Monday, November 11, 2013
The Modern Missionary Movement started in Colonial Times
Tamera Lynn Kraft
America is well known for the modern missionary movement. The missionary movement is credited with starting in the mid 1800s, but it really started with a 100 year prayer movement in colonial times. The people who started this movement were called the Moravians.
In 1727, a group of Moravians in Saxony started a round the clock prayer meeting that lasted 110 years. By 1737, Moravians had settled in Savannah, Georgia to share the Gospel. At this time, they met John Wesley, from the first Great Awakening and had a profound impact on his ministry.
In 1741, the Moravians moved to an estate owned by John Whitfield, another preacher from the Great Awakening, and started ministering to the Delaware Indians in the region. They established the town of Bethlehem and Nazareth in Pennsylvania and moved throughout the colonies sharing the Gospel wherever they went.
By 1772, the Delaware were being pushed into Ohio, and the Moravians followed them. They set up two villages there, one in Schoenbrunn and one in Gnadenhutten. They risked great dangers, not only from the other tribes but from the British forces once the Revolutionary War began. The British accused the Moravians of informing the colonialist about troop movements, a charge that was true.
The Moravians finally abandoned their villages to move on because of the dangers, but when the converted Delaware returned to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops, they were massacred by American soldiers who mistakenly thought they were raiders.
There aren't that many Moravian in the United States today because the left America to evangelize other parts of the world. But they are a huge part of the missionary movement in America and paved the way for other missionaries.
On December 1st, my Christmas novella published by Harbourlight is being released. It's about one missionary family in Schoenbrunn and they dangers they faced. It's called A Christmas Promise.