A number of Hugh Bourne’s fellow labourers in Primitive Methodist ministry were uneducated young men known as lads. They were a motley crew.
There were many complaints respecting the young men appointed to labour with him; some said – “they were nothing but lads just taken from the plough”.
However, as a result of their ministry in a single year, 1819, they paid a substantial debt of thirty pounds incurred by the Tunstall circuit, they restored camp meetings to their earlier effectiveness, and they were successful evangelists.
So successful were they that at “the quarter-day [business meeting], held at Tunstall, December 27th, 1819, it was found that these plain, unlettered lads had gathered hundreds of precious souls into the church of Christ, the increase for the year being one thousand and fourteen”.
In other words these lads made a thousand converts in one year. Not bad, for uneducated, ordinary young men. Jesus recruited a motley crew – they were called disciples!
Abridged from the “Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Hugh Bourne", Volume II, p98 republished by Tentmaker Publications 121 Hartshill Rd, Stoke-on-Trent