The uneducated and often unpaid clergy of the Baptists and Methodists made it possible for these denominations to sustain congregations anywhere a few people could gather, for it was the pursuit of souls, not material comfort, that drove their clergy forth. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine that any sum of money could have motivated Bishop Asbury to travel nearly 300,000 miles on horseback, disregarding weather and chronic ill-health, to supervise his far-flung network of itinerants and circuit riders. It was thus that the upstarts swept over the nation. Just like the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, they always got there “fustest with the mostest.” Moreover, they knew what to do when they got there: preach!

Rodney Stark, The Churching of America