Creating A Spiritual Legacy
As I read about her, Henrietta Mears made my list of people with whom I’d love to break bread. People have described her as a stocky, 5’4”, loudly dressed POWERHOUSE with coke-bottle glasses, wild flapper-era hats, and a solid faith. Her resounding, take-charge voice was unmistakable and commanded the attention of everyone in the room. Born about 1890, Henrietta Mears came from a long line of ancestors who’d lived for God. Her parents were no exception.
Henrietta watched her mother begin every morning with prayer and learned what it was to become a Christian by the age of 7. At 12, she contracted a painful, crippling case of muscular rheumatism. For the most part immobile, she had to be carried from place to place. Three years later, at her request, a local minister came to pray with her, and Henrietta was completely healed! She chose to attend college, despite doctors warning her that the increased strain on her poor eyes might very well cause blindness.
Once again, she placed ALL her needs in God’s hands. She completed a degree in chemistry and worked in public schools for many years, teaching Sunday school & Bible classes on weekends and evenings. In 1928, Henrietta was asked to serve as Minister of Christian Education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. When she got there, she felt the teaching materials for Sunday school were sorely lacking (and boring!), so she wrote her own Bible-based curriculum for Kindergarten through adult!
Pretty soon, church after church and group after group; was asking for copies, Gospel Light Publications was born. In two year’s time, the Hollywood Sunday school enrollment went from 450 to over 4200! Through her dynamic, practical teachings from The Word of God, Henrietta touched the world. Among her protégés were people like Dawson Troutman (founder of the Navigators), Bill & Vonette Bright (who began the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry), Jim Rayburn (director of Young Life), and Billy Graham. Following in a lineage of those serving God, she left a spiritual legacy of immeasurable impact on the world. Henrietta Mears encourages us from the Great Cloud of Witnesses to meet with our Lord Daily; that we can put spiritual boots on the ground – in our neighborhood – and around the globe!