TL Osborn: Grandfather of Evangelism

T.L. Osborn was one of the most humble men I know and one of the most anointed I know. He had been all over the world and led more people to Christ than anyone in history but you would not know it chatting with him at a coffeehouse in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was just that humble.

The man is known as the grandfather of mass evangelism for a reason though. He lived for the gospel. He believe the soul winning was the chief calling of every believer. He is right too. We might not like the fact that we are to preach the gospel but that does not change the great commission. Preach the gospel and you must use words!

The purpose of a spirit filled life is to demonstrate the supernatural power of our living God so that the unsaved multitudes will abandon their dead gods to call upon the name of The Lord and be delivered. (T.L. Osborn) 

I remember the last time I saw him before he checked out for his heavenly reward. He was decicidating the new ministry center on Memorial in Tulsa. (The famous old one was part of the new highway project). I was struggling with doing a conference in Congo at the time. I have every reason to go but I also had every reason to not to go. He talked to me and with a smile on his face, “If you do not go, who will? They need the gospel.”  It was the tipping point for me to go to Congo.


TL Osborn was a man of faith & action

We all know that without works, our faith is dead but most of us still have a life void of any real works for the Lord. We do not do the great commission. We do not feed the hungry. We do not see visit those who are locked in their homes or in prisons. We know we should but we don’t.

Brother Osborn was always the sweet, loving, and compassionate guy that would kick up in the backside to remind us what the Bible told us about the gospel. I am not sure I have seen a person with a better grip on the issue on soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in my life. He had some serious revelation and it was all scriptural based.

He is the man you could not help but love. He has passion for the things of the Spirit, cared about people and have a devotion to the New Testament. He is everything a man of God should be.

He lived with a deep concern that we have preached faith, destroyed hope and ignore love in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. We pushed faith so much because lost hope if they did not see their naming did not become claiming.

The hallmark of TL Osborn was his commitment to preaching the compassion of Jesus, not the fire of hell. He did not have a problem with people preaching hell, fire, and brimstone but he focused on compassion as his niche of the gospel.

Every time I met him, I walked away with a deeper love for people, a deeper commitment to the great commission, and a deeper understanding of soteriology. That was the TL Osborn that I knew.


He understood the Pentecostal mission

There is only one purpose of pentecost; that is to effectively evangelize lost souls. (TL Osborn)

Those words would give us the heartbeat of Pentecostal ministries from Azusa Street and even since. The problem is many of the Spirit-filled ministries today are worried about everything but actually doing the Great Commission. Pentecost was always about reaching the lost at any cost.  He has a deep conviction that signs and wonders must confirm the gospel. The good news is Jesus had the same view on the subject.

The message was always at the core of anything that he did: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not try and make it creative. He believed the gospel presented just as it was powerful. He led more people to the cross that any man in history, including Billy Graham, in the process as well.

It was the simplicity of the gospel that was his hallmark. He did not live like most of the faith preachers of his era. He put as much money as he could in the gospel work around the nation. Until his day, his publication were made very cheap (and you could tell) so he could give away books to people in Africa.




TL Osborn changed the world

I had the privilege of standing next to him in Manila, Philippines when he came with Mike Francen for a gospel crusade in 2000. I was a young, big, buff guy that told to run “security” for him. I was more interested in impartation than security to be honest. After all, I though the angels were provided a hedge of protection pretty well myself.

The time I spend with him in the Philippines was a great time and it really changed some of my focus in life. It was not until years later that I was freed up to just do evangelism but one of the prophetic moments that made that happen was the four days I worked security for TL Osborn.

The people that he touched are many and I am happy to say I am in that company. I have many friends that also was touched over the years by him. He carried a mantle for evangelism that few have. That mantle has yet to be picked up. I wonder if the burden is too much for one man to bear.

I believe we need a movement of crusade evangelists that will answer the call to preach the gospel from the stadiums of the world and reach the lost at any cost. Men (and women) who will stand up and declare the saving, healing, delivering and touching power of the Holy Spirit to a world that is broken and downcast.


  • Daniel King
    September 22, 2015 - 7:09 pm

    Here are seven lessons I learned from Dr. Osborn.

    1. Be Humble
    Osborn was a humble man full of confidence in a great God. He knew who he was in Christ, but he downplayed his own importance. He said, “God needs me; God chose to use me. The world needs me; I choose to go to the world. You know, if He had smarter people, He would use them, but we are all He’s got.”

    2. Preach a Simple Gospel
    Osborn preached a simple message. He said that every message needs four parts: 1. God’s Creation 2. Satan’s Deception 3. Christ’s Substitution 4. Our Restoration. It was this simple message that impacted lives on every continent.

    3. Lift People Up
    Osborn’s preaching lifted people up and made them feel valuable. He preached, “You are valuable! Never put yourself down. How can you crawl when you are the child of a King? How can you beg when you have the wealth of the universe? How can you burn out when God is the strength of your life? How can you moan when God has put a song in your heart? How can you die inside when Christ is your life?”

    4. The Power of a Book
    Once, I was in Congo, Africa preaching in a mud hut packed full with over two hundred people. Chickens pecked their way across the dirt floor as the congregation enthusiastically praised the Lord. I glanced over at the young pastor and noticed he was holding his Bible and another dog-eared book that was carefully covered in gray duct tape.

    “Show me what you are reading,” I asked. When he handed me the book, I recognized the title. It was written by T.L. Osborn.

    I asked, “Where did you get this book?”

    He replied, “Twenty years ago, Dr. Osborn came to my nation. My father got saved at his meeting and decided to become a pastor. Dr. Osborn gave him this book and for twenty years my father preached his sermons from this book. Last year my father died and I became the pastor of this church. Now I preach from the same book.”

    5. Miracles Prove Jesus is Alive
    A great part of T.L. Osborn’s success was his beloved wife Daisy. They were married in 1942 when T.L. was 18 and Daisy was 17. Shortly afterwards they committed to travel to India for five years as missionaries only to return to America after only one year disappointed they were unable to convince anyone to be a Christian. They showed the people in India the Bible and in return the people showed them a different holy book. When the Osborns were unable to prove which book was true, they gave up and returned home in defeat.

    Osborn was changed after he had four encounters with Jesus. One morning at 6 o’clock, Jesus appeared to him. On another occasion, Osborn saw Jesus working though another preacher who was praying for the sick. Then, Osborn experienced Jesus working through his own prayers. Finally, Osborn saw Jesus in the pages of the Bible. Because of these revelations about Jesus, T.L. and Daisy returned to the mission field and eventually traveled to over ninety nations over a half-century of ministry and led millions of people to Jesus.

    Osborn often started his sermons by telling the story of a man who had been healed in one of his services. Then he told a story about one of the miracles Jesus performed in the Bible. Then he prayed for the sick. Across the field, cripples lifted their crutches into the air as they were healed. A blind boy was suddenly able to see. A deaf man’s ears were opened. Testimonies flooded the stage as God touched people.

    Miracles became the proof to Osborn that Jesus is alive and the Bible is true. The banner on his crusade platform usually featured Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He explained the differences between Christianity and other religions: “Jesus is the only one who offers proof, the only one who lives today, the only one who can heal the sick.”

    6. Words are Powerful
    Osborn came over to my home on three occasions to address a group of preachers on evangelism. We carefully prepared a list of questions. We asked him the first question and he took three and a half hours to answer.

    He taught us, “How did God create the world? He used His words. Everything God does, He does by His words. In the Bible, we have His Word. His talk. We can use our words the same way God uses words. He talks. We have the same ability to talk. Do people get saved, blessed, and healed when you talk? They do when I talk. You are like God. You have the ability to speak. God’s Word is seed. When you speak God’s words, they will work.”

    7. Jesus Paid the Price
    “Is there a price to be paid to be in the healing ministry?” one preacher asked T.L. Osborn. The young man wanted to discover how much prayer, fasting and Bible reading it would take to be successful in ministry.

    “Yes! There is a very high price to be paid,” Osborn responded, but immediately followed with, “But Jesus paid it all on the cross!”

    In one sentence, Osborn completely changed my theology. When I was beginning in ministry, I desperately wanted to see miracles happen when I preached. I spent many long hours focusing on developing spiritual disciplines. But because of Osborn’s comment, I realized that no matter how much I fast, I will never be able to heal someone though my own effort. By myself, I cannot heal a little toe, let alone cancer or HIV. Neither can I force anyone to get saved. Healings, miracles, and salvations never happen because of my effort; they happen because of what Jesus did on the cross.

    Dr. Osborn’s insight took the responsibility for miracles off our own self-effort and put the responsibility directly on Jesus. Man likes to think he has paid a price to be anointed but in reality, Jesus already paid the full price. It was this revelation that made Osborn a mighty man of God.

    0Vote Up0Vote Down
  • Daniel King
    September 22, 2015 - 7:09 pm

    Here are seven lessons I learned from Dr. Osborn.

    1. Be Humble
    Osborn was a humble man full of confidence in a great God. He knew who he was in Christ, but he downplayed his own importance. He said, “God needs me; God chose to use me. The world needs me; I choose to go to the world. You know, if He had smarter people, He would use them, but we are all He’s got.”

    2. Preach a Simple Gospel
    Osborn preached a simple message. He said that every message needs four parts: 1. God’s Creation 2. Satan’s Deception 3. Christ’s Substitution 4. Our Restoration. It was this simple message that impacted lives on every continent.

    3. Lift People Up
    Osborn’s preaching lifted people up and made them feel valuable. He preached, “You are valuable! Never put yourself down. How can you crawl when you are the child of a King? How can you beg when you have the wealth of the universe? How can you burn out when God is the strength of your life? How can you moan when God has put a song in your heart? How can you die inside when Christ is your life?”

    4. The Power of a Book
    Once, I was in Congo, Africa preaching in a mud hut packed full with over two hundred people. Chickens pecked their way across the dirt floor as the congregation enthusiastically praised the Lord. I glanced over at the young pastor and noticed he was holding his Bible and another dog-eared book that was carefully covered in gray duct tape.

    “Show me what you are reading,” I asked. When he handed me the book, I recognized the title. It was written by T.L. Osborn.

    I asked, “Where did you get this book?”

    He replied, “Twenty years ago, Dr. Osborn came to my nation. My father got saved at his meeting and decided to become a pastor. Dr. Osborn gave him this book and for twenty years my father preached his sermons from this book. Last year my father died and I became the pastor of this church. Now I preach from the same book.”

    5. Miracles Prove Jesus is Alive
    A great part of T.L. Osborn’s success was his beloved wife Daisy. They were married in 1942 when T.L. was 18 and Daisy was 17. Shortly afterwards they committed to travel to India for five years as missionaries only to return to America after only one year disappointed they were unable to convince anyone to be a Christian. They showed the people in India the Bible and in return the people showed them a different holy book. When the Osborns were unable to prove which book was true, they gave up and returned home in defeat.

    Osborn was changed after he had four encounters with Jesus. One morning at 6 o’clock, Jesus appeared to him. On another occasion, Osborn saw Jesus working though another preacher who was praying for the sick. Then, Osborn experienced Jesus working through his own prayers. Finally, Osborn saw Jesus in the pages of the Bible. Because of these revelations about Jesus, T.L. and Daisy returned to the mission field and eventually traveled to over ninety nations over a half-century of ministry and led millions of people to Jesus.

    Osborn often started his sermons by telling the story of a man who had been healed in one of his services. Then he told a story about one of the miracles Jesus performed in the Bible. Then he prayed for the sick. Across the field, cripples lifted their crutches into the air as they were healed. A blind boy was suddenly able to see. A deaf man’s ears were opened. Testimonies flooded the stage as God touched people.

    Miracles became the proof to Osborn that Jesus is alive and the Bible is true. The banner on his crusade platform usually featured Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He explained the differences between Christianity and other religions: “Jesus is the only one who offers proof, the only one who lives today, the only one who can heal the sick.”

    6. Words are Powerful
    Osborn came over to my home on three occasions to address a group of preachers on evangelism. We carefully prepared a list of questions. We asked him the first question and he took three and a half hours to answer.

    He taught us, “How did God create the world? He used His words. Everything God does, He does by His words. In the Bible, we have His Word. His talk. We can use our words the same way God uses words. He talks. We have the same ability to talk. Do people get saved, blessed, and healed when you talk? They do when I talk. You are like God. You have the ability to speak. God’s Word is seed. When you speak God’s words, they will work.”

    7. Jesus Paid the Price
    “Is there a price to be paid to be in the healing ministry?” one preacher asked T.L. Osborn. The young man wanted to discover how much prayer, fasting and Bible reading it would take to be successful in ministry.

    “Yes! There is a very high price to be paid,” Osborn responded, but immediately followed with, “But Jesus paid it all on the cross!”

    In one sentence, Osborn completely changed my theology. When I was beginning in ministry, I desperately wanted to see miracles happen when I preached. I spent many long hours focusing on developing spiritual disciplines. But because of Osborn’s comment, I realized that no matter how much I fast, I will never be able to heal someone though my own effort. By myself, I cannot heal a little toe, let alone cancer or HIV. Neither can I force anyone to get saved. Healings, miracles, and salvations never happen because of my effort; they happen because of what Jesus did on the cross.

    Dr. Osborn’s insight took the responsibility for miracles off our own self-effort and put the responsibility directly on Jesus. Man likes to think he has paid a price to be anointed but in reality, Jesus already paid the full price. It was this revelation that made Osborn a mighty man of God.

    0Vote Up0Vote Down
  • Wafula David Willy
    March 2, 2017 - 12:06 am

    T L Osborn Is My Modest Preacher Ever In My Ministry In Uganda

    0Vote Up0Vote Down
  • Wafula David Willy
    March 2, 2017 - 12:06 am

    T L Osborn Is My Modest Preacher Ever In My Ministry In Uganda

    0Vote Up0Vote Down

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