February is Black History Month! Each week this month, we’ll share about a famous Black minister in American history that helped preach the Gospel and renew the world for Christ. This week, we’ll be honoring George Liele.
George Liele left an indelible mark on Christian missions, and truly the world owes him a debt of thanks. Liele, born into a life of slavery, came to a saving faith in Jesus during his early twenties. For a few years following his conversion, he preached to other enslaved African Americans in the South. Liele’s slave owner eventually freed him and encouraged him to continue his ministry of preaching and ministering to the Black community. Soon afterward, Liele was ordained into the American Baptist Church, becoming the first-ever ordained African American Baptist pastor in United States history.
During the American Revolution, Liele had the opportunity to travel overseas to Jamaica, a British colony with a heavy population of enslaved Africans working on sugar plantations. Recognizing the opportunity, Liele started preaching the gospel and ministering in Jamaica, effectively achieving another first: the first Baptist to serve as an overseas missionary in American history. His efforts were met with great hostility by Jamaican slave owners, and he was imprisoned regularly during his ministry on the island. Yet, these efforts to suppress the gospel were ultimately made in vain, as Liele continued to faithfully communicate the gospel to all who would hear it. By the time of Liele’s death in 1820, over 8,000 Jamaicans were baptized into the faith.
Join us as we remember and celebrate Pastor George Liele this Black History Month!