Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell ... Remembered

``He was a man who set a direction. He was someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. We all have great respect for him ... he is a person who told you what he thought, and you knew where he stood.'' - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

``Over the years we became friends; sometimes we had polar opposite points of view. ... I have many fond memories of him. He leaves a great legacy of service and a great university behind. He's left his footprints in the sands of time.'' - The Rev. Jesse Jackson.

``Jerry Falwell was a close personal friend for many years. We did not always agree on everything, but I knew him to be a man of God. His accomplishments went beyond most clergy of his generation. Some of my grandchildren have attended and currently attend Liberty University. He leaves a gigantic vacuum in the evangelical world.'' - Evangelist Billy Graham.


For all his other accomplishments, Jerry Falwell was first a church planter.

Shortly after graduating from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, Jerry Falwell returned home to plant the Thomas Road Baptist Church with $1,000 and an initial congregation of 35 adults and their families in an abandoned building that had housed the Donald Duck Bottling Company.

Falwell began building his church in 1956. Carrying a yellow legal pad and a Bible, he set out to visit 100 homes a day, knocking on doors to share the Gospel and invite people to become part of this new church. Eventually, he personally knocked on every door in that city.

Everything else, the TV ministry that spanned the globe, the university serving 20,000 students and even the Moral Majority, flowed from that first commitment.

Church planters --- the leading edge!