Soul Winning under Dave Hyles

The following is excerpted from The History and Heritage of Fundamentalism and Fundamental Baptists: “In 1969, Jack Hyles’ son, Dave, a 16-year-old high school sophomore at the time, organized the Teenage Soul Winning program at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Dave’s sister, Cindy, who participated in that, said, “I won thousands of souls before I finished my teen years” (The Fundamental Man, p. 271). In six years, the teens reported 100,000 salvation decisions. Elmer Towns described an experience on a Saturday in 1974 with First Baptist’s youth soul winning led by Dave Hyles. More than 200 teens showed up, and Dave told them, “Last week we won over 1,000 souls to Jesus Christ; let’s do it again tonight.” Towns accompanied 31 young men on a bus to an inner city area in Chicago. The young men told him that they had 21 out the week before and had “won over 200 to the Lord.” That week they aimed for more than 300. “Joe stopped at the first home; nine played on the porch. ‘Hey, would you like to ride a bus to church tomorrow morning?’ He began talking about God. The kids didn’t know much about Him. Within minutes the group swelled to 15 curious Spanish kids. He talked about creation and the message of Calvary. ‘If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven?’ Joe asked and pointed his finger at each one of the kids. All shook their heads negatively. ‘I want you to bow your heads right here and pray to receive Jesus Christ.’ He did not ask if they wanted to be saved, or if they were ready; he just told them to pray so they would go to heaven. Most of them repeated the simple prayer after him. As each boy jumps back on the bus, he reports how many had been won to the Lord. Twenty-six is the highest number; one is the smallest–total of 261 for the evening. All the guys cheer” (Towns, World’s Largest Sunday School, pp. 177, 179). In 1972, at age 19, Dave Hyles became the youth pastor at First Baptist. In 1976, Dave’s book Successful Church Youth Work was published by the Sword of the Lord. The back cover stated that between 1972 and 1976, the youth department had grown to an average of 2,500 in Sunday School, with a high of 5,000 on “a big day.” The book is described as “the successful formula of Dave Hyles” and was advertised by the Sword as “double success!” (the back cover of Let’s Baptize More Converts).

(Friday Church News Notes, December 18, 2020,, 866-295-4143)