America's First Evangelists:
America was known for its Frontier which was vast in size, small in population, yet there emerged a brand of Christian whose passion was to win the lost no matter where in the wooded mountains or grassland parries they inhabited. Colonial America featured professional clergy who fretted this new breed of "uneducated" "itinerant" preachers trained in "Log College" in the woodlands of Pennsylvania. This new breed of Christian would ride anywhere in any weather to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their initial visits to the frontier were a forerunner for all the little white churches with steeples that would become the tapestry of early America.
These were the first Americans willing to leave the comfort and confines of their "houses of worship" to follow the Great Commission to "be sent out", thus changing the face of America as well as its cultural soul. How easy is it to "camp" and get established in our "houses of worship", "churches" as most call them, wanting the lost to "come in" to our "house" rather than those in the "house" being sent out to the lost world.
It is scary leaving the safety of our religious confines. Once a Christian Counselor had a prophetic vision about me personally. He said that he "saw me in a cage with its door wide open, but I did not chose to jump out of it." For the longest time we prayed about the meaning of his vision until one day its meaning became crystal clear. My whole life I had been caged in "church", being a good Christian Church kid, then adult. My religious training molded me into the cage of my church's denominational mentality. There was safety staying within the religious confines of my youth.
I was petrified of doing street evangelism, or even talk one-on-one with someone about Jesus. I could talk generally about God, but Jesus. I boasted that my lifestyle was my witness, while my tongue remained silent. The first time I ever verbally shared the salvation message to an individual was to a Hispanic boy on his bike, who said nothing, nodded his head, and rode off. I wonder if he knew English! That moment was more for me than him. Since then I have opted to jump out of my cage in freedom. My tongue has been set free.
I need to free the Evangelistic Spirit in my own life, become a Circuit Rider, going outside the confines of "the house of worship", in any weather, down any street, in any town that the Holy Spirit leads me. We so bad want "revival" to hit our "churches", but are unwilling to leave our "churches" to bring "revival". The cage door is open. Circuit Riders were never promised safety from the elements of weather or the hostility of a disagreeing mob or the criticism from the established Church. Take the risk, jump out that open door, ride the ride of 'faith" and enjoy a journey that you will share with your grandchildren later in life.
I salute the Circuit Riders of yesteryear, and those who are willing to be this centuries Circuit Riders.