutes is usually long enough to tell your personal testimony, including all three parts you have learned. After you have finished telling your experience with the Lord, you will often have an opportunity to explain more completely and answer any questions people might have.
Another danger which you ought to avoid is: “Listen, I’m telling you that going to that Church will never do any good. You need to come to MY church and hear the real truth.” This is being negative and not telling about his experience with Jesus. It was not the Church that saved you.
There is a third danger to stay away from. Often people make the mistake of using a lot of Bible words in their testimonies. Of course, since they have not read the Bible as much as you, they will not understand them.
There is another danger to stay away from. Have you ever heard someone who intended to give a testimony, but ended up preaching to people instead? Remember that the purpose of a testimony is to share with people, NOT to preach to them.
Prepare a Five-Minute Testimony which you can enter in the Discussion portion of the site. Be sure to include all three parts of an effective testimony?
Leading Others to Christ
The reason we want to be able to give an effective personal testimony is to:
In other words, we are using our personal testimonies as a means of sowing the Word of God, all the time expecting to get a harvest. What is the harvest we want to get?
Giving our personal testimonies is really a way to get people, to listen to a more complete presentation of the gospel. It does the same thing that an effective Introduction does for a Bible Message. Your personal testimony can be used to:
We are now going to look at the STEPS you can use to lead someone to trust Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and Lord. There are three steps in leading someone to Christ. You already know the first step and have learned to use your personal testimony in this way. The first step in leading someone to Christ is the
The other two steps in leading someone to Jesus are: the presentation of the gospel and asking for a commitment.
However, after you have told people about your own relationship to Jesus Christ, it is wise to get their permission before you go on to tell them the whole gospel.
The reason you want to get permission is simple. If a person does NOT want to hear the gospel, will he or will he not be willing to as Jesus into his life as Lord?
Which of the four kinds of soil in the Parable of the Sower stands for those who do NOT want to hear the gospel?
What happened to the seed which was sown beside the road on the hard soil?
Is it very likely that a person who does not want to hear the Word of God will ask Jesus into his life as Lord? (Yes/No)
The best way to get someone’s permission to tell them the gospel is to end your personal testimony with a Question which can only be answered with a Yes or No. It is not a good idea to ask questions which take a lot of words to answer. Neither should you which asks for the person’s opinion? Example:
Would you like to hear how you can enjoy this same peace in your life too?
Can I share something more with you? Would you like to know how you can overcome your alcoholism?
Have you come to the place in your own life where you know that you have eternal life?
Would you like me to tell you how you can change your life too?
Think about the testimony you prepared in the Homework assignment. In the space below, write two different questions which you can use to get someone’s permission to present the gospel to them.
When the person you are talking to has said “yes” to your question, you can begin to share the second step in leading someone to Christ: the Presentation of the Gospel which has 4 different parts. These parts are:
Man is a sinner and already been judged by God.
God is both just and loving.
Jesus Christ has taken our place and received our judgment.
Eternal Life can be ours through Faith in Christ and making Him the Lord of our Life.
We are going to look briefly at each of these four parts to the presentation of the gospel.
The first part is that man is a sinner and has already been judged. This is followed by the truth that God is both just and loving, and that Jesus Christ has taken our place and received our judgment.. The last part says that
When we present the gospel in this way we want to begin with the fact that man is a sinner and that he has already been judged for that. It is also necessary to explain that God is both just and loving. The next two portions of our gospel presentation are: 3; 4;
After we have given our personal testimony and asked questions which make it possible for us to present the gospel, we begin by talking about man, his sin and the judgment which that sin brings. Then, we go on to teach three more important truths. They are: 2.
We started our personal testimony by telling what our old life was like. Why was our old life like that?
In our testimony we told people that we were not satisfied with our old ways of living. In the first part of the presentation of the gospel, we tell them why this was so. This part also explains why they are living their own life in the way they do. Why do unbelievers live the way they do?
Read Romans 3:10-11 and Romans 3:23. In these verses, the Apostle Paul teaches us that:
Sin is the heart attitude which separates us from God and keeps us from doing His will. Man sinned when he disobeyed God and went away from God’s plan for his life in order to do his own wishes. Read Proverbs 16:25. What is the result of following our own way instead of the perfect way of God?
Now read Genesis 2:16-17. What did God say to Adam about the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden? “… must not eat … for when you eat of it you will surely .
So then, Death is God’s judgment for man’s
There is a difference between Sin and Sins.
Sin is the source of all evil.
Sins are the many individual actions which come as a result of Sin in a person’s life.
Sin is that attitude in our heart which drives us away from God and from His will; to ego and our will. Things such as stealing, drunkenness, worry, adultery, lying, and so on are sins. They are the result of Sin within us (our will to satisfy our ego). (Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10-11) can be used to explain that all people are sinners?
It is possible that someone might answer, after reading Romans 3:23; “I don’t believe that. I have never done anything really bad, I have never hurt anyone nor stolen a single thing, and I always try to live by the Ten commandments. I worship God too.” The best way to show such a person their mistake is to point out the difference between Sin and Sins (God’s control/Ego control). In this space below explain this difference.
The second part of our presentation of the gospel has to do with what is like. Read John 3:16. This verse tells us that:
Now read Romans 3:26. This verse teaches that:
Sometimes you will talk to people who will say something like this: “Well maybe that’s true. Maybe I am a sinner, but I’m no worse than anyone else. Besides, God is a God of love. He will forgive my sin.”
What mistake is this person making?
God is a God of Love. But, as we have seen, He is also a God of Justice.
What verse tells us that God is just? Romans 3:
According to Romans 6:23 and Genesis 2:16-17, what must happen to man because of his sin?
So then, even though God is a God of love:
God is both a God of love and a God of justice. This is the problem which paul writes about in Romans 3:26. Read this verse below as it appears in the “Good News for Modern Man. “but now in the present time he deals with man’s sins, to prove that he puts men right with himself. In this way God shows that he himself is righteous (Just) and that he puts right everyone who believes in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26, TEV) According to this verse from Romans, the problem God faced was how he could keep being Himself and still put right who is a sinner. He needed to change us from a life of Ego control (and its rejection of God’s control) to God’s control of our life. This rejection of God’s control is a direct Sin to God.
The word Righteous means the same as the word “JUST” in this Bible verse. What Bible verse tells us that God is Himself Just and able to make man right with Himself (give him control and pay for the sin of rejecting God’s control)?
Read 1 Peter 3:18. Who was the one just person who suffered for the sins of the unjust?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:19. Who was in Christ reconciling (putting right) man to God?
is is the third part of our presentation of the gospel. Jesus Christ has taken place and received judgment (our punishment for rejecting God’s Control “Sin”).
God Himself was shown in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ to receive the punishment for our sins in His own body. This happened on the cross when He died. What had God said must happen to man because of man’s sin? God said that man would have to
But, Praise God, Jesus Christ died in our place! In Romans 3:26, Paul explains why this had to be: “so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Why did Jesus Christ have to die? Because God had said that man must for sin and in this way God would show that He was and still be able to man.
How was it possible for Jesus, in His death, to take our judgment?
Because He was the only just man and He did not have any sin of His own.
Because He is the only one who has two natures so He could be a bridge between God and man.
Read John 10:10. Why does Jesus say He came into the world? “I have come that they may have , and have it to the full.”
What is the fourth part of our presentation of the gospel? That can be ours through in Jesus Christ.
Now read John 3:14-16. What is necessary to receive eternal life? We must in Jesus Christ.
We have already learned that repentance (change from Ego control to God’s control of our life) and faith (believing with all our heart, mind and soul that Jesus Christ is God (Our Savior and Lord) and that He is in control of our life) are needed for the forgiveness of sins. Which of these two, repentance or faith is:
Change of attitude, leaving Sin (ego control) behind and receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord (Christ’s control)?
Confidence that all of our sins have been forgiven because Jesus died in our place on the cross?
It is often necessary to tell people what we mean by the word faith, Many people will say that they believe that Jesus died on the cross. But, this belief alone is not true faith. In order for someone to have true faith in Jesus Christ (as their Lord), they must accept the fact that Jesus died on their place, and they need to change from ego control to God’s control of their life. Example of real faith:
“I am trusting you with control of my life, Lord Jesus, and for forgiveness for not trusting you sooner, causing me to Sin. I know that I deserved to die for my sin instead of you, so I accept your love and control.”
The purpose of our presentation of the gospel is to tell people in simple words the Bible doctrine of salvation and Lordship (Savior and Lord). However, we must still consider the last step in the gospel message. After we have explained that faith is necessary to receive eternal life, we must go on to ask for a commitment of faith from the person we have been sharing with.
Read Revelation 3:20. Revelation 3:20 uses a symbol which represents the will, the mind, and the emotions of a person. It is through these that Jesus Christ enters into ones whole personality. What is this symbol?
When a person sees that he is a sinner and that God can forgive his sin and change his life through Jesus Christ Lordship over his life, he must then open the door of his life to Christ. What does it mean to “open the door of your life” to Jesus Christ?
Therefore after you have finished your presentation of the gospel and explained faith and the need to open the door of one’s life to Jesus Christ, you must ask the person you have been sharing with another question. Example:
“Would you like to ask Jesus to come into your heart as Lord of your life and forgive your sins?”
Perhaps you will want to phrase your last question something like this: “Our life is much like a house. Jesus is standing at the door knocking, but he will not force His way into control of your life. He will come in and take charge when you ask Him to by releasing your control. Would you like to ask Jesus into your life as Lord of your life right now?”
At other times, someone may ask you: “OK, but how do I do this?” In that case you answer: “We can pray together right now and I will help you. Or if you want to pray by yourself, in your own words, you can do that too. Just tell the Lord that you want to be forgiven for your past sinful life and you want to change by inviting Him to live within you, as Lord of your life.”
Think about how you asked Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior.
Oswald Jeffery Smith
BORN: November 8, 1889
Odessa, Ontario, Canada
DIED: January 25, 1986
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
LIFE SPAN: 96 years, 3 months, 17 days
PASTOR, EVANGELIST, MISSIONARY STATESMAN, author, hymn
writer, world traveler, poet, editor–Oswald J. Smith is one
of the most versatile Christian leaders in the history of the
Christian church. Perhaps never has one man done so many dif-
ferent things well. It all centered in Toronto, Ontario,
where Smith pastored from 1915 to 1959. He raised some
$14,000,000.00 for foreign missions, more than any other pas-
tor in history. Half of this was from his own church.
Smith was a country boy and the eldest of ten chil-
dren of Benjamin and Alice Smith. He had five brothers and
four sisters. Smith was born at home above the train station.
His father was a telegraph operator for the Canadian Pacific
Railway. The family moved from Odessa to Walkerville, to
Woodstock, and finally to Emro. Delicate in health most of
his life, he was not expected to live to manhood. He trduged
one and a half miles to school and attended the local church
and Sunday school.
At age 13 his Sunday school teacher said, “Any of you
boys might be a minister.” He thought in that direction from
that time on. His conversion at age 16 was the result of the
Torrey-Alexander evangelistic team. He had been reading about
the Torrey crusade in Toronto which the newspapers were de-
scribing. The reports of 3,000 gathering only 90 miles away
challenged him to take a trip to Toronto. Attending the Mas-
sey Hall services for a few days, he was saved at the seventh
service–one for boys and young men only, held January 28,
1906. Torrey preached on Isaiah 53:5.
Young Smith soon decided that Toronto was the place
to get a job. For a while he identified with a group of
Christians called the Hornerites. Soon he spoke to a couple
of youth groups in Mount Albert where his family had now
moved, as well as speaking at the Beverly Street Baptist
Church in Toronto. He began to attend Toronto Bible College
evening school. This helped fire him up for mission work, and
he applied to the Presbyterian Church for a mission field ap-
pointment. They rejected the desires of this brash 18-year-
old. He then began to sell Bibles and was very successful in
Then came another chance to preach–at the Severn
Methodist Church–plus two more services in nearby circuit
churches the same day. He then got a call from the Bible So-
ciety in Vancouver–so he was off on a train journey of six
days to western Canada. In September of 1908 he began his
work at Prince Rupert Island, working his way up the coast,
selling Bibles and making contacts for the local pastors,
making calls in remote lumber camps and homes. He soon ended
up at Port Essington some 30 miles away. For the next few
months, Smith sold Bibles and preached to the Indians.
He met a Methodist missionary, G.H. Raley, who wanted
Smith as his associate to minister during the winter to the
Indians at Hartley Bay. Smith got his supplies, which were
$20 worth of food, a small cook stove, an axe, a hammer and
nails, two quilts, a blanket, plus fifteen jars of fruit and
jelly. Arriving at the village, he found it almost covered by
deep snow and as bleak and barren as he had ever seen. Stoic
Indians met him. That winter was the most difficult time of
his life. Soaking clothes and nights of bitter cold followed
as Smith fought with his stove in a desperate effort to keep
the green wood burning and the small quarters warm. This
expeience drove him closer to the Lord and also gave him an
empathy with missionaries and their problems for years to
come. He started a Sunday school, preached twice on Sundays
and four times during the week, plus taught the Indian chil-
dren at school. By April, 1909, he resumed his work selling
Bibles, up and down the coast of British Columbia, plus
preaching wherever he could.
Feeling the need for additional training, he went to
the Manitoba College in Winnipeg in the fall of 1909. Return-
ing home to Mount Albert for the Christmas holidays, his par-
ents and friends heard him preach for the first time. This
was quite a contrast to his previous holiday season, when he
was with a few Indians in the wilds of British Columbia.
Feeling a spiritual lack at the Manitoba school, he
entered Toronto Bible College in the fall of 1910. By late
November, Smith was chosen, along with five other students,
to be one of the speakers at the Students’ Public Meeting.
His subject was “A Call to the Foreign Field,” for his inter-
est in missions was now beginning to grow. On December 8,
1910, he surrendered completely to God. His diary states:
The great struggle is over, I surrendered completely to God.
I now trust that He will send me out to the foreign field. I
do not care if my life is hidden away, unknown by the civi-
lized world, as long as it is known to Him.
At age 21, in January of 1911, he decided to hold a
revival in Toronto–his first extended campaign. He used the
Missionary Tabernacle, prepared 3,000 posters, and prepared
his messages. Five were saved, and on Friday night Jennie
Tyrrell sang. Five years of courtship and engagement fol-
lowed. Soon J. Wilbur Chapman and Charles Alexander held a
large crusade in Massey Hall, where Smith served as an usher
and then as a counselor. Then in mid-summer 1911, he took a
position with the Pocket Testament League of Canada to become
their first traveling secretary, which gave him exposure
throughout various areas in Ontario.
Then in November he became pastor of the Belwood (On-
tario) Congregational Church. A second church at Garafraxa
used his services simultaneously. Graduating from Toronto Bi-
ble College, he went off to Chicago in the fall of 1912 to
begin further studies at McCormick Theological Seminary–a
strong Presbyterian school in those days. In February of 1913
he assumed the pastorship of the Millard Avenue Presbyterian
Church on Chicago’s southwest side. He continued until May,
then decided he would minister amongst the hills of Kentucky.
He was assigned to a place called Cawood, a very small hamlet
consisting of a combined store–post office and one house–as
home base. Again, like British Columbia, it was a lonely min-
istry. Out of these experiences came some of his finest po-
ems, which set the tone for many of his writings in later
years. Towards the end of the summer, revival broke out at a
place called Turtle Creek. His next year at McCormick Semi-
nary (1913-14) saw him pastor the South Chicago Presbyterian
Church also. His engagement to Miss Tyrrell was broken by mu-
tual agreement in March, 1914.
He had begun to write verse in 1906 at age 17, and on
September 5, 1914, he saw his first collection of hymns pub-
lished. D.B. Towner had provided the music. Three days later,
he wrote a well-known hymn, Deeper and Deeper. On April 29,
1915, he graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary, and
on the following night he was ordained in the church where he
pastored. That day he spent in prayer, and he became con-
vinced of two things–his work would be worldwide in coverage
and Toronto would be his home base. He would leave Chicago.
The congregation begged him to stay, but he felt impressed to
take an associate pastor’s position at the Dale Presbyterian
Church in Toronto, where J.D. Morrow pastored.
June 6, 1915, began a lifetime of ministry in Tor-
onto. Smith served with vigor at this work, and was impressed
with one Daisy Billings, who was the senior deaconness of the
church. By the spring of 1916 he was physically exhausted and
had to take a complete rest. He went to Clifton Springs, New
York, for an extended vacation. On September 12, 1916, he
married Daisy Billings in a ceremony at the church by their
pastor J.D. Morrow. Some 2,000 attended. Dale Presbyterian
Church became the center of evangelism. Smith was learning
fast from Morrow and soon was doing considerable preaching
there. Morrow decided to become a chaplain in 1916, and Smith
was made the pastor of this, the second largest Presbyterian
church in Canada. In September of 1917 a real revival came to
the church, which prompted Smith to write A Revival Hymn.
Morrow returned only briefly, but with failing health, he
moved on to California in 1921, where he later died.
Smith’s strong stand began to cause a concern amongst
the liberal element, as has happened so often in history.
Liberals were irritated by the revival meetings, the use of
gospel hymns, the prayer meetings, the $600 raised for mis-
sions. The liberals succeeded in mounting so much pressure
that, in October of 1918, Smith terminated his ministry. The
Smiths’ first son, Glen, was born June 22, 1917. A call was
given to return to British Columbia under the Shantymen’s
Christian Association. Settling his family following their
arrival on April 1, 1919, he began to preach to a needy and
forgotten section of Canada’s society.
However, a vision of Toronto and its masses burned in
his soul, so he returned later in the year and served in var-
ious Christian causes until it was God’s time to open up the
right doors. On February 4, 1920, his only daughter Hope was
born. Smith spent part of this summer in Kentucky again.
Smith, now 30 years of age, decided it was time for
action. Renting the West End YMCA, he started his own ser-
vices in October of 1920, calling the work the Gospel Taber-
nacle. Sixty-four people showed up in the 750-seat auditorium
for the first service. Three months later this new work
merged with the Parkdale Christian and Missionary Alliance
Church, and Smith became the pastor of the new work in Janu-
ary of 1921. On June 1, 1921, their third child, Paul, was
born. (Paul later would succeed his father as pastor of the
famed People’s Church.) A tent meeting to attract attention
did just that when Smith had a “Bring Your Own Chair” shower
on Sunday, July 3. The tent was filled with every kind of
kitchen chair imaginable. A new church building was soon
needed. For $40,000 they built an 80-by-130-foot auditorium
seating 1,800. Paul Rader dedicated it on May 14, 1922, and
the new work was called the Alliance Tabernacle.
He packed the auditorium by giving the people some-
thing they couldn’t get any other place–variety. The best
evangelists and singers in North America were constantly
streaming across his platform. Establishing this kind of pro-
gram made it easier for him to be gone weeks and months at a
time later, because the people were used to different men
filling the pulpit. He was now getting calls for many minis-
tries elsewhere. The Alliance Tabernacle of New York called
him to succeed A.B. Simpson, but he declined.
One of the speakers at his church was William Fetler
of the Russian Missionary Society, who had a burden for the
Russian origin populace of the Baltic countries, who were
ripe for the Gospel. Smith sailed on July 2, 1924, on his
first of many trips outside the continent. Smith and Fetler
had great meetings, with many of the auditoriums seating over
2,000 in such places as Latvia and Poland.
Back in Toronto with additional influence the church
grew until at times 1,000 would be turned away from a ser-
vice. Smith pioneered soul-winning in Toronto. Gospel sing-
ing, intense evangelistic crusades, with a teaching ministry
on Wednesday and Friday nights, continued to inspire the
Christians throughout the area. Smith resigned in 1926 and
did a year’s worth of evangelistic efforts. In April, 1927,
he accepted a call to the Gospel Tabernacle of Los Angeles,
But Toronto continued to be in his heart. Even though
he was drawing crowds of up to 2,200 and his church offered
to build a 3,000-seat auditorium if he remained, he left in
April, 1928, to go “back home.”
Most people start at the bottom and work up–but not
Smith. He rented Massey Hall and, on September 9, 1928, at
this first service, he faced an audience of nearly 2,000 peo-
ple. The Cosmopolitan Tabernacle was born, the crowds grew
and so did the number of converts. On January 13, 1929, he
was off to the Baltic countries for his second trip, now at
the invitation of Paul Rader. He visited many countries this
time. In Latvia over 2,000 were saved and one night a crowd
of 1,300 sang his song Saved, which was the first time he had
heard one of his songs in a foreign tongue.
He returned to Massey Hall, then on March 30, 1930,
they moved to a permanent address–the empty 1,500-seat St.
James Square Presbyterian Church on Gerrard Street East. It
was now called the Toronto Gospel Tabernacle. He put the
church on radio and kicked off the new work with a missionary
convention. Soon it grew and he decided to move once again to
the empty Central Methodist Church on July 1, 1934, and once
again took on a new name–The Peoples Church, 100 Bloor
Street East–a name that became famous from that time on.
Smith was now pastoring the largest church in Canada,
and was often quoted in the media. Music was at its best, the
Back Home Hour broadcast followed the evening service, the
missionary conventions, the evangelistic crusades all helped
bring in the crowds. The annual missionary conference going
often for a full month was to eventually get $300,000 annu-
ally in faith promise offerings–a technique Smith widely and
successfully utilized. The convention was loaded with mottos
and displays from various missionaries. A large thermometer
told the congregation how they were doing toward their goal.
Evangelism was emphasized. Soon, nearly 500 were
saved each year, besides those from the radio broadcast. El-
don B. Lehman was an early musical director and had a choir
of 135 voices and an orchestra of 40 pieces. Sometimes the
evening crowds would be higher than the morning. Curtailing
newspaper advertising for several years did not hold the
crowds back. They had a $40,000 pipe organ that took too much
space, so they sold it and built a second gallery. A 1944
evangelism crusade was moved to Massey Hall, and eventually
to Maple Leaf Gardens. Over 11,000 people attended two Sunday
On January 1, 1959, Smith turned over the reins of
pastoring to his son Paul, while still enjoying such titles
as founder, missionary pastor, pastor emeritus. It was in
1963 that the church was sold for $650,000 and a new church
was built in the suburbs of Willowdale, where he resided. The
original investment in the former church was only $75,000, so
that in essence Smith and his associates were given a brand
new church worth $575,000 absolutely free. How can anyone
else get something like this? Smith replied, “All you have to
do is give $5,000,000.00 to foreign missions over a 25-year
period and God will give you a $500,000.00 church.”
Smith’s hymn writing had been an outlet for his feel-
ings and emotions in hours of deepest depression and heart-
ache. Jesus Only and Christ Is Coming Back Again were some of
the early songs. One of his songs, Saved, written in 1917,
was the first of his hymns to gain universal attention. More
than 1,200 hymn-poems followed, with musical settings by Ack-
ley, Stebbins, Harkness, Towner, and other famed composers,
with C.M. Alexander as publisher.
After Towner and Alexander died there was a lull un-
til he met B.D. Ackley in 1930. Hymn after hymn Smith wrote
and sent to him. Ackley provided music that fit the words and
they began to be published by the Rodeheaver-Hall-Mack Com-
pany. From 1931 to 1946 there were 73 hymns that the two
worked on together and that were successfully published. They
became favorites overnight, and people everywhere were sing-
Smith brought well-known Christian songs to the pub-
lic year after year: In 1931, Joy in Serving Jesus; 1932, The
Saviour Can Solve Every Problem; 1933, A Revival Hymn; 1934,
The Glory of His Presence; 1935, Take Thou O Lord; 1936, His
Love Is All My Plea; 1937; God Understands; 1938, The Song of
the Soul Set Free; 1939, The Need of the World Is Jesus;
1940, Then Jesus Came; 1941, A Wedding Prayer; 1942,
His 1,200 hymns and poems made him one of the most
widely used song writers. A few of the stories behind the
hymns: The Glory of His Presence, written in 1934 in the mid-
dle of the night; God Understands came as a result of Smith’s
youngest sister, Ruth, and her husband, Cliff Bicker’s, plans
to come home from Peru on their first furlough from mission-
ary work. Just before leaving Bicker was killed in an automo-
bile accident. Then Jesus Came was written in 1939 in Phila-
delphia. Homer Rodeheaver had asked for a song depicting the
change in men when Jesus came. He soon had a new solo to
sing. A.H. Ackley gave Smith the music for The Song of the
Soul Set Free and soon had the words for this widely used
To sum it up seems as though you are describing the
work of several men: As a pastor Smith had ministered in Tor-
onto since 1915. His congregation numbered about 3,500. About
2,000 attended the services, often three times each Sunday.
As an evangelist, he preached in the greatest
churches in the world, and held some of the largest campaigns
ever held in many places of the world.
As a missionary statesman, he led his church in a
program that by the mid 1970s netted over $700,000.00 annu-
ally–the figure grew every year–for foreign missions, more
than any church on the face of the earth. This helped to sup-
port 350 missionaries from 35 faith missionary societies in
40 countries of the world. He stimulated this kind of program
via the missionary convention route in scores of churches.
As an author, he published some 35 books which have
sold over a million copies. The only other author to surpass
this volume in the history of his publishing company–Mar-
shall, Morgan and Scott of England–is G. Campbell Morgan.
His books, The Passion for Souls and The Cry of the World,
are the most challenging and practical books on missions ever
written. Other titles are: The Man God Blesses, The Work God
Blesses, The Revival We Need, and scores more, published in
As an editor, he published a magazine, The People’s
Magazine, for 36 years, which enjoyed a worldwide
As a radio preacher, his church services were carried
by as many as 42 stations at a time. In later years he con-
ducted “Radio Missionary Conventions” in major cities across
the United States and Canada, challenging Christians and
raising funds for the World Literature Crusade movement, of
which he was honorary president.
As a world traveler, he toured 72 countries. His
first major overseas tour was in 1924 when he visited nine
countries in Europe.
Tours after that included: 1929, England, France,
Belgium, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Estonia,
Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Switzerland; 1932, England, France,
Spain, Egypt, Palestine, India, Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula,
the Dutch East Indies, French Somaliland, and Ethiopia; 1936,
England, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Den-
mark, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Yu-
goslavia, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Scotland; 1938, Ha-
waii, Samoa, Fiji, Australia, the Solomon Islands, and New
Zealand; 1941, Jamaica; 1946, England, Ireland, Scotland,
Wales; 1948, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium,
France, Italy, Germany, Iceland, and back to Jamaica; 1949,
Scotland, Ireland, England, and Iceland; 1950, England, Bel-
gium, Norway, Scotland, Germany, and Denmark; 1955, Azores,
Portugal, Senega, Liberia, the Gold Coast, Congo, Rhodesia,
South Africa, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Egypt, Italy, France,
England, Scotland, and Newfoundland.
Over 7,000 were converted in South Africa. Another
tour in 1957 to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Equador, Co-
lombia, and Panama, consisted of the largest united evangel-
istic campaigns in the history of South America, and saw some
4,500 conversions. Here the 67-year-old Oswald J. Smith
preached to crowds averaging 15,000 nightly at the Luna Park
indoor fight arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Three times
over 20,000 attended. Three hundred churches participated and
over 1,500 decisions were registered here.
Another tour took place in 1959, covering Iceland,
Norway, Sweden, Finland, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Dur-
ing this trip he was received in Buckingham Palace. Then,
later in the year, Smith went to Japan; to Hong Kong, preach-
ing to 3,000 nightly; and to Hawaii.
In 1960, it was on to Alaska and then to Japan, where
1,000 decisions for Christ were made in the 2,200-seat Kyor-
itz Hall auditorium campaign in Tokyo. In 1961, Smith visited
Hawaii, Fiji, and Australia, where over 1,000 young people
volunteered for foreign service. Later in the year it was
England, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Rhodesia, South Africa, and
Sudan. In 1962 he visited Iceland, and in 1963, Ireland, Eng-
land, and Wales.
Smith nearly died on three of his trips because of
poor health, which as stated earlier plagued him all his
Why such energy and talent given so unreservedly to
Christ? Smith replied with a motto he originated that has be-
come world-famous: “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice
before everyone has heard it once?”
On November 1, 1972, his beloved Daisy went to heaven
after 56 years of marriage.
Smith had preached his first sermon in a small Meth-
odist church in the village of Muskoka in 1908. Nearly three-
quarters of a century and some 12,000 sermons later, he
preached his last sermon at the Peoples Church in December,
1981–at the age of 92.
Bedridden for the last months of his life, he died at
the age of 96. His funeral was Thursday, January 30, 1986, at
the Peoples Church in Toronto. It featured the singing of
George Beverly Shea and the preaching of Billy Graham.
He slipped away to be with the Lord, and Oswald J.
Smith experienced what he wrote:
I have seen Him, I have known Him,
For He deigns to walk with me;
And the glory of His presence
Will be mine eternally.
O the glory of His presence,
O the beauty of His face,
I am His and His forever,
He has won me by His grace.
Some of Dr. Oswald J. Smith’s favorite missionary
mottoes–allegedly originated by him–were the following:
You must go or send a substitute.
If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you
refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will
Attempt great things for God, expect great things
Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice before every-
one has heard it once?
Give according to your income lest God make your in-
come according to your giving.
Now let me burn out for Christ.
The church which ceases to be evangelistic will soon
cease to be evangelical.
This generation can only reach this generation.
The light that shines farthest shines brightest
Not how much of my money will I give to God, but, how
much of God’s money will I keep for myself.
The supreme task of the Church is the evangelization
of the world.