Sunday, February 27, 2011

The First Baptist Missionary: Not Who You Would Think

I just finished writing a paper about a missionary that I had never heard of before. Many of us, maybe all of us, think of names like Adoniram Judson, or William Carey, or Luther Rice when we think about early missionaries. But George Lisle? He pre-dated Judson by almost twenty years. He was a freed slave that became the first Baptist missionary from the US. He planted a church in Jamaica back when it was still a slave country, around 1782. It can be said that this unsung hero of missionary work was a truly dedicated man of God. In order to provide passage for himself and his wife and children, George actually "sold himself" back into slavery. He became an indentured servant to a British Colonel Kirkland, and worked for him for two years to earn his freedom back. I can't think of many white missionaries that would be so willing to go, that they would literally give up their freedom for service to Jesus.

George Lisle made a huge impact on the Kingdom of Christ. He discipled slaves and whites, baptized hundreds, pastored the poor and those who would further impact the world. He did this much like his Lord. With no formal education, he taught himself to read the Bible, started churches with no organized missional support, shared the gospel with thousands, and saw many preachers and missionaries spring forth as the fruits of his labor.

All I can say is that I wish I would have heard of him sooner.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Ah, but you can do so much having known about him now! I wish missions were like that sometimes...just do whatever it takes to get the Gospel out, you know?