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Collegiate Ministries

Summary: The story of our work among students starts in the 1930s, but it became quiescent until ministry spread out from Northwestern College into other colleges in Minnesota’s Twin Cities in 1949. A lasting resurgence began in the Midwest from 1957, stimulated by LeRoy Eims and others. By this time, small collegiate ministries were surfacing in Europe, but it was not until a decade later that a season of much fruitfulness occurred in Europe and, in a different mode, in Brazil. The US experienced rapid growth among students, as did South Korea. Then, for a decade until 1995, there came a slump. Several factors are explored. The century ended with a strong recovery. (Material on international students, ethnic students, high school students are handled separately.


Early Navigator Collegiate Work
Post-War Navigator Collegiate Works
Rapid Growth of Navigator Campus Ministries
Early Overseas Collegiate Ministries
Campus Ministries in Europe
Campus Ministries in Korea
Campus Ministries in Latin America
Campus Ministries Worldwide, 1970s

Early Navigator Collegiate Work

Since the Medieval period, students have often been in the vanguard of the evangelical faith.1 John Wycliff (1329-1384), for example, taught classes on the Gospel to other students while still himself a student at Oxford University, and he organized students into preaching bands and sent them out to explain the Gospel!

The Navigator entrance into collegiate work in the 1930s was inconspicuous, with several factors contributing. For one, the term “Navigator” for many years designated only a seagoing adherent of the movement, the land-based ministry with “civilians” going under a succession of names, most often “Dunamis” for young men and “Martures” or “Martyrus” for young women.2 For another, the target area for the ministry was a certain age group, rather than a staked-out mission field, such as a college campus. Whether those in the target age group were collegians or jobholders was not seen as significant. Finally, the nature of the Navigator ministry, that of training young laborers for Christ in hard-core discipleship by individual and small group approaches, did not then require on-campus organization, meeting places or publicity, as would a fellowship group or structured evangelistic effort.

Dawson Trotman, called of God at age twenty-three to a ministry with young men, had a prescient conviction of its worldwide scope and a clear vision of its character – training disciplined soldier-servants of God. Beginning in 1931 with a half-dozen contemporaries, he formed a corps called Minute Men, denoting the battle-readiness of the early American citizen soldiers. These young men ministered in churches, high schools, and junior colleges of Southern California, in evangelism and giving a militant challenge to discipleship, and recruiting here and there a likely candidate for further training. Some of these young men were collegians, some working men.

In 1938, Trotman began giving at least equal attention to student work as to servicemen, turning seriously to establishing Bible clubs for four age groups – grammar school, junior high, high school, and junior college. The Dunamis plan of study and discipline, adapted from the Minute Men regimen, was given to collegians individually and in club groups. UCLA, Wheaton, Westmont, Biola, and CalTech were some of the schools with students in Navigator Dunamis training, a ministry which flourished from 1938 through early 1941. Though the main emphasis was on training them to minister to high school student clubs, not yet establishing a work on their respective campuses among their peers, their training also equipped them for personal witness among classmates. Lorne Sanny, Trotman’s eventual successor, was recruited as a collegian, enrolling in Dunamis training in 1940 while attending BIOLA following graduation from junior college.

With the World War II buildup of Armed Forces from mid-1941, the collegiate work again coasted along while Navigator resources were mobilized for the burgeoning servicemen’s ministry.

After the war, in 1946 and 1947, hundreds of ex-service Navigators entered colleges across the US, with express instructions from our headquarters not to start Navigator ministries on campus but to work at winning and discipling fellow students for Christ, to diligently support InterVarsity, to help local pastors and to work under any existing evangelical banner. In some areas a Navigator representative was located off campus, using his home as a base for local Navigator training. Thus, The Navigators had collegiate ministries in perhaps a score of cities, but they were not so designated or catalogued.

A 1950 innovation3 in our collegiate ministry was a structured training program dubbed the “UCLA Project.” Navigator students in the Los Angeles area schools were invited to weekly classes in an off-campus location, some reducing their schedules by two or three semester hours in order to include the Navigator training. Four years in college would thus extend to five: it was a program for the committed.4 Classes were aimed at maintaining spiritual growth, equipping participants to reach fellow students, and preparing them for future ministry upon graduation. As Sanny wrote to those invited:

All in all, there will be seventeen or twenty or more different courses that will be taught over the span of three or four years. In addition to the classes, personal time will be spent each week with each enrollee. Of course, there will be a major emphasis on using their respective campuses as an ideal mission field in which to put into practice the principles being taught.5

When we accepted responsibility in 1951 for the follow-up of the Graham Crusades, the demands on our leaders precluded continuance of the UCLA Project which thus ended with the spring semester of 1952.

Early Involvement with Billy Graham

In 1947, Billy Graham had been appointed President of Northwestern Schools6 in Minneapolis.7 He asked for a Navigator to join his faculty as instructor in Bible study, scripture memory, and follow-up. Don Rosenberger was given the assignment.

Daws told his staff in late 1948 about “the opportunity that Northwestern Schools is giving us to challenge the student body and faculty to the job he has given us and the part they might have in sharing it. I will have an hour every day for a week with the 1,400 students around the first of February. Billy Graham graciously sat on the platform listening to my presentations. Also, there will be an additional week with ample time for interviews with individuals and small groups. This is but the first step in introducing our work in a large measure on a Bible school and seminary campus.”8

In those early days, there was much intermingling between Daws and his friends among the leaders of other emerging evangelical youth organizations.

Youth for Christ International

Youth for Christ International (YFC)9 was incorporated in September 1945 with the motto: “Geared to the times and anchored to the Rock.” Dr. Torrey Johnson became their first president. The YFC specialty in their early days was large rallies.

On Memorial Day 1945, some seventy thousand gathered at Soldier Field in Chicago to witness a spectacular open-air holiday pageant. The success of this extravaganza stimulated a flurry of new initiatives. Six young evangelists, led by Billy Graham, helped organize and preach at YFC rallies throughout the US and Canada.

In 1948, YFC held the first post-war evangelical missions congress in Beatenberg, Switzerland. According to missiologist Ralph Winter, “the YFC movement helped produce the greatest generation of missionary recruits in the history of the church.” Other youth congresses followed. Beatenberg became a springboard for world outreach. By the mid-1950s, YFC was launching specialized ministries to adolescents such as YFC Clubs, camping ministries for troubled teens, Teen Talent contests, and summer work assignments.

Young Life

Young Life traced its origins to Jim Rayburn starting a weekly club for high school kids in Gainesville, Texas, in 1938. Jim and four other graduates from Dallas Seminary collaborated and Young Life was officially born in October 1941.

By 1946, the staff had grown to twenty men and women in several states. The use of volunteer leaders began at Wheaton College in the late 1940s. Star Ranch, near Colorado Springs, was purchased in 1946, to be used for summer camping ministry and as the national office.10

Post-War Navigator Collegiate Works

Meanwhile, Waldron Scott had applied, after his service in Guam ended in 1949, to various Christian colleges, the only warm response being from Northwestern.11 So it was that Scotty found himself next to Don Rosenberger in their slow enrollment line to register for classes that September. They talked: Rosenberger explained the Nav philosophy and Scotty signed up for his classes. Scotty was elected president of the Foreign Missions Fellowship, while LeRoy Eims (a new friend) was elected class president, and became the first person whom Scotty discipled.12

Rosenberger began to invest in Scotty in the spring semester of 1950 and he was accepted into the inner Nav circle in the Twin Cities.13

During the 1950 spring break, Rosenberger organized a Nav conference, the first Scotty ever attended, at Camp Induhapi outside the Twin Cities. Dawson was the featured speaker and brought his designated successor Lorne Sanny with him.

In June 1950, just before classes ended for the school year, Billy Graham delivered a hard-hitting message to the “Preacher Boys” at Northwestern. His points included:

  • Any known sin will block the anointing of the Spirit.
  • Practice obedience in daily life. We have lost our sensitivity to the Spirit.
  • We must be absolutely yielded, students of one book [the Bible].

As the new school year approached, Daws appointed Doug Sparks, who had been our key man at St. Paul’s Macalester College, to be our overseas representative in Formosa.14 Somebody therefore suggested that Scotty be asked to transfer from Northwestern to Macalester to provide leadership for the Nav work and InterVarsity when Doug departed. During Scotty’s time at Macalester, he also taught at the St. Paul Brethren Assembly, a teenager in his class being Jim Petersen.

Scotty recounts that the IVCF group at Macalester had been “in feeble condition until Navigator key man Doug Sparks arrived on campus as a freshman in the fall of 1948. In short order, putting his Nav training into practice, he led a number of fellow students to faith in Christ and was diligently following them up. Soon the IVCF was vigorous and growing.”15

The regional representative for the national IVCF organization was responsible for shepherding InterVarsity groups at a number of colleges, of which Macalester was only one. Scotty’s relationship with him was somewhat adversarial in that the Macalester IVCF was composed almost entirely of students led to Christ and discipled by Navigators; first by Doug Sparks and Ruthetta Barnett, and now by Scotty. IVCF had thus become one of the most vibrant societies on campus. It was outwardly loyal to InterVarsity and maintained IVCF’s formal program. So, there were some understandable tensions, while continuing under the flag of InterVarsity.16

Meanwhile, the Nav key men, including Scotty, in the Twin Cities area met every Friday at the downtown YMCA, led by Don Rosenberger. Scotty comments in his autobiography:

In describing the campus-oriented focus of the Navs in the Twin Cities, I am tracking a shift from The Navigators’ previous preoccupation with servicemen during World War II to a new concentration on university students. In part, this reflected the impact of the GI Bill of Rights on a veteran’s opportunities. This was a major and permanent shift of emphasis, even though the advent of the Korean conflict refocused attention on the military.17

In the summer of 1951, it became time for Daws to decide on the annual changes in our staff assignments. These changes could be disruptive, especially to married families, but it was the way the Navs operated during that early stage of rapid expansion. Daws asked Don Rosenberger to move to Washington, DC to organize the training of counselors. He appointed Scotty as Don’s successor, responsible for coordinating the Nav work on a half-dozen campuses and extending Nav outreach to new campuses. In his junior year, with the Nav/ICVF group at Macalester still his responsibility, this was a heavy load.18

Soon it was time to gather a busload of students from the Twin Cities to attend the Urbana convention.19

Scotty’s early leadership of the collegiate ministries in the Twin Cities ended in the summer of 1952, after only two years of college. At our staff conference at Star Ranch in Colorado Springs, he informed Daws and Lila Trotman of his informal engagement to Jo (Joan) Hatch and was asked by Daws to take an assignment in Cyprus, while Joan would move into the Nav Home in Pasadena for more training. Thus ended Scotty’s brief but energetic investment in our embryonic US Collegiate Ministry.

The fall of 1951 had stretched The Navigators, with Graham’s Hollywood campaign, while Sanny was still immersed in the follow-up from the Seattle campaign.20 In 1952, Sanny summarized “Six of our men are being sent overseas . . . and Daws and I will be gone most of the year in connection with the Billy Graham campaigns.”21 Scotty was one of “the six.” In Cyprus he began to work among high schoolers at the American Academy.

We were not alone in expanding vigorously. Bill Bright had founded Campus Crusade for Christ22 in 1951 and enlisted his personal friend Dawson Trotman and others as advisors.23 He also began at UCLA and his work quickly spread to other Californian campuses, initially under the auspices of local chapters of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Student athletes, especially, came to Christ through CCC and attracted many other students. In regular weekly gatherings, Campus Crusade, like InterVarsity, attracted tens of thousands of students.

The difference between CCC and InterVarsity is succinctly put in “For Christ and the University”:24

The cooperation that marked the first days . . . soon evaporated. Differences in philosophy made practical difficulties. CCC was a staff-generated movement, not a student movement. IVCF staff were spread too thin. Some chapters only saw their staff member a half-dozen times a year, others less often. . . . Crusade would come onto a campus with a full team of permanent staff, often fifteen or more, each prepared to do the work that IVCF expected students to do. . . . InterVarsity was a student mission; Crusade was a mission to students.

As the Hunts recount, “InterVarsity’s reticence to count converts or to consider conversions genuine until follow-up had taken place made its organization seem more prosaic . . . . Simplistic explanations began circulating that Crusade was for evangelism and IVCF was for discipleship.”

Youth for Christ25 was successfully reaching high schoolers and thus recruited collegians for staff and fed its converts into campus organizations. Young Life, another evangelical agency, continued its work of reaching teenagers in high schools and camps and did likewise. Bob Finley, after visiting Korea as an evangelist, was moved in 1950 to launch International Students Inc. in the US. Warren Myers had an unusual opportunity to work with Bob Finley:

Here at the University of California there are twelve hundred students from overseas countries. Among these are eleven Afghans and Afghanistan allows no missionaries at all. The Lord has given us good fellowship with almost all of this eleven, and several of them are quite responsive and friendly. Also in the Bay area are twenty to twenty-five foreign students who have already become Christians. These have top priority in getting personal attention, so that they may become not only healthy Christians, but faithful men able to teach others also.26

In the early 1950s, Daws spent many Saturday mornings with students who had been led to Christ by Bill Bright. Dr. Bright stated that it was in those sessions that he learned the basics of follow-up and discipling from Daws.27

These sister organizations were led by men who knew and respected one another and were Dawson’s friends. As Edwin Orr writes, they “partly filled the vacuum caused by the demise of the Student Volunteer and Student Christian Movements. Being outside the mainstream of denominational life, they had freedom to pursue their specialized ministries energetically. Even through the slump of the 1960s, they thrived in their work.”28

The term “slump” covered the impact of the moral and political turmoil of the 1960s. Among the many eruptions were:

  • The Freedom March of 200,000 to Washington, DC in 1963.
  • The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in 1964.
  • The decline of privacy, order, respect for authority.
  • Student resistance to the Vietnam War.
  • “Turn on, tune in, drop out” as persuasively urged by Timothy Leary of Harvard.

Meanwhile, returning to the 1950s, Billy Graham held a campaign at the University of Minnesota and increased his student-focus crusades during the early 1960s.29

The Navigators had offered help and loaned staff members in 1951 and beyond to Campus Crusade and to International Students. However, the number of cities where a resident Nav representative ministered to collegians was increasing.

Some Nav collegiate ministries began to emerge in the US in the early 1950s. One example, from the cluster of ministries around Doug Coe in Oregon:

Bud Sharpnack and Bill Bullard are responsible for the work at Willamette University where between forty and fifty have come to know the Lord this school year. State Senator Mark Hatfield is also dean of students and hosted some of our gang.30

Rapid Growth of Navigator Campus Ministries

In the mid-1950s, the demographics of young people in American society began to change. There was the G.I. Bill providing funds for veterans of World War II to go to college. Student loans were becoming available for others. We find Lorne Sanny speaking daily for a week to the students at Gordon College in February 1958.31 By 1959, there were more young people on campus than in the entire armed forces. As Dr. Clyde Taylor observed at our Overseas Policy Conference (OPC) in 1961, “If you can concentrate on university students . . . you are perhaps doing the most strategic work that can be done.”32

Without being particularly aware of demographics, The Navigators followed the Lord’s leading and began an intensive ministry on campuses in the late 1950s and early 1960s. LeRoy Eims pioneered student ministries in Pennsylvania33 and Nebraska.

LeRoy had a particular interest in reaching fraternities. Here, for example, is part of his report34 from Pittsburgh in early 1955:

The Penn State week went fast and furious. From the minute I planted my feet on the campus until I left, I was kept busy talking to men about the Lord. I browbeat old John Goodwin into going down with me, and we really had a ball. We saw a number of men come to Christ while we were there and many are on the brink. The week was one big whirl of preaching the Gospel. The prexy [president] of the Sigma Chi’s here at Pitt had it all lined up for me to stay in the Sig house down there so John lived with Nick Baldwin, the prexy of the IVCF on campus. We hit town Monday night, and Tuesday we had dinner with the Sigma Nu’s and spoke to them, and from then on we had invitations to come to lunch and dinner to a different house each meal. In four days we spoke to seven houses with more invitations than we could handle. Really a hungry bunch of guys. On Friday night we spoke to the IVCF meeting. All in all, it was a good week.

One more thing that I am finding is that my correspondence is really becoming a chore. I have young’uns at Penn State, MIT, Cornell, plus guys at four or five other schools that I keep up with. But it is a joy, as you know. A week ago Friday the Lord gave me this guy at Cornell. . . . He came to Pittsburgh for the change of semesters. . . . By 11:00 he was a child of the king . . .

Leroy moved to Omaha in 1956, mainly because of opportunities at Offutt Air Force Base and Grace Bible Institute, where Bob V. was enrolled. Bob and Johnny Sackett were on his team, and Ron Rorabaugh and Bob Stephens also came from Pittsburgh. Because the University of Omaha had no dorms, Stephens took a job teaching engineering at the University…and Leroy later travelled to various other campuses around the Midwest, to support and encourage our contacts. He moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1958 to minister at the University of Nebraska: Larry Blake and Marvin Smith joined the team, moving from Oklahoma State at Stillwater where Jack Holt had been since 1956.

Meanwhile, Russ Johnston launched our ministry at Iowa State in Ames while a senior at the university, in 1957. He recalls: “We had forty-two dorm and fraternity meetings and hundreds of students heard the Gospel. We did this through the other students.” He partnered with Jerry Marshall. Then, Russ and Don McDonald moved to Lincoln, Nebraska and linked up with Larry Blake and Marvin Smith. Then, Leroy arrived.35

Our collegiate works were led by Gene Soderberg in Canada, Walt Henrichsen in Michigan, and Dave Johnson in Indiana36 where LeRoy Eims was invited by a fraternity to carry out a week of ministry. Nav representative Doug Coe was having a prolific student ministry in Oregon. Jack Patterson was training college students in Philadelphia to teach others the basics.37 Jack Mayhall moved to Wheaton, Illinois in 1958 but soon found much of his time occupied consulting with and helping the new campus representatives in neighboring states.

As the collegiate work spread, we paid more attention to cultural trends. Sanny wrote in 1964:

Physically, college students are not as strong as their parents. They don’t have to chop wood, walk anywhere or do much of anything that requires muscles. Mentally they have to work much harder than we did. . . . Morally, they are quieter, less likely to drink to excess, wiser about sex. But they are at sea about standards and ideals. They are suspicious of absolutes and many do not believe in a standard of morality. As to attitude, they are serious, almost to the point of being neurotic. They have been spoiled by their parents, who have given them too much in material things and too little firm leadership and discipline. . . . What do they need? What people have always needed—an authority that we find in Christ. A set of standards and moral values. . . . We believe the abundant answer to this is Christ and his commission.38

The seeming tardiness with which The Navigators officially became identified with collegiate ministry may have been the result of Trotman’s devotion to his axiom, “Never do anything that someone else can or will do, when there is so much to be done that others cannot or will not do.”

Our progressive entry into collegiate ministry also came with some trepidation on the part of some old-timers, because the atmosphere on campus was so different than in military service. It was not unusual for a military Navigator to spend two-to-four hours in the Word daily. He was forced to keep his testimony sharp because he was under scrutiny and challenge twenty-four hours a day. He had almost unlimited opportunities to evangelize and follow-up new and growing Christians.

So, the question was: Could a Navigator ministry thrive on campus in such a relatively permissive atmosphere? In that era, newspapers often reported on the midnight antics of college students, causing one to wonder whether there was as much partying as studying. Were there students with the potential to follow Christ—loving Him more than family, more than career, and more than material things? Would the scholar think of the Bible as a textbook from which to learn facts, complete assignments and pass examinations rather than as the Word of life and sword of the Spirit for engaging in spiritual warfare?39

History showed these reservations to be for the most part unjustified. One difference was that, whereas the military ministry was largely with men, the campus ministry was coeducational from the beginning. What about our new objective of “producing reproducers?” This was clearly going to take time. Eims told our Overseas Policy Conference (OPC) in 1961:

There are two homes on the East Coast which I visited where men are living. They are potential for this vision, but I don’t think they are producing reproducers. On the West Coast the picture is a little better. There are men on the horizon in San Diego, Pasadena, Fresno, and San Francisco homes. Harold Ward definitely has it. In the Midwest there are potentialities. This includes Wheaton and Lincoln. Overall, we are not doing too red-hot in fulfilling this particular objective.40

Whatever such reservations, we were entering a period of energetic evangelism, in which LeRoy Eims and Bob V. supplied much of the creative energy. The general plan was to use every means available to show that Christians could live exuberantly, joyfully, and in such contexts, present the Gospel.41

Their collaboration began when LeRoy would travel to speak at “missions night” at Grace Bible Institute where Bob was enrolled from 1956 to 1958. LeRoy then moved from Omaha, where he had relaunched the US Collegiate Ministry, to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1958 and was appointed our US field coordinator in 1960.

Bob had moved into LeRoy’s home for training in 1958 but, when his funds ran out, went back to Reno, Nevada, his home town, to work as a supervisor at the Golden Rooster Restaurant in the Golden Nugget Casino, earning enough to graduate from the University of Nevada in 1962.

By now, LeRoy was US areas director, based at Glen Eyrie, and Bob rejoined him as his assistant.

We began to put on annual collegiate conferences at the Glen in 1957, when the target was “college and young business people with a special emphasis on collegiate.”42

As early as 1959, we held a collegiate weekend at Glen Eyrie entitled “Thirty Hours One Mile High,” which was marvelously blessed by the Lord. “All Friday through the night and on Saturday morning, students poured in by car, bus, train, and taxi. The final count of 251 represented students from Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Lincoln, Ames, Stillwater, and several schools in Colorado.”43

Hay Loft Operas, Hootenannies, and Whing Dings

The amount of “fun” with a Gospel purpose seems to have reached a peak during this period of cooperation between LeRoy and Bob. Though the Navs could be described as somewhat calm and focused, they exemplified a surprising quote from the Victorian Presbyterian George MacDonald (1824-1905), a profound influence on C. S. Lewis, who wrote:

There is a glad significance in the fact that our Lord’s first miracle was the turning of water into wine. It is a true symbol of what he has done for the world in glorifying all things. With his divine alchemy, he turns not only water into wine but common things into radiant mysteries. . . . I wonder how many Christians there are who so thoroughly believe God made them that they can laugh in God’s name, who understand that God invented laughter and gave it to his children. . . . The Lord of gladness delights in the laughter of a merry heart.44

C. S. Lewis echoes such sentiments in his talk titled “The Weight of Glory,” including the paragraph:

We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

Leroy and Bob decided to put together an elaborate performance at Glen Eyrie, once a week, to be known as the Hay Loft Opera, using the upper story of the barn where fodder for the estate’s horses had once been kept. The opera opened with an exciting drama of life on the Mississippi River Queen.45

The opera launched in summer 1963, with LeRoy playing Dirty Bert and Bob as Gayelord Ravenall. Music and lyrics were mainly by Ron Oertli and a prominent role was given to Ann Horsford, a British stage actress who had recently come to Christ. A large supporting cast was drawn from the Glen gang. Theater seats were acquired. The production quickly became known as the best show in town, selling out weekly.46 After each show, refreshments were served outside the barn and a testimony was presented.

The production, highly acclaimed, was repeated in 1964. Although, sadly, the partnership dissolved as Bob moved to Bloomington with his new bride Marilyn, the operas continued at least through 1965.

The early 1960s were also the era of the Hootenannies. It seems likely that the first was put on by Gene and Edie Soderberg in Guelph in October 1963. Bob V. joined them to add energy and this first hootenanny was memorable as marking the participation of a youthful Bob Sheffield. At this beginning, one evening was for the men, the next for the women. There were good responses to the short Gospel message. In January 1964, Sanny observed wisely that:

These hootenannies and evangelistic thrusts of one kind or another get a lot of publicity and attention, because of their glamour and flash. But right here it’s good to remember that the heart of the ministry is the foot soldier . . . the laborer . . . Jonathan and his armor bearer. Even though the whole army was there to engage the Philistines in battle, it was Jonathan and his armor bearer who were key to the situation. Just two men. And even though the whole campus was talking about the hootenanny in Kalamazoo, Walt Henrichsen could still say, ‘My objective is not to evangelize Western Michigan University but to see God raise up some laborers. Evangelism is the training ground; I appreciate the training it gave in battle to the six fellows I’m close to.’ So, in case the enemy taunts you that nothing dramatic or important is going on in your area, don’t worry. If your men are going on, that’s what counts.47

Of course, LeRoy and Bob had also staged several hootenannies. These informal musical evenings always ended with a message, often with participation by the audience. This title was well known in the wider culture because, from April 1963, ABC-TV had a Saturday evening folk singing program called “Hootenanny.”48

Not content with the weekly opera, LeRoy also directed several Whing Dings.49 The first large one took place in March 1964 in the Great Hall of Glen Eyrie, comprising a weekend of fun and serious teaching for the young collegians attending: 505 men and women filled the Hall. During a packed weekend, Bob and Marilyn’s wedding took place at a local church on the Saturday and all those present attended an Easter sunrise service on the Sunday.50 Here’s a small sample51 of the impact on participants:

  • “Trusting God for all that was involved was a real faith-builder for us but guys began to believe that God was really alive.”
  • “Seeing God fulfill His promises and seeing so many men at the Whing Ding who were dedicated to Christ stimulated the guys to really believe God for big things.”
  • “The trip was used by the Lord to bring four fellows we took with us to a new life in Christ.”
  • “A number of guys decided to let Christ be Lord of their lives and get wholeheartedly involved in accomplishing the job that is on His heart.”

LeRoy expanded the Whing Dings. In the New Year 1966, he aimed for one thousand attendees. John Crawford assured him that this could be done by building a balcony four tiers high around the walls of the hall which would be “ample seating for a thousand men.” Compared with the previously proposed tent, this was said to be “a plush atmosphere.”52

LeRoy wanted women to attend as well, but it was not practicable. This time, 611 men packed the Hall, and the scaffolding held. LeRoy had written to his staff that “the basic purpose of the Whing Ding is to set men on fire for Jesus Christ.” Fortunately, the local Fire Marshal was not informed, because the risk of a physical fire was evident.

Another Whing Ding was held at the YMCA at Estes Park in New Year’s 1967, in piercingly cold temperatures, with Bob Boardman as the keynote speaker. This time, LeRoy reached his goal of more than a thousand participants. These events, which fitted the cultural moment so well and accelerated the expansion of our collegiate work, were not the only spectaculars that LeRoy put on. For example, there was a Big Basement Bible Blast on Quad B of the Air Force Academy, and some performances in the bar of the White Horse Inn in Nebraska.

By 1968, the Bob and Marilyn V. were moving to Lebanon53 and LeRoy had become one of our three divisional directors. Things calmed down.54

By way of summary, Sanny wrote to his staff to help us stay in the trenches:

These public events, while dramatic and very helpful, are not the grassroots ministry. Let’s never forget that. We have to keep out on the campus, in dorms, on the base, in the barracks, in homes—doing evangelism, conducting small Bible study groups, meeting man-to-man, slugging it out day by day and week by week. This is what gives the “special events” purpose and vitality. . . . Without the grassroots, we would become a bunch of theorizers and our special event ministry would soon collapse of its own weight. There would be no foundation to support it.55

As part of the IV Press series in Creative Christian Living, Missions in Crisis was published in 1961. In this prescient volume, Fife and Glasser dedicate a chapter to demonstrating that students were a growing class, a strategic class, a needy class, a critical class, a responsive class, a neglected class. It was strategic to reach students, they asserted, because “this group of men and women comprises the greatest reservoir of manpower for the cause of Jesus Christ in the entire world.”56

Large events continued. For example, at Indiana University, 3,500 students attended a debate on the topic “Is Christianity Credible?” Nearly half of them requested transcripts, giving Navigator and InterVarsity contacts opportunities to share Christ with interested students while delivering the transcripts, taking the message to the dorm, student union, or fraternity house.57

Early Overseas Collegiate Ministries

The first overseas bases of our collegiate ministry had been Shanghai in 1949, Paris58 and Manchester59 in 1950. Collegians were a prominent target group, although in keeping with the Navigator type of ministry, on-campus organization and recognition were not sought. By 1965, Hugh Harris60 and Darrell Thompson were ministering on three Japanese campuses, through English classes and evangelistic discussions.61

Gene Soderberg and his team were active on six campuses in central Ontario by 1964, the same year that Jim Petersen moved to Brazil and soon began a university ministry. This has continued fruitfully through the years as the basis and the resource for our other ministries in Brazil.

In 1961, the Nav Log featured news of the progress of our student ministries,62 observing that, “around the world, Navigator Representatives and contacts sense the urgency of helping reach university students for Christ.” For example:

  • Jim Chew had asked God for five men who would dedicate themselves to the cause of Christ among those at the University of Malaya. His student Bible study group soon embraced a dozen men.
  • In Tokyo, Ken Yabuki started an evangelistic study among students.
  • In Paris, Gordy Nordstrom was concentrating on contacting students.
  • In the Netherlands, we reached students at the University of Delft and at Leiden University.
  • In the Washington, DC area, Gene Tabor and his close contacts personally presented Christ to a thousand students during the school year.
  • At the University of Nebraska, Jim White spoke to fraternity men and saw dozens of students at the University of Nebraska accept Christ through personal evangelism.

Our Northern division in the United States had very few military bases and was a natural laboratory for research and development of college students.63 Thus, under Jack Mayhall’s leadership in the early 1960s, a widespread collegiate emphasis was pioneered. Jack Mayhall had moved to Wheaton, Illinois in 1958 but “soon found much of his time occupied consulting with and helping our new campus representatives in neighboring states.”

We had come late onto the collegiate scene, some years behind Campus Crusade. IVF had expanded in the 1940s onto many US campuses and declared 1950-1951 as a year of evangelism. Bill Bright was impressed with IVF’s evangelistic zeal, but some local chapters (as at USC) saw Crusade as “competitive.” Bright and Woods met in 1951 and concluded that IVF and CCC could “collaborate with Crusade spearheading evangelistic missions and IVF incorporating converts into local chapters.”64 However, this was an unstable optimism, and, despite conciliatory efforts, Turner summarizes the evidence that, by the 1960s, Crusade and IVF65 were developing a relationship marred by rancor, suspicion, and jealousy.

Another question had surfaced at our OPC Conference in 1961.66 Put simply, in Sanny’s words: “Do we want as a policy to major on university students and what will be the repercussions with InterVarsity67 and Campus Crusade?” Our early experience in relating to InterVarsity was variable, with initial tension at a few places such as Lincoln and Ames. IVF had student leaders, changing annually, so we recognized that a lack of resolution meant that our Rep should talk with the regional director. First, however, we should try to earn the confidence of the local IVF chapter.68

At the OPC, Sparks added that, because we are seeking the 90 percent of students who are not seriously committed to Christ, we will in due course find hungry students who will appreciate and relate themselves to us. Sanny reiterated our calling to work with young people, not only with servicemen.

We pressed on. In 1962, we were working among students in Columbus (Bob Sparks) and Oklahoma State (Holt) and Michigan State (Henrichsen) and Wichita University and the University of Washington.69

Our Collegiate Ministry never made a concerted effort to reach college faculty. InterVarsity had extended their ministry by following their graduates, well before our Community Ministry emerged. Their first national faculty conference was in 1961.70

By 1959, the student work in the US was flourishing and the pioneering work in Brazil was off to a good start.

Minor Tensions with Other Collegiate Ministries

We had to work hard at resolving occasional tensions perceived by a few of those associated with InterVarsity at the University of Maryland and Penn State (as did the IVF leaders). Whereas IVF desired to minister almost entirely on campus, we believed that a Nav home near the campus played a big part in what was called a “thrust and withdrawal” ministry for Christian students on a secular campus.71

One IVF concern was that our energetic forays could jeopardize IVF’s standing with the campus administration. Similar dialogue took place at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Radford. Part of the issue was that some of these early Nav ministries were being carried out under an InterVarsity “flag,” a situation which soon ended. The students themselves were typically not bothered, deciding for themselves with whom they should affiliate. It was agreed between IVF and us that we should operate as separate organizations, to maintain the unity of the Spirit, with our different sovereign purposes.72

A similar resistance surfaced in Singapore when we began our thrust among college and university students in 1965. We operated without fanfare and “always with a local Christian student teaming with one of our Navigator personnel…with all the potential of this evangelistic thrust and with the obvious favorable situation in which to do evangelism upon the college campus, it is not surprising that we should meet some problems. So far, the main problem has been the reaction of the Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES) which corresponds to the IVCF in the US.” The Singapore Secretary of the FES wrote to Roy Robertson, presenting a series of five questions. Thus:

  1. What was the objective of The Navigators when it first came to Singapore?
  2. What are your principles and general policies in your work?
  3. Does The Navigators in Singapore have any long-term plans to enter the campuses of the various tertiary educational institutions?
  4. Which churches in Singapore officially support your work?
  5. Is your main interest in churches or students?

Furthermore, the FES then wrote officially to the student group at the University of Singapore and told them not to cooperate with The Navigators. This, after our staff had met with FES leaders and expressed a willingness to ferry all our contacts and those who made decisions into the existing VCF groups and conduct any follow-up meetings as under VCF sponsorship.73

Jim Chew highlights the importance of personal relationships, in this case through his father:

My father, Dr. Benjamin Chew, was undoubtedly the key person who encouraged cooperation within the Body during the 1950s onwards. He was instrumental in influencing our Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian bishops. He insisted on cooperating with “liberal” churches and getting evangelicals into Trinity Theological Seminary (regarded as liberal at that time) where church pastors were being prepared for ministry. He was also on the board of practically all evangelical agencies. He got our own Brethren Church to be part of the Malayan Christian Council, which was affiliated to the International Missionary Council, an arm of the World Council of Churches. He was also an advisor to FES,74 as well as Navs. He welcomed the Robertsons.

In God’s providence, the executive chairman of the FES in Singapore was Dr. Lawrence Chan who was a close friend of the Chew family, and who notified us that their decision was only temporary and that they would like to meet again for additional discussions, which were much more cordial. All of Mr. Khor’s questions were answered.

A difficulty experienced by both IVF and FES was that, because they were student-led, students typically decided whose meetings they wished to attend. This sometimes put the IVF adult “hierarchy” in a difficult position.

Increased Collaboration with Other Organizations

Nevertheless, there was a rising spirit of collaboration among the US campus organizations in the late 1960s.75 For example, in early 1968, the leaders of four such movements met for two days of fellowship in Denver “to further their understanding of their respective ministries and explore ways in which their ministries could complement one another in the task of reaching the campus world for Jesus Christ.”76 A second such meeting took place the following year, in which one of the outcomes was to “try to do a better job of orienting Young Life and Youth for Christ high schoolers to our campus ministries when they get to college.” For a while, such meetings were rather regular: In November 1970, for example, “The Five”: Bill Bright, John Alexander, Sam Wolgemuth, Bill Starr, and Lorne Sanny spent a day and a half together and agreed to participate jointly in a panel at the NAE Convention in Los Angeles the following April.

In 1971, the leaders of four main evangelical agencies ministering on US campuses met77 and formally agreed “to teach the staff of their organizations the following principles . . .”

  1. We are all part of Christ’s body.
  2. None of us regards any campus as our exclusive field. We recognize that many more students may be helped through the various appeals and styles of the different organizations.
  3. We will establish relationships with other Christian groups on campus, especially by taking the initiative in building bridges to our counterparts in the other organizations.
  4. We will avoid criticism or censoriousness of any member of the Body of Christ.
  5. We will not take leadership from other groups.
  6. When starting a new work on a campus, each organization should endeavor to select new leaders, not leaders of other groups already on campus.
  7. Officers of one organization should not participate in functions of other organizations while they are holding office.
  8. Students have complete freedom to choose which organization they will associate with, but once they have sampled the various organizations, we will all encourage them to make their selection and stick with one group rather than continuously shop them all.
  9. We will endeavor to work out periodic cooperative ventures where all Christians can cooperate.
  10. We agree to share addresses and phone numbers of a contact man for each region and state (or equivalent) at least annually.

The following year, Jim Downing spoke to the representatives of various Christian Movements at Azusa Pacific College on “How to Work Together Harmoniously.”

Summer Task Force, University of Maryland

An interesting innovation was our Summer Task Force, a program for college students in Washington, DC. Students secured a job and lived together at a fraternity house on the University of Maryland campus. There was a weekly Bible study, weekly prayer meeting, daily quiet time and a weekly evangelistic thrust to several universities. The program was not as intensive as the Maranatha Training Program in North Platte. In 1964, it was led by Jim White and lasted some six weeks.

By 1965, the US Collegiate Ministry was spreading fast. We were working on more than seventy-five campuses. LeRoy Eims was our US areas director and he gave three reasons why campus ministry was expanding so energetically:

  • Our men are using spiritual weapons to fight spiritual warfare. . . . They impart the life in Christ by example and by use of the Word of God.
  • They are sticking with the job God has called them to do—making disciples.
  • They realize the importance of feeding their own lives by prayer, the Word, time alone with God.

In 1970, our first New Staff Institute was held at Glen Eyrie. This was an indicator of the speed at which our staff team was expanding.78

Overseas Training Corps: Oslo, Norway, 1965

In the summer of 1965, Europe was chosen as the setting for an ambitious experiment called the Overseas Training Corps. Carefully chosen American students would spend their summer in Europe doing personal witnessing and evangelism with our European contacts. Objectives were to pass on American collegiate skills in witnessing, to broaden the vision of the Americans participating, to generate a greater missionary zeal as a result of the investment.79

It began in Oslo. Fifteen Americans arrived to join forces with sixty-five young Navigators from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The plan was to spend the mornings in Bible studies, with the afternoons and evenings devoted to ministry. God gave us open doors at the University of Oslo, several nursing schools, and some military bases. One highlight was a coffee bar called The Captain’s Club to which around 150 teenagers came every evening: “It is decorated with old fishnets and some pulleys and other things to give a ship’s atmosphere. Our gang puts on a program every hour: using testimonies and Gospel preaching. We passed out many, many invitations on the streets of Oslo.”80 The final tally from the OTC in Oslo was that more than 140 came to Christ and many engaged in the follow-up classes at the club.81

Denny Repko declared that, “The Oslo venture will go down in history as being an all-out learning experience for all involved. . . . God used Doug (Sparks) to get us sharpened to a fine edge for the battle ahead . . . pushing us beyond our normal limit. . . . The experience of working as inter-cultural teams82 was very significant.”83

After Oslo, the participants divided. Several repeated the process in the Netherlands while others traveled to the Middle East. The Dutch set up their Captain’s Club in a small boathouse in the center of the little village of Loosdrecht, with an adjoining tent, so that two-to-three hundred people could be accommodated. Remarkable answers to prayer came every night.

Incidentally, the incoming Americans experienced some healthy cultural discomfort. One wrote home: “I saw my first cricket match in Canterbury today. About as exciting as the average Englishman’s personality.” Another wrote home: “Some of these Frenchmen have terrible colds. . . . They speak through their nose. . . . They have a hard time pronouncing words.”

Campus Ministries in Europe

Quite a few of the Europeans in the OTC were students. This program, therefore, helped to prepare the ground for what became fruitful student ministries in Europe, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Perhaps the foremost examples were in the UK and the Netherlands.

First, the UK.84

Navigator Collegiate Work in the UK

In 1963, Gordy and Margaret Nordstrom (Americans) began to minister among students in Manchester at UMIST.85 Future Navs reached in this ministry included Bernie Dodd86 and Martin Cooper.87 A satellite but more fruitful ministry at the YMCA reached Ron Finlay and Bernie Marks.

Robb and Meg Powrie-Smith had been recruited to our vision at the 1961 Graham crusade in Manchester. By 1966, the time was right for them to launch a student ministry, so they chose Loughborough88 Technical University, a prominent engineering campus where they already knew student Charles Clayton.89 George Howard moved south with them from Manchester to enroll as a student.

Loughborough proved to be an excellent choice, having been saturated in prayer. The Lord gave Robb and Meg the word from Joshua 14:12 where Caleb says, “Give me this hill country.” Charles and George used to join Robb on Beacon Hill, looking down in prayer upon Loughborough.

The Powrie-Smiths moved to Loughborough in November 1966, where Mike Treneer came to Christ as a new student at their housewarming party. George and Charles started Bible studies with students, who were very responsive. Out of this came future staff such as Ted Pilling, Paul Williams and Bob Price. Soon, there was quite a movement of students passing on the good news. A small Whing Ding held the following January in Derbyshire boosted both Loughborough and Manchester ministries.

Those trained in these two ministries spread out to launch Nav initiatives in other cities. After some months of cross-training in Kansas with the Strittmatters, George Howard returned to live with the Powrie-Smiths and then launched what became a strong ministry at the University of Warwick. Later, he opened a ministry in Bristol. Dirk van Zuylen, who became our UK country leader in 2009, moved from the Netherlands to assist at Loughborough and later launched our ministry in Sheffield.

Also in 1966, Roy and Susan Rimmer began a ministry at Reading University which proved to be slow in developing. Later, Phil and Ruth Ann Saksa from the US came to Reading.

An exception to the burgeoning student ministries in the UK was the unusual movement that Ed Reis was seeing in the city of London at St Helen’s Bishopsgate, where he discipled many of those reached in the pulpit teaching of the Reverend Dick Lucas. From time to time, he took his key men on visits to the provinces in encourage our student ministries. He also discipled Roger Morgan in Cambridge who began reaching out to students. Ian Munro from Ed’s London ministry moved with Ron Finlay to Southampton to begin a student ministry. James and Jan Broad also came out of Ed’s ministry in London, opening a work in Nottingham in 1971 and then ministering in Cambridge. In 1983, James became our country leader.

After marrying Chris in 1971, Mike Treneer took over the student ministry in Southampton, joined in 1973 by Isam and Abla Khoury. His first visit to Nigeria was in February 1974.

One of the stronger ministries in the UK was at Sheffield University, led for some years by Pete Dowse. His M.A. dissertation, submitted in 2012, reviews the subsequent experience of male students who had expressed a first-time commitment to the Christian faith as a result of their Navigator experience at the university between 1974 and 1984.90

During this decade, Dowse found that the term “convert” shifted in UK Navigator usage from “professing belief” to those “who manifested some initial evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit” evidenced through seven criteria.

His experience in Sheffield prompted Dowse to publish a new study series Learning to Live, intended to replace Design for Discipleship.91

Looking back at 2012, as he analyzed responses, he found that new believers were significantly helped to gain a clear picture of Christian discipleship by being introduced into a group92 in which it was normative to help one another to:

  • Live as disciples
  • Align with biblical teaching
  • Practice spiritual disciplines
  • Engage in mission
  • Learn from spiritual friends and mentors

Why was there such rapid growth in our UK student ministries in the late 1960s and the following decade? Several external factors contributed. Sociologically, the counter-culture movement of the 1960s,93 including and perhaps influenced by the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War in the US, reflected and fueled an idealism.94

Although the counter-culture movement was derailed in 1968 with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the Jesus movement in the US was a response. For believers, the Gospel kept the idealism alive and gave it a channel.

Notions of right and wrong were still strong. UK schools had daily teaching in religious education with school assemblies and singing of hymns.

Moving to spiritual factors, it is clear that Robb and Meg’s personal sacrifice and commitment—with the opening of their home and their lives to students—was very appealing. Our Navigator values and disciplines were still strong enough to provide structure and demand commitment, but not oppressively so.

As we have seen in many places, the small-town atmosphere of Loughborough gave an advantage over the city of Manchester which offered many more distractions. Also, we appealed to engineering students who were practical and interested in “how” more than “why.” This fitted Navigator approaches which were still very “how to” oriented.

Loughborough was more celebrated as the more “successful” ministry. However, taking the long view, the ministry in Manchester was at least as large in terms of eventual impact.

One may note that, during the same period, the women’s ministry among nurses and therapists expanded rapidly and provided many single staff women.

It has to be said that similar observations about the climate and context would largely be true for the Dutch ministries in Delft and beyond.

Mike Treneer recalls that there was widespread disillusionment with the Church among his generation. It represented the establishment and the status quo and was largely not seen as a change agent. However, The Navigators and Campus Crusade and the Jesus Movement and others were able to harness these winds of change and the result was a harvest of future leaders who accepted the responsibility for moving the Gospel forward into succeeding generations.

Navigator Collegiate Ministries in The Netherlands

Secondly, The Netherlands.95

In 1948, Dawson had met Gien Karssen,96 a young Dutch war widow, who was soon caught up in the Navigator vision. After she translated our Bible study materials, several young businessmen, teachers, nurses, and others gathered in small groups and came to a personal knowledge of the Lord.97

American Doug Sparks arrived as our Europe director in 1958. With his office in The Hague, (replacing Dan Piatt who had left to join the Graham team in the US.) Doug worked closely with Roger Anderson98 and Jerry Bridges. Roger had led Gert Doornenbal to Christ in 1964, and the decision was made to work among university students.

Gert (and Baukje) Doornenbal resigned from his dairy business99 and took responsibility for launching what was to become a very prolific student ministry at the University of Delft. Here’s an account of the first year:

It is a blessing to tell you about the mighty things the Lord has done in Delft. The first year (from September 1966 to last summer) He gave us twelve students who made decisions for Christ. Last summer the Lord gave us a very adequate house in Delft, so that we could move from Voorburg right into the ‘battlefield.’ Last September, we started to work closely with seven students. . . . Each Tuesday they come to our home for dinner and time in the Word and prayer. The Lord gave us these past months twenty-two students who made the decision. The ‘seven’ are helping them.100

For at least ten years, many students came to Christ, formed small Bible study groups and witnessed to their friends. And as many people left the church and the country became more and more secularized, God continued to use The Navigators to draw many young people to Himself. Not only in Delft, but the same exciting process happened around Aral and Irene Dijksman in Utrecht, and around Dirk and Sandra van Zuylen in Groningen. Hundreds of students entered a personal relationship with Jesus.

Of that first generation of seven students101 around Gert and Baukje, several became Nav staff. Two of them went overseas as Nav missionaries to spread the good news in countries such as Sweden, East Germany, Poland, and Italy; others served the Lord within the Navigator movement in The Netherlands.

At that time, pursuing a course at the university normally required at least five years. However, with many activities to be enjoyed, most students stayed for seven years. This was clearly an advantage in equipping young converts thoroughly, mentoring and training them as they supported the next generation. The vision or calling of The Navigators became a visible reality. Within a decade, Navigator ministries spread around the country not only among university students, but also among high school students who used the name “Captain’s Club.” Graduates witnessed in their environment, drawing people from traditional churches to encounter Christ or re-commit their lives to Him.

However, this prolific ministry slowed down in the 1980s. Students weren’t that open or interested. It took considerably more time to gain enough trust to communicate the news of knowing Christ personally. Some of our laborers became discouraged and left, while others held on in the midst of strong criticism from those with a more liberal view on what it means to be a Christian. Disciples were still being made, but far fewer.

Then, Jelle Jongsma, Nav staff in Rotterdam, came up with the idea of forming Navigator student unions or clubs where all were welcome. This was a very contextual approach and, as students gathered for recreational purposes, opportunities for studying the Scriptures in small groups were offered. It was an ingenious and strategic step. Within this setting of student entertainment, they heard the Gospel and surrendered their lives to the Savior. Today, thousands of students are involved again within the Dutch student ministry.

Secularization has struck Europe, leaving a deep impact among its inhabitants. Even in The Netherlands, ignorance regarding the Lord and His message has become normal. However, disciples are still being made through Nav ministries. As well as a blossoming high school ministry, our student ministry is present in at least fifteen cities. Dutch missionaries are being sent out again to France and Peru, inspired by – among others – the faithful ministry of female Nav laborers in Russia and Romania. Meanwhile, many of those who came to know the Lord in our high school or student ministries years ago continue to share the good news with people in their secularized environment, or in their churches.

European Congresses on Disciple-Making

One of the strongest grassroots indicators of God’s blessing was a series of three cumulative European Congresses on Disciple-Making in which most participants came from our student ministries. The sequence:

ECDM 1: Kiel in April 1966 (more than four hundred attend)

ECDM 2: Loughborough in January 1971 (more than seven hundred attend)

ECDM 3: Essen in April 1977 (more than 2,700 attend)

This third congress, held over the Easter weekend, was probably the second largest Nav conference we have ever held in any country.102 Nine hundred came from the Netherlands, eight hundred from the UK, and 350 from Norway. The offering project yielded a record US $100,000. However, the highlight was spiritual:

The greatest sacrifices were made in obedience to Romans 12:1. At the end of one of Doug Sparks’s messages, probably one thousand persons stood and prayed audibly one by one, indicating their commitment to a lifetime of disciple-making anywhere in the world.103

On the surface, the tide was still rising for four years after this ECDM in Essen. In 1980, we saw God raise up more new laborers than previously or subsequently: approximately 165 in our five main European countries. But then our fruitfulness began to decline rapidly as the cultural context shifted. Here is the annual number of new disciple-makers in select Nav ministries in Europe for the years 1976 to 1983 (Click on the link below).

Table 1: New European Disciple-Makers, 1976-1983

Campus Ministries in Korea

In 1966, the Nav ministry by Korean nationals was launched. John Ha and Paul Yoo started by contacting university students104 whose names had been given to them by relatives and church friends, so that there were already some relational connections at various colleges.105

Some of these new believers went out immediately to do evangelism, thus setting an energetic pace from the start.

Within a few weeks, Paul and John were giving all their time to evangelism on the university campuses, from early every day until just before the curfew at midnight. They experienced God’s special grace and blessing. Every day, several students prayed to receive Christ and were invited to Paul’s home to study the Bible together. Soon, there were too many new believers for the space in his home, so they were allowed to use a room in a local church to study the Bible every Sunday afternoon, using the SCL Studies.106

Looking back on those days, one sees how important it was for Paul’s wife (Sook Ja) and John’s wife (Soon Rak) to be committed to leading the women who had found the Lord. As they were discipled, the foundation of the Korean Nav ministry was laid down in a pattern of man-to-man and woman-to-woman. This distinctive feature,107 namely that staff wives are in charge of the women’s ministry, has continued successfully to this day.

The first Nav conference in Korea was held in May 1967, with Bob Boardman as the main speaker. This strengthened the vision and deepened the convictions of the young Koreans. Also, it became clear that responsibilities should be more formally assigned, in mutual cooperation.108 Bob made more visits to Korea, especially passing on a zeal for in-depth Bible study.

By 1970, the Lord led the core team to expand the ministry beyond Seoul. John Ha moved to the city of Taejon. He had hesitated because there were plenty of unmanned campuses in Seoul. He took heart, however, from the Lord’s reminder to Philip in Acts 8: “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza,” which must have seemed strange because Philip’s ministry in Samaria was very productive. In any case, John was challenged by the story and moved to Taejon in November with prayer that he would meet there someone like the Ethiopian eunuch.

Perhaps God smiled because John’s move to Taejon was the start of the remarkable growth of the ministry in the 1970s: David Choi to Taegu; Peter Hong to Suwon; Kim Jung Won to Inchon; John Pyun to Pusan; Andrew Oh to Kwangjoo; Chung Won Oh to Junjoo; Sohn Dong Pyo to Kyungsan; and so on. It was a time of great fruitfulness and God poured out his blessing on each of these ministries, all of which had been concentrating on evangelism and discipleship. Now, clearly, some organization was needed.

With many potential Korean leaders emerging, it was decided that Ron York and his family should return to Korea at the end of 1971 to supervise and develop the emerging leaders. He did not need to stay long, leaving Korea in 1973. Paul Yoo was appointed as our first country leader in October 1972 and, during the same month, John Ha moved back to Seoul. The ministry in Seoul city was by now so large that in 1973 it was divided into two segments: Seoul A Area (John Ha) and Seoul B Area (Paul Yoo). At the time, the ministry was not only at the National University but throughout the city of Seoul.

Our strongest European ministries were plateauing towards the end of the 1970s, but the Lord continued to give us steadily increasing fruitfulness in Korea. The circumstances were very different. As an illustration for the decade of the 1970s, we see rising numbers of new Korean disciple-makers by year, starting in 71-72: 11, 7, 26, 16, 35, 29, 42, 54, 59, 86, 109.109

Secularization was spreading in Europe from the late 1970s, but the comparison above is also a tribute to the diligence and faith-filled energy with which the Lord supplied our Korean staff. By 1980, Korea was our largest ministry outside the USA.

Eventually, as the students graduated and moved into adult employment, their contributions to our staff gradually increased. The teaching and example of the apostle Paul influenced our movement. Supporting the staff who had invested in them became a natural part of the pursuit of discipleship.110

The above system is still the norm. It provides stability, based on continuing relationships after one’s college days have ended. Campus ministries continue to be the heart of our Korean approach. They are a breeding ground for recruiting future staff and they are a ministry target in which God has given us deep experience, even though we recognize the cultural shifts within Korea that have reduced our productivity. Now, much more patience and perseverance is required. As many of our present staff are in or approaching their 60s, it becomes even more essential to focus with determination on campus ministries. This issue is not unique to Korea, but our Koreans are setting an example in their focus on campus fruitfulness.

Collegiate Ministries in Latin America

In Latin America, the firm bonds of social security, family solidarity, and religious authority began to dissolve. Students found themselves uncertain and insecure in the midst of a revolutionary age. As Luzbetak (1967) notes, freedom of enquiry usually exists:

during those periods of cultural and social disorganization, as is generally the case during . . . rapid urbanization and industrialization, a fact fully appreciated by Communists and other revolutionaries.

And, Marxists were quick to sense the vacuum in students’ hearts. It was clear that:

This age group [between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five] is precisely the one that is most idealistic . . . and overflowing with energy and hope for a better world, ready to make any sacrifice demanded of them.111

To understand Marxist approaches around the world and their often-successful methods, quite a few Navigators read the book Dedication and Leadership by Douglas Hyde.112 Marxists presented a comprehensive worldview that helped the students discover their identity and approached them on the basis of their felt needs. It provided an answer for the social and economic crises that plagued their consciences. As Voelkel (1974)113 writes: “Marxists appealed to the student’s idealism. He finally has discovered a relevant, workable, logical cause worthy of his whole heart and devotion, a cause that has the whole movement of history behind it…by means of small, closely knit cell groups, they relate students together in an intimate way and drill them thoroughly.”

Communism, many have argued, was a Christian heresy. As Art Glasser declared at the Urbana convention in 1970, “Communism could have come only from within the Hebrew-Christian tradition because it is the Bible that awakens the social conscience of man.” The great irony of the situation is that when the Church failed to be salt in a corrupt society, her hypocrisy appalled sensitive men like Marx and Engels. The Church seemed largely oblivious to the human predicament identified in James 2:14-17 and elsewhere.

Voelkel (ibid) has an entire chapter describing how The Navigators ministered, beginning in late 1964 through Jim and Marge Petersen and extending by 1974 to Mexico and Costa Rica. He describes, as he sees it, our heart and our methods. A brief quote regarding our early days in Brazil:

The Navigators have resisted temptations to systematize their methods and publish them. They are convinced that learning comes in relation to experience and, thus, they are suspicious of “education” or the piling up of facts that cannot immediately be put into use or practice. However, in working with an individual, the disciple-maker visualizes a goal for the disciple in terms of what he would like to see in his pupil’s life. . . . New converts are brought to maturity through discipleship. . . . The first phase is life-oriented—the individual is helped to stand on his own spiritual feet. The second phase is ministry-oriented—he is taught how to help others.114

Petersen had three converts at the end of his first year. However, after six years, he spoke of eighty-five disciple-makers and estimated that at least two thousand had come to Christ through believers multiplying themselves. There were converts in forty cities and cell groups functioning in twenty-six cities. At the same time, two German Lutheran pastors in Brazil became interested and, in one church, eight hundred are now (2012) involved in Bible studies: four hundred church members and four hundred newly won from among the lost.

The blessing of God rested on the Brazilian work. Petersen worked at contextualizing amid the cultural barriers developed by evangelical churches. The Navigator work grew along kinship and familial webs. Voelkel concludes: “The phenomenal growth of this movement among students and the educated elite in southern Brazil is most encouraging. . . . It continues to grow and develop and, if it is able to solve the acute problems of ecclesiastical form, this pattern augurs well for the cause of Christ in Latin America among the growing middle class.”115

However, our missionaries in Latin America soon realized, as the work spread to Mexico (1966), Argentina (1973), Venezuela (1975) and beyond, that what Sam Clark calls the “Brazilian Method” was by no means a universal solution for Latin America. Sam writes that no two countries, or even cities within a large country, will be exactly the same, and he expresses his experienced view that we have not always kept this in mind.116

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Jim Petersen was trying to do what no other Navigator had ever done—start a work only among the non-religious. God gave him Isaiah 45:14, and Ken and Carol Lottis117 as superb partners in pioneering. They began “friendship evangelism,” a method which is now deep in our Nav fabric. The Brazilian ministry started and flourished among university students and then followed the fruit into their graduate careers.

The Brazilian Navs have served in other countries, which is not generally known: Oswaldo Simoes to Mexico, Fernando Gonzalez and Elisio Eger to Argentina, Aldo Berndt to Colombia, Marcio da Silva to Spain and Portugal, and, of course, their wives. The Brazilian “model” is home-based, and students were amazed and won over by seeing how true Christian marriages flourish.

The student ministry in Mexico practiced short-term missions trips from 1969 onward, starting among indigenous peoples in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Later, an Aztec group formed, using their language of Nahuatl.

Our student work in Costa Rica was led by Jorge Davila from 1972, assisted by some Argentinians.

In Argentina, university works were begun in Buenos Aires (1974) and Caracas (1975).

And so our expansion, led by the Spirit, continued. Nationals dug deep into the Scriptures and experienced them as their true guide in the vicissitudes of daily life. Ten countries in Latin America had been exposed to our generational ministry by the time that the Lord gave us The Core (the Navigator Calling, Values, and Vision) in 2002.

Campus Ministries Worldwide, 1970s

The Navigators as of spring 1971 were working on 188 college and university campuses in twenty-one countries.118 How much of this was progress within the US? By the following year we were ministering on 106 US campuses and 116 military bases.119

Expo 72 (June 1972) took place nightly in the Cotton Bowl during the summer in Dallas. There was an average of eighty thousand day-time participants. This very large and exciting event was sponsored by Campus Crusade and directed by Paul Eshleman. The target was high school and college students.120 The Navigators had a strong presence, our team wearing identical red sports coats, and it included some forty Nav Koreans who came specially to help serve in the event.

During the 1970s, we often expressed our ministry as comprising three stages121 in a country:

Stage 1: Demonstrate producing disciple-makers. Experience shows this stage will take six-to-ten years if we are going to build solidly.

Stage 2: Send representatives to other countries.

Stage 3: Significant impact in the country itself. “This is still ten-to-fifteen years away in the US and worldwide. When this stage is reached, representatives will not be sent from the US to overseas posts in appreciable numbers because the strategic spots will be filled by men of many nationalities. . . . Then, we will be in a position to use US manpower to make an impact in the US—and each country will be heading towards this same objective.”

The strong emphasis on cross-cultural sending prior to making a significant impact in a country clearly diluted the ranks of US collegiate leaders because many were selected for overseas staff slots. In fact, as we can see in other articles,122 we “over-sent” during the early 1970s, and this had repercussions throughout the 1980s.

As Mike Jordahl points out, regarding the eventual effect of “over-sending,” there was often an “erroneous assumption that fruitfulness on campus would simply continue in spite of the sending of US Collegiate leaders to other countries.”

The PAN Leadership Team123 met in June 1987, with Skip Gray and Jerry White. Skip opined that the “rhetoric” on reaching megacities was a factor in reducing the emphasis on student ministries in the US.124 He saw a shift from equipping laborers to impacting cities, buttressed by US staff moving into community ministries because they more readily produced financial support. Jerry saw university ministries as “the bread and butter of our future . . . a wide-open evangelistic field . . . an opportunity to reach young people before they started to make irreversible decisions.” Then, student ministries in PAN were reviewed. What emerged was a statement that “the number one priority for the national ministries in PAN is the revitalization and revision of the student ministries.”125

A US collegiate report126 was authored by Janet Hock in September 1989. This valuable research was designed:

  1. To evaluate the current state of the Collegiate Ministry in regards to its staff, the students, and effectiveness
  2. To summarize reports, papers, and documents which address these issues
  3. To make recommendations as to how The Navigators can better serve its collegiate staff

We were ministering on 126 US campuses. However:

The size of many (Nav) ministries is decreasing, due in part to the number of evangelical ministries on many campuses. The average size of Nav ministries that reported is thirty-seven. At Oklahoma State, for example, there are forty religious organizations vying for members.

This Hock report analyzed the makeup of our 270 collegiate staff. Only 16 percent were women, yet women comprised 51 percent of US students. In our campus ministries, men averaged 67 percent of those involved. The report goes on to identify influences and trends, both in collegiate cultures and among our campus staff.

Terry Cook became US collegiate director in 1990 when the transition to “entities” began. He selected the Genesis Team127 who first met in January 1991 with a remit to “define the future” and transition into a proper leadership team by September. This process gave birth to the Collegiate Entity. Terry noted that “since a high percentage of collegiate staff do not know me, it is critical that some sense of familiarity develop.”

Our collegiate staff gathered at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in October 1992 for a retreat under the banner “For the Sake of the Call.” The papers for this retreat provide a picture of where our US campus ministry had reached, and what it was reacting against. Thus, desired value changes were laid out:

  • Living and ministering in community rather than as individual “lone rangers”
  • Contribution by gifting and roles rather than primarily by position
  • Accountability by relationship rather than primarily by position
  • A unified staff committed to a common vision, mission, strategy, and to one another, rather than a network of “independent franchises”
  • Ministering to an entire campus rather than just ministering at a campus
  • Participative decision-making rather than autocratic decision-making
  • Dependence on relationships rather than dependence on structure

Our campus vision was to see “generations of men and women who are laboring for the kingdom of God in every nation of the world,” and this would be accomplished by a three-fold mission: equip, engage, mobilize.

The campus staff had in their sights set on eighty-seven target campuses, on fifty-two of which our staff currently served. A notable part of the plan presented at this retreat was the intent to “engage the entire academic community with the Gospel.” This was to include undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, university staff. All this, while wholeheartedly participating in The CoMission.”128

The Constellation Concept, 1990s

During the early 1990s, the US was establishing what they called the “Constellation Concept.” Contributing to this was the proposal from their Genesis Team on behalf of the national Collegiate Ministry.129 This proposal, formulated by thirteen mainly field staff, laid out that:

A large portion of the authority and accountability we need is spiritual and biblical in nature as opposed to organizational. Therefore, we propose that the local and trans-local staff teams be given the primary responsibility for designing their decision-making procedures and choosing the leadership they need. . . . Another implication of greater numbers involved in decision-making is the need for a strong frame of reference. Our overarching goals and purposes must be very clear. Therefore, we propose to have a team of national leaders whose primary responsibility is leading us in our mission. . . . We propose “a container” that is shaped by a strong emphasis on informality and networking. . . . While we will still need some policies, we prefer that the glue that holds us together be trust. Undoubtedly, this will mean a structure that at times is messy around the edges and somewhat ambiguous, but by design that is okay. . . . Several factors will require us to have lavish communications focused on our students, constituency, and staff. . . . Participative decision-making means the freedom to influence those decisions that impact us and the opportunity to understand the results: however, it does not always mean having a democracy or that having input is the same as having a vote.

The need was urgent. Looking back, the following six reference points130 show the gravity of the slump from which we had to recover. Numbers of US Collegiate staff:

1980: 257
1985: 278
1990: 196
1995: 159
2000: 268
2005: 361

In 1992, there were fourteen million students on over 3,600 campuses and universities in the US. Almost ten million of them were in our prime target segment of eighteen to twenty-four years old.

Navigator Van Tour, 1994

A Nav Van Tour 1994, led by Mike Jordahl131 and covering most of the US, ended with a Nav Vanalanche for three hundred students over the Christmas break. The purpose? Here’s Vic Black at Auburn:

This really stirred up momentum for our campus. I’m not a gifted evangelist, but we need an evangelistic emphasis. Bringing a van of Navigator evangelists with a passion for the lost to our campus had a big impact on me and the students.

And Jim Lett at Ohio State:

This has been the best ministry experience of my life. It was obvious from the start that God was involved. I felt like I was riding on the coattails of what God was doing, just being carried along. I really sense I’ve been part of something of real significance, and I think the van trip is continuing to gain momentum.

The Van Tour 1994 set out with select Nav staff and students on the van (for one to six weeks), traveling eventually to at least eighty foundational campuses around the country. The prayer was that it would be used by God to launch a spiritual awakening, such as are always dependent upon prayer and evangelism.

Seventy new evangelistic studies started as a result of the tour. A side-benefit was recruiting for the upcoming Edge Corps program.

Edge Corps

The Edge Corps, initially shaped by Terry Cook,132 was launched at the Nav Vanalanche. It had a bold mission, namely to call out a new generation of graduate leaders:

  • To passionately follow Christ
  • To take risks by engaging college students with the reality of Christ, through evangelism and discipleship
  • To be developed as spiritual laborers for the campus, the marketplace and the world

The vision was that the corps133 would be known nationally as the premier graduate ministry training experience in the US.

The corps grew fast, challenging young graduates with the excitement and creating an environment of hope and courage that was attractive to potential EDGErs as well as current Nav staff. The Edge Corps has evolved and continues to flourish. Typically, some 40 percent of those who graduate from the US Corps can be found on our staff five years later.134

In the providence of God, it was the generation of students who began to arrive as freshmen in 1994—Gen Y—who were more open to the beauty of the Gospel. Some other ministries experienced the same effect. The result, within a few years, “led to many young and enthusiastic staff who loved being Navigators and who invited their friends to join with them in the great adventure of the Edge Corps.”

US Cultural Changes Impact Collegiate Ministries

This initiative from our collegiate leaders came none too soon. The decade of the 1980s had seen a precipitous decline in the number of US collegiate staff. In analyzing this, one needs to look at the social and cultural background that caused similar downturns for Campus Crusade and InterVarsity. Their stories share many similarities to our own.135 However, Mike Jordahl, who served as our collegiate leader from 1991 to 2007, has identified some causes136 that were specific to our organization:

  • We had placed a strong focus on city ministries which inevitably lowered the perceived value of campus ministry. Some of our best leaders were assigned to city-wide ministries.
  • Staff training, which had typically been quite structured and programmed, declined when we moved to a functional rather than a geographical structure.
  • Similarly, in our desire to become a movement, we emphasized the importance of laymen to the extent that the call to become fulltime Navigator staff, especially campus staff, was lessened.
  • We made a false polarity between organization and movement, choosing to pursue the latter at the expense of the former.137
  • Quite a few staff who had initially gone out as overseas missionaries from the US in the 1970s returned home, sometimes prematurely and often quite discouraged.
  • There also developed a very mistaken perception that Americans were no longer needed overseas. “With the notable exception of those involved with The CoMission (who were mostly short-term lay people), many godly, gifted and motivated men and women who wanted to serve overseas with The Navigators were sent away.”

Finally, the emphasis on reaching the lost refocused our attention on the potential of students who were already Christ-followers. We were evangelizing but we were not equipping our people.

Soon, Tom Yeakley became US campus director and a clear collegiate mission was formulated: “To reach, disciple, and equip college students in the US to know Christ and to make him known through successive generations in all the nations.”138

Doug Nuenke and Tom Yeakley worked with Mike Jordahl in converting Mike’s study of the “Missing Generation” into a case study139 in which they added a couple of probable additional causes. Thus:

  • Until the early 1990s, there was not a concrete process for people to join staff, which reduced the number of young staff.
  • The focus on Management by Objectives (MBO) in the 1970s may have contributed to the kind of leaders we attracted during that season.

It is chastening to note that the number of US campuses on which we ministered declined from more than two hundred in the early 1980s to fewer than fifty by 1994, which saw a tangible beginning of recovery through the Nav Van Tour already mentioned.

Tom Yeakley also brings out the cultural shifts that formed the background to our ministries. His comments are worth quoting:140

In the 1980s, we were ministering to the Gen X, the spiritually apathetic generation of students. Tried and proven ministry methods created and trained into the staff in the 1970s during the fruitful Jesus Movement among the Baby Boomers no longer worked. Collegiate ministry was difficult, with little fruit. Staff worked harder, but saw little response. This ‘hard ground’ in the campus was combined with the prevailing Gen X philosophy of “don’t trust anyone over thirty years of age.” Thus, our veteran staff were finding it increasingly difficult to relate to students due to their age. By the early 1990s, the average age of our collegiate staff was over forty; thus, the invitation to leave campus and move into the exciting and new community ministries seemed very attractive.

Spiritual Hunger in Eastern Europe, 1989

In November 1989, the “Velvet Revolution” took place in Czechoslovakia. Suddenly, Christians could enjoy much freedom in proclaiming Christ and, after forty years of atheism, there was enormous hunger for spiritual values. Therefore, our Slovak Navigators formed a student Christian organization called D3 which would “attempt to show the biblical answers to contemporary questions in a way that is current and culturally relevant.”141

CampusNet, London, 1994

As regards networking internationally among campus staff, another significant development in 1994 was that thirty-four collegiate staff from eighteen countries142 gathered near London, England at what was called CampusNet. Objectives which were successfully accomplished included strengthening relationships in a common pursuit, exposure to what God was doing throughout our student works, exploring common crucial issues, strengthening one another in personal growth and leadership.143 Participants assessed the gathering as practical and productive, often in written reports.

One outcome from CampusNet was Blake Purcell’s vision144 to prepare a Nav Global Student Ministry History and Prayer Guide. He intended to assemble “a package of information that would be informational and rewarding for worldwide staff concerning the collegiate ministry.” After consulting quite a few others, he distributed an extensive questionnaire which would resource a Campus Ministry Handbook to be designed in order “to portray our global society in the beauty of its diversity and power of its unity.” This appeared to be a very ambitious project, and so it turned out. Responses from collegiate staff from around the world flowed in more slowly than anticipated. McGilchrist and Stanley, who had guided CampusNet, had both expressed the need to simplify and the reality that printed information would soon be eclipsed by developing technologies.

As Brooke Ballenger wrote from St. Petersburg:

We have come to the decision that we did not get enough responses from collegiate workers to create anything substantial enough for distribution. . . . You were right in saying that it would be a massive undertaking. . . . By the time we had gathered enough information, my ministry had grown substantially as had Blake’s city leadership responsibilities. . . . We are of course very encouraged by this, but regret that we do not have the information or the energy to complete the collegiate project.145

Nevertheless, the enthusiasm generated at CampusNet was a vital factor in stimulating a discussion on our student ministries during the International Council in June 1995. The council received reports on student ministries from:

  • Brazil (Roberto Blauth)
  • Central Europe (Dick Fischer)
  • USA (Terry Cook)
  • Eurasia (Gert Doornenbal)
  • Asia (Alan Ch’ng)
  • Western Europe (Rinus Baljeu)

The interaction at this council was helpful in anchoring “the general sentiment that we need to keep a higher priority upon work among young people,” though it was not the function of the council to make decisions.146

Terry Cook sustained the concept of a Global Student Network until the year 2000. As early as February 1998, the IET had reviewed Terry’s proposal and decided that they did not wish to make this a global initiative. There was some sense that Terry’s approach was too structured, and there was some hesitation about his energetic recruiting.

Renewed Growth in the US, 2000

By then, the trend in the US was rather positive. In their annual report for the year 2000, the IET noted:

In our US Collegiate Ministry, the accelerating trend that we have experienced since 1995 continued. On quite a few campuses, the demand for study groups exceeds our capacity. Spiritual interest among young women is such that we now have 70 single American women serving as campus staff. The Edge Corps sent out their first missionaries, to Malaysia.

LeaderQuest is a similar Canadian program to the Edge Corps. For almost a decade, it has recruited graduates for a one-year commitment to leadership training. For the first time, LeaderQuest sent a short-term team of four new graduates outside Canada, to Chile.

In Latin America, our Student Exchange Program (Intercambio Estudiante) involved eighteen Latin students spending at least a month in one of half a dozen foreign cities. This thrust provides part of the foundation for the Americas Missions Coalition, in which our leaders from throughout the continent are committing themselves to send cross-cultural workers to the nations of the Americas.


By 1996, it was estimated that at least 37 percent of our field staff around the world, in twenty-six countries, were engaged in collegiate ministries.147

The character and objective of Navigator collegiate ministry today remains that of producing the disciplined laborer, although methods of reaching and training that laborer have changed and continue to change with time and circumstances. Personal and group evangelism, group Bible studies, one-to-one fellowship, conferences, and other events are seen primarily as vehicles for the development and maturing of disciples and disciple-makers engaged in them, and secondly as contributions to the Body of Christ through those evangelized and followed up in the process.

See also articles on:
A History of our Calling
Youth Ministries
Military Ministries
Whing Dings
Men & Women Partnering
Overseas Policy Conference: 1961
Overseas Training Corps: 1965
Fundamentals of the Nav Ministry
The CoMission
The Approach to The Core

Link to Attachments

Collegiate Nav Staff as % of All Field Staff, by country: 1996
Students in World Missions: A Brief History

By Donald McGilchrist


  1. Chapter 1 of For Christ and the University by Keith and Gladys Hunt (IVP, 1991) is an outstanding treatment that summarizes this long history and ends with ten features of American student movements of the last two centuries. See also McGilchrist, “Chronology of Students in World Missions: 1632-1995,” attachment 2.
  2. These are transliterations from the NT Greek: Dunamis meant power and Matures meant witnesses.
  3. This project was the precursor of our post-war collegiate ministries. Planning began in June 1950. The program was launched and held twice during 1951 and in the spring of 1952. Latterly, it was at Culter Academy. Tom Carroll assisted Sanny in the teaching load.
  4. A few high schoolers applied, but the program, every Tuesday evening, was limited to collegians. Participants included those who became influential in our work, such as Dee Moen, Lu Stephens, Leila Elliott, Hans Wilhelm, Don Hamilton.
  5. Source: Sanny’s letter to various invitees in July 1950.
  6. Northwestern Schools comprised a Bible school, a theological seminary, and a college.
  7. Graham had resigned from YFC in 1948. From 1949 (Los Angeles) onward, he was focusing more on his crusades than spending time at Northwestern.
  8. News Bulletin 51, November 9, 1948.
  9. See Young Man on Fire: The Story of Torrey Johnson and Youth for Christ by Mel Larson.
  10. See my article on “Youth Ministries.”
  11. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act 1944, popularly known as the GI Bill, gave many ex-servicemen opportunities to attend college or university. By 1956, 2.2 million had used this benefit, which was a major factor in the formation of the American middle class.
  12. See the account in The Lost Art of Disciplemaking.
  13. This group of key men included Bob Glockner, Jake Combs, Tom Carroll, Bob Seifert, Doug Sparks, Bill Fletcher and the twins Dean and Gene Denler, at the Bible school.
  14. Doug’s assignment was to develop a system of follow-up for the enormously successful evangelistic campaigns conducted at the time by Dick Hillis, founder of Orient Crusades. Formosa became Taiwan in 1949.
  15. Waldron Scott, Double Helix, privately printed, p. 128.
  16. Roger Anderson and Dottie McClintock were in the IVCF group at Macalester at that time. Dottie married Roger and they had a distinguished Nav career.
  17. Double Helix, p. 136.
  18. Scotty appointed Roger Anderson as the Macalester leader.
  19. Although the Nav contingent was a tiny part of the three thousand attendees, the program and connections permanently impacted and strengthened Scotty’s commitment to cross-cultural missions.
  20. Source: School Project, McGilchrist archive box 90.
  21. Source: Sanny letter of August 29, 1952. His hope was to revive the project in the fall of 1953, but this was not to be.
  22. Now, CRU. An excellent and informative history is Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America by John G Turner, University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
  23. Henrietta Mears, Dick Halverson, Cyrus Nelson, Dan Fuller, Edwin Orr.
  24. Keith and Gladys Hunt, The Story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the USA: 1940-1990, IVCF, 1991, p. 171.
  25. Daws was elected to the YFC board in 1952.
  26. “Dear Gang” of April 8, 1952.
  27. Source: “History of The Navigator Ministry,” Jim Downing, May 4, 1995.
  28. Paragraphs based on Campus Aflame: A History of Evangelical Awakenings in Collegiate Communities, by J. Edwin Orr, Regal Books,1971.
  29. During the 1960s, Graham conducted several student campaigns, including visits to both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
  30. “Dear Gang,” May 12, 1955.
  31. Source: Log April 1958.
  32. OPC 1, S16.
  33. Leroy and Virginia moved to Pittsburgh in 1953, beginning work at the University after local pastors had requested help after a Crusade. He had been loaned to Campus Crusade because Bill Bright had not yet spread out from UCLA. Dr. Bright approached Daws who gave him a list of 13 Nav staff, all of whom were seconded to CCC. Meanwhile, Bob Stephens came to Christ at an Air Force Base near Pittsburgh, so Bright graciously released him from CCC. However, Charlie Hummel soon asked Leroy to represent IVCF part-time in Pittsburgh!
  34. Quoted in Addie’s letter to our staff of February19, 1955.
  35. Sources: McGilchrist August 29, 1994 memo on Students: Early History and interview with Russ Johnston in April 2017.
  36. Nav Log October 1954.
  37. Nav Log January 1956.
  38. “Dear Gang,” April 3, 1964, slightly edited.
  39. The Revised Standard Version was published in 1952, earning a faster acceptance among European evangelicals than American. A positive development was the publication of John Stott’s book Basic Christianity in 1958.
  40. OPC 1, S17.
  41. During these years, students were restless; there was an anti-war climate of protest. November 1963 saw the assassination of President Kennedy; June 1964 the US Civil Rights Act; August 1964 the Tonkin Resolution authorizing action in Vietnam. By December 1966, there were 385,000 US troops in South Vietnam, a presence which peaked at 543,000 in July 1969. Meanwhile, in April 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
  42. “Dear Gang,” February 11, 1957.
  43. “Dear Gang,” November 6, 1959.
  44. Extracts from Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity, George MacDonald, quoted in Mars Hill Audio Journal 121.
  45. A large canvas backcloth created the illusion of moving down river as it was winched sideways, and a professional lighting system added to the impact.
  46. 1964’s performance was Territorial Tragedy & Triumph, and in 1965 we put on Serenade & Swindle. The production scripts have been preserved.
  47. “Dear Gang” January 24, 1964.
  48. Peter, Paul & Mary were emblematic of youth culture. They sang If I had a Hammer at the 1963 March on Washington, DC and followed up with Blowin’ in the Wind in 1964. The Glencoves recorded a single entitled Hootenanny which was high on the music charts for most of 1963.
  49. Whing Ding: “A wild, lively, or lavish party” (Merriam-Webster). This was a quintessentially American festivity, unsuited for most other cultures. Jim Petersen, looking north from Brazil, referred to them as “Whangle-Bangles”!
  50. Sanny had suggested a huge tent on the baseball diamond, but the weather might not cooperate.
  51. Eims to Dear Guys of October 19, 1965.
  52. Eims to Dear Guys (his staff) of September 23, 1965. See large photo in our International Building.
  53. Promptly, upon arrival, Bob launched a coffee house named The Bitter End across the street from the American University in Beirut, borrowing the name from the famed coffee house in New York’s Greenwich Village. This was packed with students.
  54. Bob V. did put on a final Hootenanny in Nairobi, Kenya, at the request of Dave and Sherry Hall, in 1971. It was a huge success with the students.
  55. “Dear Gang,” 1968-4, Sanny.
  56. Chapter 10 of Missions in Crisis by Eric Fife and Art Glasser, IVP, 1961, p. 193-209. Fife went on to serve as the IVCF missions director until 1968 when David Howard replaced him.
  57. Nav Report: “Expanding Collegiate Ministry,” May 1965.
  58. Dave Rohrer. He resigned in 1954.
  59. Bill and Jeanette Fletcher. They resigned in 1961.
  60. In an early example of international cooperation, Paul Yoo and two other Koreans joined in an evangelistic thrust to help Hugh Harris launch a new collegiate ministry in Kansai. Source: “Dear Gang,” 1968-10.
  61. “Dear Gang,” August 6, 1965.
  62. Nav Log 89, October 1961.
  63. Preceding paragraphs largely based on memories from Jim Downing, prepared for the US Collegiate Entity on May 15, 1995.
  64. See Turner, loc cit, p. 69-74.
  65. For a concise account of the complex history of what became the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, see chapter V of The Conservative Evangelical Student Movement and World Evangelization. Also, pages 358-400 of The Evangelization of the World in This Generation, Denton Lotz, University of Hamburg, 1970, are instructive.
  66. OPC Session 21.
  67. The full title of the US organization was and is the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF-US, formed 1940) which had taken the lead in 1947 to organize the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES, at Oxford), building on the heritage of the British InterVarsity Fellowship (1923) and resulting in forays from the Canadian (1929) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. These initials were variously abbreviated.
  68. Sanny and Stacey Woods (IVF equivalent) had already come to an amicable arrangement.
  69. In the Great Lakes, Jack Mayhall was launching Operation Homestead, in which key men from the region came together for several days of evangelism at Western Michigan University. More than a thousand students came to the student union to hear our presentation of the Gospel. Nav Log, August 1963.
  70. Theme: “The Christian Professor in the University,” 1961, in Madison, Wisconsin led by Dr. John Alexander.
  71. See Jim White’s letter of February 16, 1965 to LeRoy Eims on the Penn State interaction which laid out three guidelines. Jim added that “unity is not a matter of organization but of attitude.”
  72. Jim White to Hutchinson (IVF) of March 22, 1965 and to Eims of May 13, 1965. Earlier cordial correspondence between Sanny and Charles Troutman (general director of InterVarsity) in 1963 could also be cited.
  73. Letter of May 31, 1965 from Khor Tong Keng, Secretary of FES Singapore, and subsequent report to Sanny by Roy Robertson. Khor’s letter came after we had had several meetings with the FES leaders to seek a solution that offered mutual benefit.
  74. The Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) was affiliated with the Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES). As a student in 1956-1957, Jim Chew served as chairman of the VCF. He reports that the FES continues to prosper. Source: Chew to McGilchrist on March 3, 2015.
  75. By the end of the decade, we had participated enthusiastically in several IVCF triennial Urbana conventions. For a summary of the emphases of these conventions from 1948 to 1967, see Lotz loc.cit. p. 379-400.
  76. “Dear Gang,” February 9, 1968. Present: John Alexander, Bill Bright, Lorne Sanny, Wilber Sutherland. In 1969, Bob Mitchell of Young Life and Sam Wolgemuth of Youth for Christ were also present (“Dear Gang,” March 9, 1969). For November 1970, see “Dear Staff” letter December 11, 1970.
  77. This was known as the Trail West Agreement signed on December 15, 1971 by CCC: Bill Bright, Swede Anderson; Young Life: Bill Starr; IVCF: Bill Alexander; The Navigators: Sanny, Eims, Gray, Henrichsen. It was eventually superseded by the Chicago Agreement: Unity in Mission flowing from a gathering of seventeen campus ministries met on October 25, 2010.
  78. “Dear Staff” of May 15, 1970. Robb and Meg Powrie-Smith participated from the UK.
  79. Eims to “Dear Guys” of December 24, 1964.
  80. Letter: Don Hankins to Pat Nelson, July 9, 1965, Oslo.
  81. “Dear Gang,” August 6, 1965.
  82. Leaders based in Europe included Doug Sparks and family, Bob Stephens and family, Roy Rimmer, Joyce Turner, Pat Lawler, Bob Wilbraham from Denmark, Tom and Nancy Heeb and Gordy Strom from Germany, Noel Nelson from Sweden.
  83. Letter: July 28, 1965.
  84. The account that follows is largely taken from Mike Treneer’s recollections in 2017.
  85. University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology. The Nordstroms returned to the US in 1981.
  86. Bernie later moved to help Robb launch the Birmingham University ministry.
  87. Martin later opened our ministry in Liverpool, succeeding Pete Dowse and Alan Sims as country leader in 1996. Martin became a major player in our Church Ministries, internationally.
  88. Robb was living in Crewe but frequently visited Charles at Loughborough to disciple him. See Nav Log Issue 117.
  89. Charles eventually moved to Glasgow to pioneer our first student ministry in Scotland. Later, he became the UK executive director for World Vision, having studied at Westminster Seminary.
  90. M.A. dissertation titled “An Evaluation of the Long-term Impact of Disciple-Making Amongst University Students with Reference to the Experience of Male Students Expressing a First-Time Commitment to the Christian Faith as a Result of their Connection with Navigators During their Time as Students at Sheffield University between 1974 and 1984,” submitted at York St. John University.
  91. He comments that DFD featured twenty-nine topics but “none referred to issues such as materialism or endemic poverty, corruption, or injustice. This individualism also meant that there was a very limited theology of church,” loc. cit, p. 11.
  92. Loc. cit. p. 47. This accords well, Dowse points out, with the theological reflection of the TACT group on the place of community (in The Kingdom Life, Andrews, 2010, NavPress) and with the important Willow Creek Association survey on “Reveal Spiritual Life,” 2009.
  93. The following paragraphs adapted from Mike Treneer’s perspective of the factors which yielded such unusual receptivity to the Gospel from the mid-1960s through the 1970s.
  94. The folk music of the 1960s (early Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul & Mary) contains a longing for change in society, an impatience with hypocrisy, a suspicion of authority. In line with this, our folk group in Loughborough (Howard, Williams, Croson) as well as the Glorylanders in Manchester effectively tapped into this music to stir hearts and communicate the Gospel.
  95. What follows is largely taken from recollections by Cees de Jonge in 2017.
  96. Dawson sometimes referred to Gien as his Lydia, with reference to the apostle Paul’s first convert, a business woman in the city of Philippi (Acts 16:14). She interpreted for Daws at a Bible school weekend conference, after which he asked her to produce the Topical Memory System in Dutch.
  97. Gien’s first book, Her Name is Woman, appeared in Dutch in 1974. Ten years later, her five titles, much translated, had reached sales of 500,000.
  98. Anderson arrived in 1960, Lee Brase in 1963, and Johnny Sackett in 1965.
  99. The Doornenbals were originally discipled by the Andersons and then by the Brases.
  100. Excerpt is from Gert’s letter to Sanny quoted in DG 1968 – 5.
  101. The seven were: Laurens Touwen, Kees Ton, Rob Pieke, Rinus Baljeu, Gerrie Hobleman, Cees Metselaar and Cees de Jonge.
  102. The largest was the Permanent Difference Conference in December 1974, led by Bob Sheffield, which 3,500 students attended.
  103. From Lorne Sanny’s report to our staff.
  104. The paragraphs that follow on collegiate ministries in Korea are taken from my article on that country.
  105. For example: Hanyang University, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul Moonli Teachers’ College, ChungAng University, Konkook University, Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
  106. The translation which Doug Cozart had initiated in 1954 was now nearing completion.
  107. Although distinctive, it was not unique. A similar gender-based pattern of ministry has been a feature of our work in Brazil.
  108. Paul Yoo at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (and some working people) John Ha at Seoul National University and David Choi at Hanyang University.
  109. Source: Korea Reports to IHQ: 1971-72 to 1981-82. Average for first three years 15…for last three years 85. For the decade, 59% women.
  110. Some of our pioneering missionary staff, placed in new contexts, were partly supported by their sending supervisors. However, this phase usually passed as the ministry expanded.
  111. Louis Luzbetak, The Church and Cultures, Divine Word Publications, 1970, p. 271 and 282.
  112. Douglas Hyde, Dedication and Leadership, Notre Dame, 1966.
  113. Jack Voelkel, Student Evangelism in a World of Revolution, Zondervan, 1974, p. 61.
  114. Jack Mayhall, “How to Work with a Man,” Navigator Tape, undated.
  115. Voelkel (loc cit), p. 124-126.
  116. This segment draws from “Some Reflections on the Last 55 Years,” dated 2012, a beautifully constructed history prepared by Sam and Carrie Clark who began their Latin American odyssey by joining George amd Florine Sanchez in Costa Rica in 1959.
  117. Ken has published an engaging and challenging account of his Brazilian experience entitled Will This Rock in Rio?: Finding God in an Urban Culture (NavPress, 2010). It gives an excellent flavor of the people and patterns of ministry that Ken and Carol followed, teaming with the Petersens and others.
  118. Sources: Dawson Trotman journals 1931-1941; The Navigator Log and other Navigator publications. Material furnished April 1971 to Dr. J. Edwin Orr at his request on entrance of Navs into collegiate work, for use in Ph. D. thesis.
  119. Source: Nav Log, July 1972.
  120. Source: Wikipedia, accessed November 20, 2013.
  121. Source: “Dear Gang,” 1968-3, Sanny. Later that year (DG 1968-11), Sanny borrowed the concept of three stages and applied them to the individual Nav Rep in his locality.
  122. See “Global Planning: 1966-1975” and “Cross-Cultural Missions” and “The Allocation of Cross-Cultural Missionaries” and “Stress in the Seventies.”
  123. Pacific Area Navigators. PAN covered most of Asia plus Australia and New Zealand and the islands of the Western Pacific.
  124. He instanced downgrading ministries at Syracuse and Penn State in order to channel staff into New York City.
  125. Discussion during July 19-24, 1987 meeting. However, until the mid-1990s, all our ministries in the Philippines were collegiate. Source: Wency de la Vina interview January 15, 2012.
  126. In line with purpose 2, Hock pulled information from various regional and divisional reports prepared in the previous three years.
  127. Fifteen leaders. Memo from Cook of December 20, 1990. The US Military Entity was launching during the same period.
  128. See retreat papers, especially pages 16, 19, 20, 24, 25, 27. For The CoMission see separate article.
  129. See “Final Proposal for the US Navigator National Collegiate Ministry from the Genesis Team,” April 23, 1991.
  130. Source: US collegiate snapshot statistics, undated but based on several sources. Among the statistics, one of the most encouraging trends was as regards staff under age thirty: we recovered from thirty-seven units (23 percent) in 1994 to 150 units (52 percent) in 2001.
  131. Organized by Mike Mangerchine and Connie Ekberg, with Vanalanche speakers including our collegiate directors Terry Cook and Bill Tell. Source: Nav Van News and Views.
  132. At that time, Terry was our collegiate director and Bill Tell was our associate director.
  133. Briefly called the Radical Corps (April 1994, Cook) and then, even more briefly, the Morningstar Partnership!
  134. Source: Conversation with Steve Rugg, October 2012. The first international Edge Corps team left for Malaysia in October 2000. It may be noted, looking back across the centuries, that the great missionary Francis Xavier (1506-1552) declared: “Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come Eastward to preach the Gospel of Christ.” In the 1970s, our own Waldron Scott gave an address to the Association of Church Missions Committees on “The Student Missions Movement” (Wheaton, 1977).
  135. Bob Fryling’s address (“A Campus Portrait”) at the 1992 InterVarsity staff conference paints a somber picture of students lost in relativism, materialism, and political correctness. One positive aspect for IV was their strong ministries among ethnics and internationals. Fryling reported that “25 percent of our students are African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Native American, or from other countries. They are enriching and leading many of our groups with a diversity of worship and discipleship.” Fryling was director of Campus Ministries.
  136. Paper on “The Missing Generation” dated January 19, 2011.
  137. There was even talk in some Nav circles of an inevitable decline from “man” to “mission” to “movement” to “machine” to “monument.” See my article on “Movement.”
  138. Letter: Yeakley to campus staff, September 25, 1998. This statement sat well within the mission, vision, and values of the US Navigators for the period 1995-2000.
  139. Case study compiled from notes by Nuenke, Jordahl, Yeakley: January 2011.
  140. Quotation taken from Tom’s contribution to the “Missing Generation” study: January 19, 2011.
  141. Launched by Milan Cicel, Frantisek Ciesar, and Daniel Raus. D3 covered physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions. This organization has expanded and borne fruit, continuing today.
  142. The US were represented by Terry Cook, Mike Dodson, Lindy Black, Evan and Kim Griffin, Dan Christensen, Craig Parker.
  143. CampusNet steering team: Tan Swee Chan, Peter Bramley, Jelle Jongsma, Terry Cook.
  144. Blake served with us in St. Petersburg. He sought responses by April 1995, and appropriated Malachi 3:16 for his project. In the previous month, he wrote to McGilchrist on the importance of “stirring up the brethren in their commitment to reaching collegians worldwide. . . . It is my sober feeling that the fate and future of The Navigators hangs in the balance on this one issue. If the root is healthy, so are the branches.”
  145. Ballenger to McGilchrist of December 20, 1996. The Collegiate Ministry history account was closed at January 31, 1997.
  146. Another stimulus was the prayer page on “The Navigators in US Campus Ministry” attached to the DNF letter of April 1995.
  147. See Attachment 1, analysis by McGilchrist.
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