Adult and Youth Bible Study in Five Parts - God’s Call to Mission: The Haystack Story celebrates the 200th anniversary of the beginning of international mission work. This study encourages participants to recognize God’s call within their own lives and the lives of others through the lens of the Haystack Event.
God’s Call to Mission: The Haystack Story
A Five Part Study Commemorating
The 200th Anniversary of
The Haystack Meeting
Prepared by Rev. Jennifer and Rev. Dr. Rick Russell
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Haystack Meeting, Global Ministries has created a number of resources to help local churches reclaim an important piece of mission history. The Haystack Meeting led to the formation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), the first Protestant mission organization from the United States to send mission personnel overseas.
A group of students at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts were in the practice of gathering together regularly for prayer out-of-doors. A sudden thunderstorm drove them to seek shelter on the lee side of a great haystack. Their names were Byram Green, Harvey Loomis, Samuel J. Mills, James Richards, and Francis L. Robbins.
As the rain came down they experienced a sense of call and prayed God’s message might spread to foreign lands, especially to the East. All of them felt strongly that the world would be a better place if the Gospel of Jesus Christ was known to the ends of the earth. One of their number, Harvey Loomis, thought the idea of global mission too risky. He believed it would be safer and better to bring the Gospel to those in the United States.
In 1808 Samuel Mills and others formed The Brethren; a society (in the language of the time) organized to “effect, in the persons of its members, a mission to the heathen.” Their enthusiasm for overseas mission led to the establishment of the ABCFM in 1810. In 1812 the Board’s first mission personnel, Rev. and Mrs. Adoniram Judson, Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Newell, Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Nott, Rev. Gordon Hall, and Rev. Luther Rice were commissioned and sailed to Calcutta, India.
This study will encourage participants to recognize God’s call within their own lives and the lives of others. Through the lens of the Haystack Event we will see how a passion for mission was born out of prayer. This study is divided into five parts, each approximately an hour and a half in length. Additional resources on the Haystack Meeting are available here.