Last week, we started looking at different preachers and evangelists starting with Dwight Moody. With this intention still in mind, I want to still continue looking and examining at these individuals who have made a name for themselves when it comes to evangelism. This week, we are going to look at a man named Ira David Sankey (1840-1908). One interesting thing about Sankey is that he wasn’t always an evangelist. While he was born of a prominent state senator, banker, editor, and even a member of the Internal Revenue Service collection staff under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Sankey was a soldier fighting in the Civil War for the Union Army from 1860 to 1862). After his time serving in the army, he started to work in the IRS as an agent. In 1871, Sankey began his ministry career as a singing evangelist. What? A singing evangelist? Indeed he was. He served alongside Dwight Moody for more than 30 years. Moody picked Sankey as a song leader when they attended a convention up at the Indianapolis YMCA in 1871. Since then, they have served within evangelism. He is commonly referred as the “father of gospel music.” (Sorry Elvis). When these two men teamed up, they became the first ever evangelistic preacher-singer team. They traveled all over the world, including the two years that Moody spent in Great Britain as part of the Moody Crusades. In the late 1870s, a new genre of music, known as the gospel song or gospel hymn, came into play. Since then, there have been a wide variety of artists have dipped their feet into the gospel music arena such as Elvis Presley, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Josh Turner, and a whole lot more.
I want to challenge you to think about what it means to step out in faith. Not too long ago, I spoke about this idea during my sermon “Step Out of the World, Step into His Word” referring from Matthew 14:22-33. In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus tells us to go into the world and make disciples of all nations as well as baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, He is telling us to step out of the boat of familiarity and comfort and step into the direction and obedience of Christ. He is the one who will provide for us, not the world nor the things of this world. Ask yourself: Am I staying in the boat or am I stepping out of it?
Heavenly Father, I pray for Your continuous strength and wisdom as we continue to do the things that You have called us to. As we grow Your Kingdom, let us not be ashamed of it. Instead, let us embrace it and let Your word shine before others so that the darkness will flee and Your light will shine through. In Jesus name I pray, amen.