This Week in AG History — September 23, 1962
By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 23 Sep 2013 – 4:24 PM CST
“A new age is upon us! It is an age of jet travel, space consciousness, pleasure madness, and moral indifference. Our boys are growing up in this overpowering environment. They will be the victims of it unless our church men do something to guide the energies and thoughts of the boys into right spiritual channels. Action must be taken quickly.”
Johnnie Barnes wrote these words in 1962, introducing readers of the Pentecostal Evangel to the new Royal Rangers discipleship program for boys.
Assemblies of God leaders in the 1950s and 1960s realized that shifting cultural currents posed significant challenges to the development of Christian manhood. They chose Johnnie Barnes, a fiery young preacher from Texas, to craft a new program to respond to this emerging discipleship crisis.
When developing Royal Rangers, Barnes drew upon aspects of Boy Scouts, the Royal Ambassadors program of the Southern Baptist Convention, and similar programs. What resulted was a unique Pentecostal mentoring program that melded outdoor adventure, Christian service, and Biblical training. Royal Rangers became a familiar rite of passage for boys in Assemblies of God churches across America and around the world.
As head of Royal Rangers, Barnes had a broad vision and built bridges across denominational lines. Additional Pentecostal fellowships began to charter Royal Rangers groups, including the Congregational Holiness Church, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Over the past 51 years, over 2.5 million boys across the world have participated in this program designed to mold boys into godly, responsible men.
Read the article by Johnnie Barnes, “A Bird’s-Eye View of our New Boys Program,” on pages 9 and 19 of the September 23, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
To learn more about Royal Rangers and its flexible and adaptable programs, visit the Royal Rangers website.
Also featured in this issue:
* “Rescue the Prayer Meeting,” by Lloyd Christiansen
* “Always be Joyful,” by F. Helen Jarvis
* “The Pentecostal Dimension in Education,” by G. Raymond Carlson
And many more!
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200