Mrs. Lizzie McAdams, home missionary, evangelist and promotional and field worker for the National Association of Free Will Baptists, “invented, (as she said) the Jehoiada Chest to collect money for Free Will Baptist work.
Mrs. McAdams’ idea came from the priest Jehoiada’s method described in 2 Kings 12. Jehoiada bored a hole in a chest and placed it by the altar. The priests put offerings into the chest to be used for repairing the house of the Lord.
Miss Lizzie became field worker for the Woman’s National Auxiliary Convention in 1941. The first mention of the Jehoiada Chest appears in 1942, when she reports placing 108 of the chests. That same year the National Association elected her Promotional Secretary and Field Worker. In that capacity she also distributed the chests. She reported in 1943 that the chests brought in a total of $765.45.
That year she suggested that she remodel the chest and have it patented. The executive committee of WNAC voted to leave it in her hands. The patent office refused the patent.
The plan for the chest was that each family place one dollar in the chest each month. The money would be used for foreign missions, with a third of it kept for “home use.” In 1943, Free Will Baptist women asked each family for two dollars because of expanded mission work.
One of the Jehoiada Chests is preserved in the Free Will Baptist Historical Collection at Welch College Library in Nashville, Tennessee. Whether it is an original or the remodeled version is uncertain.
About the Writer: Mary Wisehart served as chairman of the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission