Early Ministry


    Soon after his healing experience, Oral began preaching "with some other Pentecostal Holiness youngsters from the area" during the summer.  Oral wasted no time in beginning to answer his call to preach.  When his friends returned to school, Oral decided to join up with his father, Ellis, and his revival meetings (Harrell, 36).  This was a very big step in Oral's life because he was relatively new to his faith and was not sure where he could be of service to his father.  This team of father and son took some time to gel together for both to be able to contribute to the cause, especially Oral.  Many knew of Ellis Roberts, and his reputation as a prominent revival preacher, but Oral was left in the shadows for some time.  It was said that "Oral clearly rode his father's coattails in those early months" of the revival team ministry of which they made up.  Even Oral himself doubted himself in his abilities to bring God's word to the masses.  He was unable to bring a sermon that could capture the congregation's attention for extended periods of time as was his father.  His extent was "8-10 minutes" (Harrell, 36).  During the months of his apprenticeship, he continually doubted that he would ever become the talented preacher that he saw in his father.

    Soon, Oral had found his calling as a revivalistic preacher.  One night during a meeting in which his father preached, Oral stood at the altar.  Nineteen people came forward and were saved, seventeen of whom were teenaged girls.  Most preachers want to think that is was their message that saved the souls of people, but sometimes, and handsome face does not hurt the cause.  It did not take long for Oral to realize that "Papa could out preach me, but I could win more souls" (Harrell, 37).

    In August of 1936, Oral received his minister's license in the Pentecostal Holiness church after nearly a full year of preaching with his father.  The Sulphur camp meetings took his ministry to a new level.  During these meetings, Oral's reputation as a soul-winning revival preacher spread throughout the area.  From this time on, Oral Roberts was know as a prominent revival preacher, and his life would take many new roads soon afterwards.  Oral's metamorphosis as an evangelist between the fall of 1937 and the spring of 1938 was remarkable.  A revival was started in Sand Springs and saved 52 souls, not to mention the other nearly 100 other people whose lives were touched dramatically over the five week revival (Harrell, 42).  From all over the country, big name ministers began to notice Oral Roberts and began to see how he was moving the Holy Spirit in his area.  H.G. Montomery commended him in the Pentecostal Holiness Advocate as "a promising young evangelist.... Studious, zealous, and fervent, he can be mightily used of God, and we believe that he will be" (Harrell, 42).  This year changed Oral's life in many ways.  Most importantly, he became a very confident preacher.  He was able to preach and save anyone he came in contact with, or at least that is what he would say; he had also become a cocky preacher to some. 

   The last years of the 1930s truly changed the life of Oral Roberts.  He had become a well know preacher throughout his faith, he published his first book in '38 and married at the end of that same year, he had already made a good living for himself; enough to buy a brand new Chevrolet Coupe, and he had built a solid foundation for his life's ministry. 

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This page was created by Will Runyon and you can e-mail me by clicking on my name.  This page was last updated on April 18, 2001.