Johnny Appleseed, the Evangelist


Five Fold Spirit Of Evangelism

This book was read to me often as a child!

Johnny Appleseed, an American frontier legend, is known for wearing a tin pot for a cap and planting apple seeds throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Ontario. Jonathan Chapman, alias Johnny Appleseed, planted nurseries rather than orchards and left them to a pioneer to sell the trees on shares or sold the land and orchard to a settler. A frontier law required 50 apple trees to be planted if one wanted to settle a land claim. Chapman would plant 50 or more trees then build a fence around them to prevent animals from entering. He owned more than 1200 acres when he died. Chapman was also an avid missionary for the New Church (Swedenborgian), visiting remote frontier cabins wherever he went. Ironically, his tart green apples were excellent for making hard cider, and many of his trees fell to the ax during the Prohibition period of American history.

Johnny was known for planting seeds, literally and spiritually. Being transient he left the maintenance, upkeep, reaping and transaction of selling trees and apples to local settlers. He was never at one place very long, for he would move on in an effort to plant even more trees and establish more nurseries.

He, like a five fold evangelist, majored in planting seeds and birthing.  His constant movement to a new location to establish yet another new nursery or grove of apple trees left the pastoral care of his trees to others who would reap the benefits.

Evangelists are relentless in their zeal to plant spiritual seeds and win new souls to Jesus Christ. It is not that the maintenance of these nurseries was not important; it was the drive, the zeal to plant new trees and birth new souls that drove Jonathan Chapman forward. That pioneer spirit is what drove Americans to this new frontier and drives evangelists to birth new ministries even today.

Often an evangelist is a pioneer, forging ahead into an unknown wilderness to birth a new life or a new business. Sowing seeds is his method; birthing newness and life is his ambition. John Chapman, alias Johnny Appleseed, did both.