Early in1933, Ford Porter was impressed to place a gospel tract in each home in Princeton, Indiana, where he pastored the First Baptist Church.
He contacted all of the tract agencies he could find and obtained samples of their tracts on salvation, though none of their tracts covered the subject to his satisfaction.
The Lord laid it upon his heart to write a tract. He said: "All right, Lord, if you want me to write a tract, You will have to give it to me." He sat down and wrote God's Simple Plan of Salvation. He prayed over the manuscript for several days, making very few changes, then took it to his friend, Dale Skelton, owner of the Standard Printing Company in Princeton.
When Brother Porter ordered 2,000 to be printed, Dale said: "Ford, I can print you 5,000 for very little more than 2,000. Why don't you increase the order?"
He replied: "Dale, 2,000 is enough. I understand there are 1,800 homes in Princeton. I want to place a tract in each home and I will have 200 left over. I can get rid of them, somehow."
Dale said: "You ought to let me print you more."
"No, Dale, 2,000 is all I'll ever need."
One can imagine the Lord smiled about that time, and said: "Ford, you just don't know how many you will need."
With correspondence to answer from his radio program, Brother Porter would enclosed a tract in each letter he wrote, knowing he had 200 tracts more than he actually needed.
Suddenly, he began receiving letters asking for additional copies of his tract...50, 100, 500, and so on. Soon, his 2,000 were gone.
He went back to Dale and said: "Maybe you ought to print me 5,000 after all." It was not long until he went back for 10,000, and 10,000 more...and larger quantities had to be printed as the requests continued to increase. Soon without solicitation, requests came for his tract to be translated into other languages as well.
Thousands have been saved through reading God's Simple Plan of Salvation. He was quick to give God all the praise and glory for raising up a soul winning tract ministry in answer to prayer.
Ford Porter was deeply impressed to begin a daily prayer meeting early in the morning on his 25th birthday, February 5, 1918. It was his daily practice until his death, November 20, 1976.
He went to the attic even though it was 5 below zero outside and the attic was not much warmer. He took a pillow on which to kneel near the warm bricks of the chimney. During his prayer on that first day he prayed: "Oh God, give me a ministry that will reach souls for Christ, encircle the world, and be carried on long after I am gone." He had no idea how that prayer might be answered.
The second day he included in his prayer: "And, Dear Father, someday enable me to help train young people, men, and women, for Christian service."
These requests were faithfully brought before the Lord each morning.
Fifteen years later, in 1933, God answered his first prayer by giving him God's Simple Plan of Salvation.
In 1955, twenty-two years after God gave him the tract, God gave him the Indiana Bible Institute, now known as the Heritage Baptist University.
One theme sounded throughout the ministry of Dr. Ford Porter: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." I Corinthians 10:31
Ford Porter was responsible for the founding of eight ministries in addition to the Lifegate Baptist Church. They are:
Indiana Baptist College
Children's Ministry, including:
Children's Bible Crusade Clubs
Teacher's Training Classes
Vacation Bible School Institute
Camp Berean Chapel (Zion Baptist Church)
Christian Book Store
Underscoring his desire to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, he would often say, during his messages: "You are looking into the face of a preacher that ought to be in hell. That's all I deserve and that's all I'll ever deserve. But thank God, I'm not going there. I'm on my way to heaven. In fact, in the mind of God, I'm already there. Glory to God."
Ford Porter wrote: "Some time elapsed after the attic prayer meeting, and one morning when I was bicycling down the street in Evansville, l approached a boy about 18 years of age who was waiting for a street car. I thought, 'Is that young man saved?' The Lord said to me, 'Go ask him.' I wheeled to a stop and asked, 'Young man, are you saved?' He said, 'No, I'm not, but my mother has been talking to me a great deal about being saved.' I said, 'You would like to be saved, wouldn't you?' He said, 'Yes, l would.' 'You would like to be saved right now, wouldn't you?' Yes, l would,' he replied.
The street car was stopping at each corner to pick up passengers, and I realized I'd have to hurry to accomplish my goal. I led the young man along the 'Roman's road' - the verses in Romans about sin and salvation. He listened carefully and followed each step. Then I asked him, 'Will you take my hand and say, l will receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior?' He gripped my hand firmly and said, 'I will receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.' I said, 'Let's have prayer.' Just as we finished, the street car arrived and he ran and jumped on. He raised his arm and called, Mister, l want to thank you for what you did for me ' I answered, 'If anything was done, God sure did it.' He was gone.
I got on my bicycle and pedaled down the street, saying to myself, "Why, that young man was not saved!' You can't lead a soul to Christ in a couple of minutes!' I feared this was true though I hoped otherwise."
"God wanted me to know the Holy Spirit does the work. About six months later, I was riding a street car on that same street when I noticed a young man in the back seat with a pair of crutches across his knees. I walked back to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, 'Young man, are you saved?' He smiled and said, 'Yes sir, I am saved. You know, I had a very peculiar experience. Some time ago, I was standing down here on the corner waiting for a street car and someone riding a bicycle came along and asked me if I was saved. I do not know who he was, and when he stopped I was not saved, but when he left I sure was, and I am certainly glad for it.'"
"I was overcome. Tears of joy streamed down my face, and I took him by the hand and said, I'm so glad to hear you say that, for I am the one who was talking to you. It took place in such a short time that I thought you surely couldn't be saved.' But again, he assured me he belonged to Christ."
"That experience convinced me that conversion must be done by the Holy Spirit. No person can save another, but the Holy Spirit can, and will, when He is given an opportunity to work. This was a thrilling answer to prayer for I had been asking God each morning to help me reach some soul for Him that day. I knew then that God could accomplish spiritual rebirth in a short time through His Word."
It is an incident that should give every Christian the encouragement needed to witness for the Lord and to leave the results in God's hands.
Now, in these days we see how God has been pleased to use God's Simple Plan of Salvation to reach the lost. Do not leave home without a supply. To "never let a chance go by," should be our desire. Do not be discouraged if a tract is discarded by someone to whom you have just given it. It has been planted for someone else.