After 100 Years: A Vision Still Lives

One hundred years ago on November 6, 1918, the young life of a visionary missions mobilizer in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) prematurely ended. The extraordinary missions influence L. Howard Juillerat was cut short by the global influenza pandemic of 1918. It is estimated that 70 million people worldwide died in that horrible plague. Those seventy million, and millions more of his generation, were carried constantly on his compassionate heart.

By Grant McClung

Juillerat, only 32 years old when he died, was an energetic and convincing world missions promoter through his eloquent sermons and prolific writings. As a regular contributor to the Church of God Evangel, he constantly called for greater missions involvement. His sudden death shocked and saddened his church family. The Evangel mourned and honored him by noting that:

The heathen across the sea have lost a friend whom they never saw, but who, as a lawyer at the bar, plead for them with tongue and pen with such fiery eloquence and tremendous earnestness as we have seldom seen. The poor and the outcast, the unloved classes, have lost a friend whose interest in their welfare he made known to them by visiting with them, praying for them and helping them in various ways.

Juillerat had served as the chairman of the committee on foreign missions at the General Assemblies of 1916 and 1917 where he spoke on world evangelization. His sermon, “The Spirit of Missions,” was to be preached at the 1918 General Assembly but the conference was cancelled that year by the same flu epidemic that took his life before he could deliver the message.

Thankfully, the sermon manuscript – technically the “sermon that was never preached” – was preserved and published posthumously by his wife in a booklet called Gems of Religious Truth. It was carried forward for this generation in A Treasury of Pentecostal Classics, a centennial collection of classic Church of God writings edited by James A. Cross (Pathway Press 1985).

According to Historian Charles W. Conn, Juillerat, “…was one of the greatest agitators for a vigorous missions program the Church has ever had” (Where The Saints Have Trod: A History of Church of God Missions, Pathway Press 1959). Through the “missionary” called the printed page, and through the missional DNA that is integral to the mission and vision of the Pentecostal experience, the call to action in “The Spirit of Missions” does live on and is being preached over and over again from thousands of pulpits every week in every corner of the globe.

Like L. Howard Juillerat, the articulate advocate from our past, let us emulate his example of preaching, writing, and mobilizing for the completion of the Great Commission in this generation. Let us “write the vision” and “make it plain” so a new generation may run with the message.

Dr.Grant McClung is President of Missions Resource Group ( and Missiological Advisor to the World Missions Commission of the Pentecostal World Fellowship. He is an International Missionary Educator with Church of God World Missions.

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