Fisher, George S. (1856-1920)

Founder of Gospel Missionary Union (GMU)

Fisher, who was born of missionary parents near Cass Lake, Minnesota, became secretary of the Kansas YMCA in 1890. It soon became the fastest growing YMCA in the country, proving him a gifted leader of people, an able administrator, an effective evangelist, and a much-sought-after pulpit speaker. As a result of a challenge by H. Gratton Guinness, many YMCA members volunteered for missionary work in the vast unreached interior of sub-Saharan Africa. In 1890 nine American young men and women went out in what became known as the Sudan Party, five of whom died of fever within three months of reaching Sierra Leone. Fisher’s involvement with the Sudan Party made him the center of a major controversy in the national YMCA, leading to his resignation in 1892. The same year, he became instrumental in founding the World’s Gospel Mission (later, Gospel Missionary Union). His stated purpose was to “promote Bible study, consecrated Christian living, sound doctrine, and the preaching of the Gospel where Christ is not named.” He led GMU into four fields: Morocco in 1894, Ecuader on 1896, Colombia in 1908, and French Sudan (Mali) in 1919. Fisher died on a field trip in Guayaquil, Ecuader, and is buried there.

Dick L. Darr, “Fisher, George S.,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 212.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Bibliography

Fisher’s writings appeared from 1891 to 1920 in the Kansas Pilgrim and the Gospel Message, both magazines of GMU. Details on the Sudan Party and Fisher’s 1913 survey trip of the French Sudan are found in Dick L. Darr, “George C. Reed and the French Sudan” (unpublished manuscript held by GMU).

Primary


Fisher, George S. A Condensed Narrative of the Persecution of an American Consul: By Some American Missionaries at Beirut, Syria. Washington: I.G. Stephens & Son, 1879.

_____. The Coming of Christ. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [189-?].

_____. Unceasing Prayer. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [192-?].

_____. The Drift of the Times: Sound the Alarm: the Christian and the Great Apostasy. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [193-?].

_____. The Glorious Gospel: Conference Address. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Pub. Co., n.d.

_____. The Perils of Our Young People. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Pub. Co., n.d.

No author. The Drift of the Times: Sound the Alarm: The Downward Trend of Dr. G. Campbell Morgan. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [193-?].

No author. The Drift of the Times: Sound the Alarm: G. Campbell Morgan Continues Downgrade. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [193-?].

No author. The Drift of the Times: Sound the Alarm: Dr. G. Campbell Morgan Further Downgrade. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Union Publishing Company, [193-?].

Secondary


Chapman, C. P. With the Bible Among the Andes. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Missionary Union, [194-?].

Collins, George W. Missionaries and Muslims: the Gospel Missionary Union in Morocco, 1895-1912.Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, 1975.

Davis, Illa Marie and Evelyn Stenbock-Ditty. A Gleam of Light: The Trials and Triumphs of a Century of Missionary Work in Morocco. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Missionary Union, 1998.

Hopkins, C. Howard. “The Kansas-Sudan Missionary Movement in the YMCA, 1889-1891.” Church History 21 (1954): 314-22. [Gives and overview of the controversy that led to Fisher's resignation from the YMCA.]

Shidler, Don P. Exploits of Faith. Kansas City, MO: Gospel Missionary Union, 1982, pp. 113-4.

Shillingsburg, Florence. My Heart is Tied: The Story of Charles P. Chapman, Pioneer GMU Missionary in Columbia. Smithville, MO: Gospel Missionary Union, [197-?].


GMU is now called Avant Ministries.