During the 1940's
through the 1980's there was a young evangelist by the name of Angel
Martinez who made his home in Fort Smith, Arkansas and held revivals
thru out the country.
question the success of Texas Baptists' mission efforts, look no
further than the 10 most influential Texas Baptists of the 20th
century. In that list is Angel Martinez, who in his personal
testimony referred to himself as a "little shoe shine boy from San
Martinez was converted in a Baptist mission in San
Antonio in July 1935 at the age of 13 and preached his first sermon
in September of the same year. At the conclusion of that message,
every member of his family except his father was converted to
There was little if any doubt that God had called and
gifted Angel Martinez as an evangelist. He saw the wisdom of
preparing to be an evangelist by receiving a solid education. He
graduated from Baylor
University in 1945 and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in
1949. He conducted 51 revival meetings as a seminary student.
His reputation spread beyond the seminary campus in
Louisville, Ky. In those years, a committee from Los Angeles
contacted him about a citywide crusade. Martinez politely thanked
them, but refused, saying God had called him as a local-church
evangelist, not as a crusade evangelist. The committee then went to
their second choice, Billy Graham. The rest is history.
It is a mark of greatness and security in the Lord
when one can say to a great opportunity, "That is not what God has
called me to do."
One of Martinez's trademarks was his colorful dress.
Walter K. Ayres told the story of his own call to ministry in an
Angel Martinez revival meeting. Ayers, a former University of
Arkansas football player, walked forward in blue jeans and T-shirt and said,
"Dr. Martinez, God has called me to be an evangelist too!" According
Martinez replied, "Always look sharp, young man.
Always look sharp!"
Martinez offered insightful advice to a young
evangelist: "Prepare one new sermon each week,
whether you preach it or not. The evangelist must stay homiletically
He always ended his message by giving the same
invitation, almost word for word. "No matter what I preach, I always
tell people how to be saved." He always shared the gospel.
Martinez's ministry spanned 60 years. At age 73, God
called him home to heaven.
When he led inquirers in the "sinner's prayer," he
would say, "If you prayed that little prayer with me, I will see you
Conservative estimates are that Martinez will see
more than 500,000 who prayed that little prayer with him somewhere
in a revival meeting mostly in a Southern Baptist church, many in
We are admonished in Scripture to not despise the day
of small beginnings. Would any in that little mission in San Antonio
in 1935 have dreamed how God would use a 13-year-old Hispanic
teenager? No wonder Texas Baptists said Angel Martinez was among
their Top 10!