Author, Large Church Promoter - 1926 to 2001
| Although, Jack
Hyles began preaching at the age of nineteen, his first pastorates in Texas
did not bring him any particular notice until he burst forth onto the scene
at the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. It was there
that the then young pastor came to the forefront in the fundamental Baptist
movement due to his leadership in building a large Sunday school ministry
and getting his first sermons published. He saw the church grow from
a membership of 44 to over 4,000 during his seven year long pastorate.
| From there, Hyles was called
to First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (1959 to 2001). The steel
mills of the midwest were quite a change from the flat lands and culture
of the Lone Star state. Not only did Hyles take over a rather flamboyant
ministry supported by the elite of the city but one that was tied into
a convention that he thought to be too liberal for his fundamentalist views.
His approach was simple. He went to work winning every lost soul
to Christ that he and his assistant pastor could find. In a relatively
short time, His new congregation out-numbered the original membership.
A showdown vote took place and Hyles' group came out victorious.
From that day to this, the church has been a beacon of fundamentalism.
He saw it continue to grow to over 100,000 in attendance with some 50,000
baptisms during his last five years of ministry.
The church has been known
for having what has been proclaimed as the "World's Largest Sunday School."
It was Hyles who also brought the concept of purchasing large numbers of
used school busses to transport children to Sunday School. His 37
annual week-long "Pastor's School" were a powerful venue to share his philosophy
of church growth. As a result, thousands of pastors took his ideas
back to their churches and many went on to experience unusual growth.
Hardly a fundamental Baptist church could be found that did not have either
a few or a whole fleet of busses.
Hyles was also a promoter
of the Christian school movement. He founded the Hyles-Anderson College
and Hammond Baptist Schools. Both of these educational ministries
continue to graduate well prepared young people who are more than ready
to serve God and country.
During his ministry, Hyles
authored 49 books and pamphlets. Many of them were his published
Sunday sermons in the tradition of C.H.Spurgeon. One of his first
books, "Let's Go Soul Winning" was widely circulated and was the inspiration
to an entire generation of fundamental Baptists to go reach the lost for
Dr. Hyles was indeed a fundamentalist.
He had very strong opinions about every major issue of the day; religious
and otherwise. He might even be thought of as having been radical
by some of his own Baptist brethren. However, the one thing that
marked his ministry, regardless of what others may say, was a tremendous
love for God and God's people. As a result, he was both accessible
and available to both. He was filled with compassion and passion.
He loved his people and they loved him in return.
Hyles has been quoted to
have said, "When a man catches on fire for God, people will come from miles
around to watch him burn."
Jack Hyles was on fire and
God used him to set an entire generation of Baptists on fire for Him.