Lettie L. Cross – Worthy of Emulation



HE SUBJECT that I am to speak on is ‘Should young people be sober-minded?’ To this I will answer yes and the older people, too.”

With these words, Evangelist Lettie L. Cross began her sermon from Titus 2:1-6 at the 19th General Assembly of the Church of God.

Preaching the evening service on Saturday, November 1, 1924, Cross was fulfilling a specific assignment from General Overseer F. J. Lee. Two months earlier, Lee had written to her, “In making up the program for the Assembly, I was thinking it would be well to have something as concerning the young people. . . . My thought in having this subject is to try to get Christian young people out of so much foolishness and frivolity. There are many that are everything else but sober-minded, and this is the cause of many backsliders. I am sure you will handle it in good order.”

Lee had every reason to be confident in Cross. The 28-year-old evangelist had been preaching the gospel since she was baptized with the Holy Spirit at the age of 14. She married Milo P. Cross in 1916, and the Church of God credentialed both of them as ministers.

Although the historical record often highlights men, Lettie and Milo Cross were known for their ministry together. They served congregations in Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee as well as the state overseer’s office in Michigan, Illinois, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. While pastoring, Milo often preached on Sunday mornings, and Lettie preached in the Sunday evening “evangelistic” services. His appointments as state overseer of Michigan and Illinois included pastoring while serving as overseer. Lettie was often left responsible for the local church for extended periods of time, while Milo did new-field work. Then, they would switch responsibilities. Milo would remain at the church, and Lettie traveled the state as an evangelist. Together they planted congregations throughout these states.

Just as Milo was acknowledged as an effective administrator, Lettie was recognized as an extraordinary evangelist. During a five-month revival in Detroit, she did most of the preaching. Many times she preached at district meetings, camp meetings, and other special services. She preached at three General Assemblies, including the 1924 service, which Church of God historian Charles W. Conn identified as the first youth service at a General Assembly. The historical record does not include the results of her sermon for youth, but when she preached at the 1933 General Assembly on “The Price of Our Redemption,” the Minutes reveal that “many souls fell in the altar to seek Him.”

Evangelist Lettie Cross went to be with the Lord in 1972. Loved and respected by many, in 1985 the Pentecostal Theological Seminary named its chapel and an endowed scholarship after Lettie and Milo Cross “in recognition of their praiseworthy teamwork as pioneers in gospel service in the Church of God. Their ministries of gospel preaching and skillful church administration provide an example worthy of emulation.”

David G. Roebuck, Ph.D., is the Church of God historian and director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center in Cleveland, Tennessee.