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Interviews with T. Michael Flowers - Collection 431


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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of T. Michael Flowers

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection


*****

Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Transcript 4

Transcript 5

Transcript 6




Brief Description.
Oral history interview in which Flowers describes growing up in the Bahamas, the influence on his life of W. H. Farrington, his conversion, his evangelistic work in the Bahamas, his education in Scotland, a brief description of Billy Graham in Scotland in 1946, and the beginning of his evangelistic work in the United States. The second interview describes his ministry in Canada, Whitfield and B. M. Nottage, the Plymouth Brethren church and its church planting, his call to ministry, his wife's role, race relations in the US, ministry in Georgia, church discipline, Tom Skinner, evangelistic use of radio, United Bible Conference and United Missionary Conference, Southern Gospel Mission Association, Tony Evans, John Perkins, Bill Pannell, preaching, Billy Graham's 1994 Atlanta crusade, and other evangelism-related subjects.
Vol: 6 Reels of Audio Tape


Collection 431
[April 4, 2000]
Flowers, T. Michael; 1920-
Interviews; 1990, 1995

6 Reels of Audio Tape

Restrictions

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPTS TO ALL THE INTERVIEWS IN THIS COLLECTION ARE AVAILABLE.


Biography

Full name: Rev. Theodore Michael Flowers

Birth date: March 28, 1920 (officially April 1)

Birth place: St. Andros Island, Bahamas

Parents: Alfred and Hilda Flowers--father a fisherman and sponger

Conversion: Age 17 in Nassau, Bahamas

Marital Status: Married Ella Mons on December 15, 1951

Children: Sharon Lynette and Talbot Martin

Education: Glasgow Bible Institute; 1947-1949

Career:
1942-1947 Factory work in England
1949 Committed to the ministry by the Bahamas Assemblies (Plymouth Brethren)
1951-1954? Grace Tabernacle, Detroit
1955 Moved to Savannah, GA
1967 Planned Tom Skinner crusade in Savannah
Began the Good News radio program
1969 Started the United Bible Conference
1978 Started the United Missionary Conference
1982 Moved to Atlanta, GA
1990 Received honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Carver Bible Institute

Memberships:
?-1994 Southern Gospel Mission Association, President and Executive Director
1981-1989 Columbia Bible College, Board of Directors


Scope and Content

Michael Flowers was interviewed by Robert Shuster on June 14, 1990, in Dayton, Tennessee, and by Paul Ericksen on January 20, 1995, in Lethonia, Georgia. The time period covered by the interviews is 1920-1994. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction to interview
00:30 Birth and family background, religious upbringing, closeness to father, carpentry hobby, memories of parents, childhood in the Bahamas, few physical possessions but no sense of need, earliest memories, family going together to the Anglican church
15:00 Weak educational system, teaching a class at the age of ten, desire to be a boxer
19:30 Attendance at evangelistic meetings led by W. H. Farrington at age fifteen, saw him again two years later, accepted Christ on the last night, telling the news to his Anglican priest, break with the Anglican church
27:15 Preaching style and personal characteristics of W. H. Farrington, examples of his caring spirit, father's negative reaction to Michael's conversion
33:30 Involvement with Boy Scouts up to age sixteen, work as carpenter, trip to Nassau to take a government exam, failed exam but stayed in Nassau
36:00 Plymouth Brethren church in Nassau, W. H. Farrington's favorite verse, preaching styles
39:00 Memories of Whitfield Nottage, Detroit evangelist from the Bahamas
44:15 Emotionalism and lack of teaching in American black churches, desire to develop a church based on New Testament model, personal call to ministry in Georgia
49:15 End of tape

T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:30 Continuation of interview
03:15 Request to give testimony one week after conversion, desire then to be in full-time ministry, sense of honor at being called to preach, desire to please God more than people
08:30 Move to England to work in factories during World War II, learning to appreciate people as creations of God, break between Wesleyan Methodists and Plymouth Brethren in Bahamas, Michael learning to love Wesleyan Methodists through a respected fellow worker
16:45 Desire to learn to exposit the Bible, attendance at Glasgow Bible Institute in Glasgow, Scotland, memories of professors and friends, characteristics of the course
21:15 Decision not to get further education because it was looked down on by Brethren, regret for this decision, learning to follow God and trust Him, lessons learned at Bible Institute, importance of the Bible regulating your walk, loving people even in other denominations
32:15 Billy Graham visiting the Bible Institute, his preaching style and message, Michael's impressions of Scotland and Scottish people and love for them
37:15 Committed to the ministry by the Assemblies of the Brethren in the Bahamas in 1949, return to Canada for two years
39:30 Cultural differences between preaching in Bahamas and the United States, blessing of the Holy Spirit of primary importance
43:30 End of tape

T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:20 Introduction to interview
01:00 Leading youth evangelistic meetings in Canada, trip to Detroit where he met his wife, God's unusual call to work in Georgia, learning to submit to wife and God
07:30 Lessons learned while evangelizing in Canada, need for simple and direct gospel
11:15 Influence of B. M. Nottage on his life, seeing the spiritual needs of people, Nottage's change of ministry after his heart attack, danger of materialism in the United States, self-centered response of American Christians, need to seek the praise and glory of God first
21:15 Need for black Americans to find their identity not in blackness but as children of God, true identity is an inner quality not outer, practical reconciliation
25:15 Invitation to Savannah to evangelize, leading a Bible study at a camp in Beaufort, SC, summary of ministry and future plans, growth of Beaufort Bible study into a church, opposition from church leaders
31:15 Difficulties caused by his view that church leaders should be men, outreach to Marine base, description of ministry style and gifts, good teachers
35:30 Most Southern Gospel Mission Association (SGMA) leaders came from the Caribbean islands, move in his ministry from extreme poverty in Beaufort to greater affluence in Savannah and Atlanta, new leadership for SGMA, son T. Martin Flowers newly-elected president
40:00 Evangelistic work in Savannah, other black ministers looking for political answers to spiritual problems, crusade with Tom Skinner brought blacks and whites together, elected president of the Protestant Ministerial Association, still didn't change segregation in churches
44:45 End of tape

T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:30 Tom Skinner crusade had larger effect on white community than black, black ministers not happy because Skinner preached Jesus not racism, memories of Tom Skinner, his wife's negative effect on his ministry, need to confront sin with hope for restoration
13:15 Exposure in white community through Protestant Ministerial Association, making friends in that community, distress about spiritual condition drove him to pray and fast for Savannah
18:45 End of tape

T4 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:00 Continuation of interview
01:30 Other ministers who prayed and fasted with him, the effect on their lives and on his ministry
04:45 God is powerful so all we need to do is seek His will, Christians should worry about their own lives and not expect prominent ministers to do the work
08:15 Response of church members to his ministry, sometimes God calls us to do things that the world considers crazy, gifts of appreciation from friends
12:00 Problem of segregation even in the churches, friendliness of some church members, attempts to integrate the church by using both black and white ministers, not allowing the problem to distress him
20:15 Growth of Bible study into a chapel, helped along by Tom Skinner crusade, financial needs supplied by friend C. P. Brown, beginning of radio ministry, dedication of the church building, other chapels in Savannah
26:00 Impact on church community of yearly prayer and fasting meetings, importance of fasting for Christian leaders, God's desire for our prayers, all-night prayer meetings for church members, miracles occurring at prayer meetings
37:15 Future plans and uncertainty, humility required to trust God and follow His lead
39:15 [Break in interview]
39:30 First United Bible Conference at Berean Bible Chapel, importance of teaching as well as preaching, growth of the conference over the years, increased overseas missionary vision
46:15 End of side 1

T4 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
02:30 United Missionary Conference, importance of Christian meetings and fellowship, prayer meetings for missionaries and Sunday school teaching about missions, God's work should be supported by God's people
08:00 Reasons for move to Atlanta, problems in the church there, advantages of better materials and education
11:00 Church discipline, removing members from the church, longevity of punishments, different possible responses to Christians in sin, fear of disciplining members in many churches, special difficulties of Plymouth Brethren with critical judgment of other Christians
24:00 Position of women in the church, his belief that women should not be pastors but can preach and speak
27:15 End of tape

T5 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:30 Hurt caused by rumors in the church
04:30 Description and purpose of the Southern Gospel Mission Association (SGMA), providing business and administration advice for outreach to blacks, difficulties with Plymouth Brethren, importance of avoiding scandal
10:30 Christian workers must do more than save the soul, they must also help physical needs and teach good doctrine, need for good workers
13:45 Wonderful improvement in social position of blacks in the Southeast, Michael choosing not to worry about segregation when he first came so that he could concentrate on his mission of evangelism
18:15 Jesus' love for the poor and sinful, the church today not following His example, to have an effect on the world Christians must treat injustice differently than the world, God's will is most important
25:00 Close friends in the ministry, course to teach black ministers to relate seminary teaching to black audiences, weekly mentoring program at his church
29:15 Sermon preparation habits, extensive study and prayer before a series, actual results up to the Holy Spirit, answering basic questions
35:15 Favorite Bible passages are those that describe Jesus' characteristics, Jesus deliberately associating with women and sinners, his example to us of grace and love, the saving power of this message
43:45 End of tape

T5 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
03:00 Need for prayer and quiet time with God, his quiet time habits, importance of mixing evangelism (for unbelievers) and exhortation (for believers)
06:00 Wife's support in his ministry, her gift of hospitality, sacrifices she made, support now from children
11:00 Raising a family while working for God, danger of family becoming an idol and displacing God's preeminence
17:00 People attacking his integrity, his response, making room for others that God has called
18:30 SGMA plans for a resource center in Savannah: stage for Christian black performers, counseling center, bookstore, game room, day care, etc.
24:00 Memories of being on the board of Columbia Bible College, other members, friendship with Dr. [Robertson] McQuilkin, learned to listen to wise men
27:15 End of tape

T6 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Continuation of interview
01:15 Integration of Columbia Bible College, inviting Michael to speak to faculty, school got their first black student from Jamaica instead of the States
03:45 Need for more black Evangelical leaders, memories of William Pannell, need for black leaders to realize that God has a purpose for them in America, memories of John Perkins, importance of the church in racial reconciliation, memories of Tony Evans
11:45 First heard Billy Graham in Scotland, togetherness of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, effects of his 1994 Atlanta Crusade on Michael and his church, desire to attend Graham's training meetings, Michael's gift not to teach but to preach
18:45 End of tape

Provenance

The materials for this collection were received by the Center in June 1990 and January 1995 from Rev. T. Michael Flowers.

Accession 90-66, 95-16
July 26, 1995
Mark Congdon
J. Nasgowitz


LOCATION RECORD
Accession 90-66, 95-16
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 50 minutes. One side. Interview with T. Michael Flowers by Robert Shuster, June 14, 1990. Discussion of childhood and education in Bahamas, conversion at meetings of W. H. Farrington, memories of Farrington, Plymouth Brethren churches in Bahamas, Whitfield Nottage, problems in American black churches, personal call to ministry.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 44 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T1. Discussion of calling to evangelism, studies at Glasgow Bible Institute in Scotland, lack of further education, impressions of Billy Graham and Scotland, differences between preaching in Bahamas and the United States.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 65 minutes. One side. Interview with T. Michael Flowers by Paul Ericksen, January 20, 1995. Discussion of God's call in his life, influence of Whitfield Nottage, personal view of women in ministry, Southern Gospel Mission Association, son T. Martin Flowers, Tom Skinner crusade, Protestant Ministerial Association in Savannah, and segregation.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 74 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T3. Discussion of prayer and fasting, segregation and integration in American churches, radio ministry, United Bible Conference, need for increased overseas missionary vision, United Missionary Conference, church discipline, women in the church.

T5 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 71 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T4. Discussion of beginning of Southern Gospel Mission Association, social position of blacks in the South, problems in the way the American church is handling racial problems, Flowers' sermon preparation habits.

T6 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 19 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T5. Discussion of the integration of Columbia Bible College, black Evangelical leaders William Pannell, John Perkins, and Tony Evans, and Billy Graham and his 1994 Atlanta Crusade.



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