"What Possessed Him?" - by Rev. Weldon Bares


Francis Asbury was an amazing man. He began preaching when he was 18 years old. He traveled to America in 1771. During his journey across the ocean, he asked himself, “Whither am I going? To the New World. What to do? I am going to live to God, and to bring others to do so.”

He was one of the first two Bishops in the Methodist Church in America. During his ministry, he traveled over 130,000 miles on horseback. Amazingly, he crossed the Allegheny Mountains at least sixty times. He traveled to almost every state in the country once a year. He preached over 16,000 sermons.


A recent article stated: “He traveled more extensively across the American landscape than probably any other American of his day. He was more widely recognized face to face than any person of his generation, including such national figures as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.” (Good News Magazine, December 2021, page 33)


I have to ask the question, why did he do that? What possessed this man to pour his life into the people of early America?


I believe we have an answer. Francis Asbury had a burning desire to reach lost people with the good news of Christ. What possessed him? He had a genuine love for people who were hurting . What possessed him? God’s Holy Spirit possessed him and propelled him to be the spiritual leader that Methodism and America desperately needed.


Under his leadership the Methodist Church in colonial America grew from 1,200 people to over 214,000 members and 700 ordained preachers. I don’t know about you, but I pray to be possessed like Francis Asbury!