Georgia Christian Missionary Rally
March 22nd-23rd, 2014, 6 p.m. nightly
PO Box 649
Austell, GA 30106
That’s a fair question. Where did it come from? How did it begin? What is its purpose? Those are fair questions too and I will do my best to answer them in this brief article.
Several years ago, we had just concluded the 43rd annual Georgia Christian Missionary Rally. And we were still basking in the glow and excitement it generated for worldwide missions when John Vernon, Director of Jesus’ Place (an inner-city mission to the homeless in Atlanta), offered the benediction at the close of the evening session. As he did, he exclaimed, “Wow! It’s obvious the Georgia Christian Missionary Rally is alive and well!” Everyone present concurred.
As chairman of the Rally I know it is a lot of hard work, but I can’t help but thank God for the vision of those faithful souls who gave the Rally life more than fifty years ago. I wonder if they had any idea how much the Rally would grow over the years or what a tremendous blessing it would become.
The first Rally was held on January 17-19, 1956, and was hosted by the First Christian Church in Forest Park, Georgia. The theme was, “The Truth Shall Make You Free” based on John 8:32. Autrey Jackson, the host minister, and the Ladies’ Circle of the Forest Park church, laid the groundwork and spearheaded the effort to establish the Rally.
After a couple of years, leadership for the Rally was provided by a mission group at Atlanta Christian College known as “World Volunteers.” Since 1960 a committee, formed from members of the area churches, has functioned well to plan and promote the Rally.
During that first Rally in 1956, Denver Sizemore delivered the keynote address titled, “Preparing To Proclaim The Truth” and Art Morris, missionary to India, spoke on, “Truth At Work In India.” His message was the first missionary address in the long history of the Rally. Others who appeared on the opening program were Betty (Yarbrough) Turner, Mrs. Vance Stevens, John Kernan, Harrold McFarland, Robert Puckett and Robert O. Weaver. The closing message was preached by Leland Tyrrell. Attendance ran over 200 and no record of offerings could be found. From those humble beginnings the Georgia Christian Missionary Rally was launched.
The second Rally, held in 1957, was hosted by Northwest Christian Church on January 22-24, then it was hosted by Capital View Christian Church in 1958. On March 3-5, 1959, the Rally moved to East Point Christian Church. Southwest Christian Church hosted the Rally in 1960 and 1961 and then it was moved back to East Point Christian where it continued to be held for the next thirty-five years. In 1997 the committee returned the Rally to Southwest Christian Church. The warm hospitality and generous support of these churches cannot be minimized in the growth and success of the Rally. These gracious hosts are to be commended for serving in so many ways. Their willingness to volunteer their time, energy and facilities down through the years has been a tremendous source of blessing and encouragement for this missionary event.
One important feature that has been added to the Rally over the years is the scheduling of “SATELLITE RALLIES” that are scattered all over the state. Rather than expect people to travel to the Atlanta area to attend the main sessions, the committee decided to “take the Rally to the people.” We do that by sending out guest speakers to any Church desiring to have a “missions emphasis program. These “rallies” have added an entirely new dimension to the Rally and we have scheduled such programs in Churches all over the state. Missionaries appreciate it because it affords them with more occasions to share their work for Christ. And the churches are equally grateful for them because it allows their members to hear about the work of missionaries they may not even support and might never have met otherwise.
No Missionary Rally would be complete without a DISPLAY AREA.“One of the best parts of the Rally is the display area. Each year people get to see the work of global missions by viewing the displays and visiting personally with the missionaries.” This year the gymnasium at PTCC/East Point will be the site of displays featuring all types of missions from all over the world.
How do you measure the effectiveness or success of a Missionary Rally? Well, setting goals and running the numbers is one way. But the Rally is so much more.
It is REVIVAL. I attended one satellite meeting where an offering of nearly $800 was announced at the end of the service, only to hear one man near the back stand up and declare, “I’ll make it an even $1,000 if you’ll let the missionary preach longer!” When was the last time you heard that comment at the close of a church service?
It is also REUNION. It’s not uncommon to see old friends and former members hugging in the hallways, smiling, laughing and catching up on what’s new in their lives or planning a joint mission project. One of the sweetest blessings is to personally meet and visit with the missionaries whose furlough time in the states is so limited.
The Rally is REFRESHING too. It gives encouragement … lots of it. If offers inspiration to those who sometimes feel all alone in their work for Christ. It disseminates information and makes known the special needs a missionary may have or ways in which churches and individuals can become more personally involved. It fosters opportunities for prayer, fellowship, worship and praise.
Why have a missionary Rally? Why go to all the work and trouble? Why invest all the time, effort and expense? Why? Because Jesus said, before He ascended into Heaven, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15,16) (NIV). Everything about the Missionary Rally helps to carry out that mandate from our Lord.
"To be a vehicle through which workers will be sent to the whole world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ"
PO Box 649
Austell, GA 30106