A Little Drop of Love
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A Little Drop of Love

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Who did Billy Graham and Bill Bright say was the most influential person in their lives outside of their wives and mothers? Who did God use to train and send out hundreds of pastors, missionaries, and to inspire the birthing of at least fifty new ministries to proclaim the gospel? Henrietta Mears was a woman God used to love the lost into the kingdom. "To know Christ and to make Him known" was her motto. In spite of obstacles, "Teacher," as she was best known by those around her, vitally transformed Sunday school education and camping ministry, and impacted Hollywood. Those are only a taste of her accomplishments. Look inside to learn more about this remarkable woman. But don't stop with her story.
Throughout her life young people said to her, "I want to be just like you," to which she lovingly replied, "Nonsense!" She understood that every person has their own call and destiny from our Creator. You will find help to understand the timeless, biblical principles she lived by, to help you become the best you that God created you to become, from before the beginning of time.

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Published 26 November 2020
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Praise forA Little Drop of Love

“It is a rare moment in history when our Lord calls into his service a person
like Henrietta Mears (1890–1963).With the help of heaven itself, she by the
grace of God had an enormous impact on countless lives of some of the most
distinguished men and women, who became a team of men and women who
were the real shakers and movers of the spread of the gospel in the last half of
the twentieth century. . . . In some ways, Mears ministered at the zenith of the
Sunday School movement and had an enormous impact on subsequent
evangelical ministries all over the world. Sadly, this movement is in serious decline
these days, so we await our Lord’s call on another Henrietta.You will be richly
rewarded for reading this unusual story of one of God’s most gited saints.”
—W C. K J., P E, G
-C T S

“I mentioned to some folks that I was reading a biography of one of the most
important Bible teachers of the twentieth century. No one guessed I was
reading about Henrietta Mears. Many people, good Christian folks too, have
never heard of her.And yet her remarkable leadership, winsome personality,
and memorable Bible teaching launched the ministries and missionary work
of hundreds. . . .A number of Henrietta’s ‘disciples’ I am sure would ask you to
read this book.And who are they? Dawson Troutman, Billy Graham, and Bill
Bright, to name a few.”
—S  W. S, P  P  M,
G  -CT S

“If you want to be more like Jesus, look for ordinary people that God has used
in extraordinary ways. . . . his unique book is designed to help guide you into
the grace and truth found in Jesus Christ that was modeled by this tiny giant
of the faith, Henrietta Mears. he ripple effects of Mears’s life and teachings
are still being felt around the world today.”
—M C, P, G PEACE P, S
C

“If Jesus has launched a mission of worldwide transformation in light of God’s
revealed word, Henrietta Mears is a model to follow both in her content but
also in her methods and her character.Van Boven’s sharing of Henrietta Mears’s
story reminds and inspires one of the value and impact a single life can have.”
—L A,  S P   ,
F P C  N P B, F

“A Little Drop of Loveis relentless. It is a slow burn, always circling the central
tenet of Mears’s life—her intimate relationship with her Savior and passion
to draw others into the adventure. It reminds of a different era in word and
thought—a time I’m hungry for in this day of relativism and distraction.”
—G S, , ,  ,
 ,    

“God has called most of us to serve in a secondary roles, in hidden places,
and yet biographies and histories tend to focus on the primary, public players.
Andrea Van Boven’s spiritual biography of Henrietta Mears shows us how
we ourselves can be a force for kingdom influence from behind the scenes.
Hopefully, it can help us re-evaluate the relative importance in God’s sight of
this type of ministry of hidden influence for good.What a blessing to have this
example of a true mother in the faith.”
—J F, F, 10 D  P

“If you are a follower of Jesus, your life has probably been influenced by
Henrietta Mears. If you have attended Sunday school, or a Christian camp, or
participated in a campus ministry, listened to Billy Graham, if you have been
discipled by a Spirit-filled believer, if you have gone on a mission trip, or read
a Christian book, her life has likely touched yours. Miss Mears understood she
was discipling the next generation of leaders for God’s kingdom.Andrea Van
Boven will introduce you to this capable, fun-loving, people-loving, visionary,
passionate woman who is still helping to spread the good news of God’s love to
the world, generations later.”
—J D , W Y L  P:
90 D  G   W

A Little Drop of Love

Courtesy of Azusa Paciic University Special Collections

A Little Drop of Love

Henrietta Mears, How She Helped
Change a Generation and You Can Too

A N DR E AVA NB OV E N
fore wordby Garth M. Rosell

A LITTLE DROP OF LOVE
Henrietta Mears, How She Helped Change a Generation and You Can Too

Copyright © 2020 Andrea Van Boven. All rights reserved. Except for brief
quotations in critical publications or reviews, no part of this book may be
reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher.
Write: Permissions, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene,
OR 97401.

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (he Holy Bible, English Standard
Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good
News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living
Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House
Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream,
Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations from he Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the
Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced
by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press

Wipf & Stock
An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3
Eugene, OR 97401

www.wipfandstock.com

paperback isbn: 978–1-7252–7948-3
hardcover isbn: 978–1-7252–7949-0
ebook isbn: 978–1-7252–7950-6

Manufactured in the U.S.A.11/24/20

I dedicate this book to my now grown children, Kathryn and Alex,
who were resilient as I did the initial research for this book. And
also, to their generation, who are in line to lead the world. May they
take up the mantle, “To know Christ and to make Him known.”

Everyone is dying for a drop of love.
—H C. M

Contents

Foreword by Garth M. Rosell
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction

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xiii
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xix

Part I: Henrietta C. Mears Background and Personal Development
Chapter 1Her Setting and Life Foundation3
Chapter 2Henrietta’s Early Years9
Chapter 3Transition 24

Part II: Hitting Her Stride
Chapter 4Sunday School Is Big Business
Chapter 5he College Department
Chapter 6Teaching
Chapter 7Forest Home
Chapter 8Intimacy with God and Prayer
Chapter 9Fellowship of the Burning Heart
Chapter 10he Hollywood Christian Group

Part III: Reflections and Conclusion
Chapter 11Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter 12Lessons Learned and Legacy Let

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61
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contents
Part IV: Application of Life Lessons
Introduction

Endnotes
Appendix
Bibliography



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157

Foreword

Henrietta Mears is one of the most fascinating, inluential, and
understudied women in Christian history. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, in
1890, she graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1913 and rose to
prominence as the director of Christian Education at the First Presbyterian
Church in Hollywood, California. During her thirty-ive-year career at
Hollywood Press, as it was then known, she became the teacher and mentor for
an entire generation of evangelical leaders like Louis Evans Jr. (former pastor
of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.), Bill and Vonette
Bright (founders of Campus Crusade for Christ), Jim Rayburn (founder of
Young Life), Bob Munger (former pastor at University Presbyterian Church
in Seattle), and evangelist Billy Graham.
“I doubt,” remarked Billy Graham, “if any other woman outside of my
wife and mother has had such a marked inluence in my life. She is certainly
one of the greatest Christians I have ever known.” “here is simply no way
to exaggerate her efectiveness as a teacher, communicator, and inspirer,”
commented former United States Senate Chaplain Richard C. Halverson.
“here is not an area of my life that her inluence has not touched with
great signiicance.” Many others, as readers of Andrea Van Boven’s
delightful, winsome, and deeply researched study will discover, have echoed the
same sentiments.
Andrea Van Boven, moreover, is in my estimation the ideal person to
tell Henrietta Mears’s story. Although she writes as a practitioner, she has
studied Henrietta Mears like a scholar. Visits to archives, numerous
conversations with colleagues in youth ministry, and interviews with people whose

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lives were deeply touched by Henrietta Mears’s ministry give Andrea’s work
a maturity of judgment that brings the subject to life once again. With years
of student ministry experience of her own, she provides an insider’s
perspective and a savvy set of questions to the study of the woman so many of
her generation simply called “the Teacher.” he result is a relevant, readable
and inspiring account of a remarkable woman who has so much to teach
us all.
Indeed, I am convinced thatA Little Drop of Loveis the perfect book
to inspire, inform, and encourage a whole new generation of young women
and men—much as the Teacher’s actual life and ministry inspired the
author’s. I think you will agree!

Dr. Garth M. Rosell
Senior Research Professor of Church History
Gordon-Conwell heological Seminary

Preface

Henrietta Mears is my “grandmother,” not literally, but spiritually. I came
to faith through a personal encounter with the living God when I was
sixteen. Even though I was in church, I was not sure exactly what happened,
except that I had seen Christ and believed that he is who the Bible says he is.
I did not share my experience for a long time, but I did have an immediate
hunger to read the Bible and be with others who did.
As a sophomore at Indiana University, I became involved with
Campus Crusade for Christ, now called CRU. he founders of CRU, Bill and
Vonette Bright, were discipled by Henrietta Mears and lived with her for the
irst ten years of CRU’s existence. he spiritual and organizational DNA of
Mears’s ministry was transferred to CRU through them. heir heart’s desire
was to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them to
the world. If you are still following the lineage, Bill and Vonette Bright are
Henrietta Mears’s spiritual children.
he movement of CRU raised me from a spiritual baby to a spiritual
adult. Since the Brights were alive and leading CRU for my irst twenty years
on staf, that makes Henrietta Mears my spiritual grandmother. I joined the
staf of CRU and served with them for thirty-two years, and I still
occasionally work alongside them. Conirmed by my years of research and
experience, it is safe to say that the spiritual education and training I received
bears the marks of “Teacher,” as her students loved to call her.
One of the verses that guided her ministry was 2 Tim 2:2 (NLT). “You
have heard me teach things that have been conirmed by many reliable
witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be
able to pass them on to others.” he Brights faithfully learned this principle

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and put it into practice. By the grace of God, I am one of the many faithful
people in the broad family that have been marked by Henrietta Mears.
Nearly halfway through those three-plus decades on staf, I enrolled in
Gordon-Conwell heological Seminary and was required to write a thesis.
I had no idea what, or who, my subject matter might be, but I prayed
regularly for two years that “I would know it when I see it.” While reading Ruth
Tucker and Walter Lieield’sDaughters of the Churchfor a class, I turned the
page and Henrietta Mears was the next topic. It was as if my heart jumped
halfway out of my chest. I knew it when I saw it! Henrietta Mears was the
answer to my prayer for my thesis topic. hat was the spring of 1996.
When Prof. Garth Rosell accepted to supervise my thesis, he
encouraged me to go to the archives in California, to Teacher’s church, and to
conduct interviews with people who knew her well who were still alive in
the mid-90s. I ran with it all. In October of 1996, I went west. Once at the
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, there were still church staf who
had worked with Mears and were delighted to be interviewed. hey gave
me free reign of their knowledge, experiences, and resources. A trip to the
Mears Archives, which was housed in the Gospel Light Publishers facility
in Ventura at that time, allowed me four full days to go through everything
they had. he CEO, Bill Greigh Jr., granted me a long interview. He was
Teacher’s cousin and her travel assistant for most of the last thirteen years of
her life, as well as her business partner in the founding of Regal Publishers.
I found all of the research and especially the interviews motivating,
even inspiring. Everyone interviewed made their love for Teacher evident,
and they loved taking me down memory lane with them. he many months
of research and writing made me feel as if I had lived with Teacher for a year.
he people who were close to her proved to be transformed. But to a
person, they conveyed that it was her love for Jesus Christ, his love for them,
and the power of the Holy Spirit that marked them. Henrietta Mears helped
lead them deeper into their personal relationships with Christ. “To know
Christ and to make Him known” is what God called her to do. hat is the
motto she held to, and that is what she did.
My hope and prayer are that you will meet the Henrietta C. Mears
whom I and so many others came to love. here is only one Henrietta
Mears. here is only one you. May her life inspire you to be the best you
God intended from before the beginning of time (Ps 139).

Acknowledgments

Why are acknowledgments such a challenge? In part, it is because I
am so grateful for all the help and encouragement I have received over the
twenty-four years it has taken to birth this publication. hat is a long time
to remember the many people who have contributed. I know I will forget
people, but I hope anyone who is forgotten will know that the oversight is
completely unintentional. So here goes.
Let me begin with my children. Seminary began for our family when
we moved back from West Africa to the cold Northeast. hese irst- and
third-graders went through culture shock, just like their parents did, and
saw their irst snow when they were six and eight. With all four family
members in school, Kathryn and Alex learned to do their chores, and they
found friends to play with on the Gordon–Conwell campus. he things I
have learned from them throughout their lifetimes has made this a deeper
and richer work. I am eternally grateful to God for both of you, Kathryn
and Alex.
I have been fortunate to have many readers and many conversations
about this endeavor with people who had never heard of Henrietta Mears
before. A few stand out. Kyle Singerman has become a faithful intercessor
who helped me gain a better understanding of the younger people’s
mindset in several ways. Daly Kay Reback encouraged me greatly to continue
towards publication. Over lunch, when she had just inished reading a
preapplication drat, she told me that she had immediately reorganized the
Sunday school program she was running at the time to implement elements
of what she had learned. Over prayer and a discussion of the application
sections of this book, Courtney Reid helped me form the grid explaining

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acknowledgments

some of the collaboration between people and God that is essential for us to
“Know God and to make him known” for the Kingdom of God to expand.
Another group of people who helped improve this efort tremendously
were the many readers who took the time and energy to edit the drats over
the years. Each one brought helpful comments and lots of red ink. An old
friend at seminary used to hand me a paper with a red pen and say, “Bleed
on this for me, please.” Each one of these has added some of their “blood” to
the efort. May Abba reward them beyond anything I can ofer. I hope I have
them all. Anne Yeager, a former professional editor, ofered several helpful
comments. Joyce Calagero, an education professor, also ofered a lot of red
ink and helped me think through how I was communicating. Fran Craig, a
dear friend, prayer partner, and former copyeditor, graciously marked it up
to a better polish. Lisa Leach worked on an earlier drat and gave especially
important and constructive style critique. Wendy Dixon went over it with a
ine-tooth comb that again reined my trajectory. She also planted the seed
that resulted in the writing of the application section.
None of this could have happened without the primary source research.
In the fall of 1996, the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood welcomed
me with open arms. he interviews and recourses they provided were
excellent. he Bill Greigh Jr. family has been very warm and welcoming to me.
Originally, the Mears Archives were housed at Gospel Light Publications in
Ventura, California. My four days in the archives made me feel like a kid
in a candy shop. I let with a wonderful interview and a treasure trove to
work from for my thesis. Jane Greigh, Bill’s daughter, did a tremendous job
of listing and packaging the entire archives in preparation to ship it all to
Azusa Paciic University. She graciously took my calls and guided me there.
he Henrietta C. Mears Archives is now permanently part of the Azusa
Paciic University Special Collections. Ken Otto is the head of Special
Collections. He personally helped me collect and copy many of the photos in
the book. Elizabeth Leahy is the curator speciic to Henrietta Mears. Liz has
been wonderful, helping me get what I needed despite the fact that much of
the archive was still in wrapped boxes of-campus when I was able to visit.
In the last days before submission, she was able to ind a handful of iles
before my deadline that had been lost or corrupted since my visit in October
2019. hat’s a faithful archivist and friend! I count it an honor to have gained
access to the materials and to work with such ine people who passionately
care about history and the ability to save it for future generations.
I was inally able to visit Forest Home Christian Camp and
Conference Center in the fall of 2019. hank you to Joshua Doney for helping me
schedule my visit. Kris Scarborough welcomed me warmly, giving me full
access to the photos and other materials in their archive. Mike Mayard was

acknowledgments

an excellent guide, driving me over much of the grounds. Seeing the
approximate spot where Billy Graham was transformed, then the permanent
marker of the event in a safer place, was a blessing. Standing in the Biltmore,
Henrietta Mears’s cabin, and seeing where in 1947 an encounter with the
Holy Spirit set hearts ablaze for the rest of their lives was—special. It is still
a “thin place” on the face of the earth. hanks to each of you and your full
staf for the ways you all serve to expand the Kingdom of God every day.
Interviews of people who spent extended time with Mears was a
wonderful blessing. Please see all their names in the bibliography, or better yet,
as you read the book. Special thanks to Louis Evans Jr. who read the
completed thesis and said he could not put it down until he reached the end. He
then faxed me a few factual corrections and let a wonderful voicemail on
my home recorder while I was at my graduation ceremony from seminary.
Sadly, his inspirational message was lost, but I look forward to hearing that
rich voice again one day in glory.
Dale Bruner also receives my warmest thanks. I sent him a recent
manuscript, and he obviously spent a lot of time pouring over it. I am
grateful for his gracious praise and attention to detail that makes this better work.
hanking people who pray is important to me. And the seeming
multitudes who have prayed this book into existence makes it impossible to
name them all. here are a few, however, who have prayed for me and this
book for a long time. Wendy, you have walked with me through so much
and helped meet emotional, spiritual, and physical needs over the years.
hanks is not enough. Your prayers to see it to completion have been heard.
Beth, we have journeyed parallel paths for a long time. I love your faith,
creative thinking, and cheerleading. hank you for your daily check-ins as the
deadline approached. Karen, I thank you for the countless hours of prayer
on my behalf, my family, and that of this book. Lupe, a physically small
woman but a truly mighty warrior for the Kingdom of God. Enough said.
Kristin, we don’t connect enough, but I thank God that he has put you on
watch many times for this and other God adventures. For all the named and
unnamed intercessors, may Abba give you back a hundred times for all you
have invested in this endeavor. Let God arise and the enemies be scattered!
Garth Rosell is a special person. He loves God, his wife and family, and
he loves history. he books he has written and collaborated on are numerous
and wonderful reads. Having him for a professor and a mentor for this work
has breathed fresh air into my proverbial sails every time I have been able
to chat or consult with him. Sixteen years ater I inished my Master’s thesis
and received some rejection letters from publishers, I visited his oice to tell
him I was ready to resume the dream of publishing it. I will never forget the
next words out of his mouth: “I have been waiting for you to come back to

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do this.” Yes, sixteen years from a man who is an authentic, living deinition
of optimism. hen several additional years of rewrites, edits, and additions
followed as my life took unexpected turns. Across the years, he fed me a clue
here and there so that I could make the discoveries he suspected or knew
would add to the veracity and the richness of Henrietta Mears’s life. He has
always been my cheerleader with a big welcoming smile on the way in and
an ofer of a York Peppermint Patty on the way out. A few more submissions
and rejections along the way, and he continued to encourage. Somehow, we
both knew this book is God’s idea, not mine. hank you, Garth, from the
bottom of my heart, for believing in me, the messenger, to bring the message
of Henrietta Mears to new generations. I am a better person for knowing
you and Jane. hank you.
Finally, thank you to Wipf and Stock Publishers. I greatly appreciate
who you are as a company and how you operate. hank you for opening this
door of opportunity to me and Henrietta Mears. I am excited to be on this
part of my journey with you.