Jesse Irvin Overholtzer was the “unobtrusive little farmer” who staked all on the premise – revolutionary in his day – that little children could be taught basic doctrines of the Scriptures and be won for Jesus Christ.
He was unpretentious and unassuming in the pulpit, yet he moved great audiences with his revolutionary message.
He had a weak and faltering voice, yet thousands recognized it as the voice of God drawing them into his knicker and pigtail crusade.
He had neither a degree in theology nor titled position, but he received the support and devoted friendship of such evangelical notables as Harry A. Ironside, Charles G. Trumbull, Paul W. Rood, Walter L. Wilson, M.D., and Henry C. Thiessen.
At sixty years of age, without administrative experience, but with God’s enablement, he founded Child Evangelism Fellowship and directed its international operation for fifteen years, to within three years of his death in 1955.
Where might and power failed, the Spirit of God succeeded. Out of the ashes of human weakness came the largest evangelistic outreach to children the world has ever seen.
“Mr. O’s” heritage lay deep in the stolid traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Those who understand the meat-and-potatoes approach to life of these stoical Nordics will understand at once Mr. Overholtzer’s methodical and unrelieved pace in the execution of the task God gave him to do.
When others asked, “Why?” Mr. O asked, “Why not?” and lived by the motto: “There is no lack with God!”