Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy: Lorne McBain

A Godly Example of a Gentleman and a Gracious Shepherd

Mr. Lorne E. McBain first came to Garnavillo, Iowa, in 1938. At that time he saw the hand of God move mightily in saving souls, many of them deeply religious people. After that, he returned many times and in 1952 he had a gospel series with Mr. Fred Watson. That series began in a difficult way, but when God began to save on a Lord’s Day evening, a joyous time of blessing followed. Mr. McBain spoke to me in my bedroom on one occasion and seemed to immediately pinpoint that my difficulty was pride. A few days afterward I was saved when I realized for the first time that the Lord Jesus Christ had died for me personally.

Mr. McBain was a diligent soul winner. He held series of meetings in association with many assemblies. He strongly believed that God worked in series of meetings where individuals were under the sound of the Word of God night after night. He was especially effective in drawing near and winning the children of believers.

Once I was saved, Mr. McBain kept in touch, always trying to encourage and guide. I began drifting toward organized school sports programs but, when he found out, I received a letter I will never forget. He explained that in athletics I would be missing assembly meetings but, in addition, would be entertaining people in the world on their way to a lost eternity! A number of Scripture references were included. His shepherd care was a great preservative and no doubt his letter writing circle was vast.

Whenever I met Mr. McBain his interest was on a very personal level. He knew what I was doing and what my interests were. He encouraged me but also directed the conversation to spiritual matters. After he married my wife and me in 1964 this continued. He invited us to his home and came to visit us in ours. The encouragement was never forced or domineering but gentle and uplifting. We came away feeling we did not want to let him, or the Lord, down.

Mr. McBain’s preaching was based totally on the Word of God and spoken in obvious fellowship with God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The messages seemed to come from God to one’s own soul. His illustrations were often about someone who had gotten saved through the gospel verse he was discussing or a Christian who had been helped in real life circumstances through the teaching he was giving. Since his experiences across North America were widespread, the messages were timely and met the need of the day. Mr. McBain was a talented musician. What had been used for entertainment in his unsaved days was used for the Lord in his years of ministry. Often after a gospel meeting he would gather believers around the piano in a home while he played hymns and led the singing with his powerful voice. His joy was infectious and we left uplifted.

Any account of Mr. McBain would be incomplete without mentioning his demeanor. He was silver haired and always dressed immaculately. He portrayed a true Christian gentleman. His behavior on a platform never involved casual language or wild gestures. Everything he did was done decently and in order. All reflected a sterling character that carried great weight – one that to this day stimulates a desire to emulate. “Whose faith follow” (Heb 13:7).