Global Prayer Movement Database: Missions Mobilization: Early Streams: World Evangelical Fellowship



Interlinear History:








1929 - J. Elwin Wright formed the New England Fellowship

1941 - Wright made a tour of 31 states interviewing evangelical leaders with the purpose of forming a national fellowship.

Working in Boston with Harold Ockenga.

Moody Bible Institute in Chicago - a call signed by 147 evangelical leaders for a conference…

1942 - United Action Among Evangelicals, St. Louis

            1943 - NAE Constitutional Convention, Chicago

Founders: Harold J. Ockenga - first NAE President

                                    J. Elwin Wright - Executive Secretary

Charles M. Fuller

J. Edwin Orr




Revived from “dying embers”/ roots in the Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846 at Freemason’s Hall, United Grand Lodge of England





1950 - International Delegate Conference Hildenborough Hall in Kent, England.

Representatives from 12 countries, including the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain,

   together with delegates from the NAE in America.

Lt. General Sir Arthur Smith - Chair


Gordon College - a related conference for the purpose of promoting “united evangelical action in all spheres.”


NAE Commission on International Relations - Harold Ockenga [Chair] and J. Elwin Wright [Ex. Secretary]

Purpose – “to foment evangelical cooperation on a worldwide scale.”


1951 - NAE founded WEF [formerly the Evangelical Alliance of 1846] to be NAE's international umbrella.


Clyde W. Taylor - makes world tour in the interest of evangelical cooperation, as a result of the meetings held at Hildenborough Hall and Gordon College.


Woudschoten Convention, Netherlands

The initial organizing meeting of WEF

John Stott - laid out WEF's “main purposes”  

Bishop Jack A. Dain - took dictation from Stott

[Stott and Dain - leadership of the Lausanne Consultation On World Evangelization/ LCWE, 1974]

Harold Ockenga - Commission on Evangelism

Hugh R. Gough [UK] - Commission on Christian Action


WEF Statement of Faith incorporated concept of Biblical infallibility.

                                    Pursued status as NGO of the United Nations [tabled]


1952 - European Evangelical Alliance - formed to be an independent entity from WEF over disagreement on the use of the word “infallible” in the WEF Statement of Faith.


1956 - NAE International Commission’s name changed to the NAE Commission for the World Evangelical Fellowship “eventually became the board of the NAE USA Corporation of the World Evangelical Fellowship” [legal body in the USA responsible for the finances of WEF]


1968 - WEF General Council Meeting, Lausanne

Word “infallible” is dropped from WEF Statement of Faith; European Evangelical Alliance joins WEF.


            WEF offices moved to Lausanne

                        Shared office with the International Fellowship of Evangelical

Students [IFES] - C. Stacy Woods

Woods becomes WEF Youth Coordinator


1971 - WEF calls for a “world congress of missions”


1972 & 1973 - Clyde Taylor, WEF International Secretary, “very actively involved” with Billy Graham in the planning of the International Congress on World Evangelization - Lausanne 1974

Taylor working out:

                                                Implications of such an event for WEF

                                                How WEF might help in the Lausanne follow-up process


1969 - WEF's Theological Commission [Bruce Nicholls & Ronald Sider]


1970 - Theological Assistance Programme [TAP]

Aims of TAP:

“closer cooperation between evangelical theological schools…”

“stimulate evangelicals…in fulfillment of the Great Commission in terms and forms relevant…to social change.”


1974 - WEF meets “immediately after ICOWE [Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelization, 1974] to hold its sixth General Assembly in Chateaux d'Oex, Switzerland

Notables present at WEF meeting:

• Billy Graham

• Harold J. Ockenga

• John Stott delivers report on WEF's Theological Assistance Programe –

“theological education should be critically reconsidered.”


            WEF Association of Missions formulated in response to Lausanne

            Steering committee:

                        Wade Coggins - EFMA

                        David Cho* - Korea International Missions

                        *aka Paul Yonggi Cho - AOG International Pastor

                        Ernest Oliver - Evangelical Missions Association, UK

            Seven Units formulated

            Research and Information Unit published – “Bridging Peoples”

Published jointly by WEF Missions Commission and Overseas Crusades [now OC International, founder Larry Keyes]


1975 - WEF Theological Commission meets London Bible College

                                    By-product of meeting…


                        1980 -  International Council of Accrediting Agencies [ICAA]

                                    “ICAA operates under 'sponsorship of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship.”

Purpose of ICAA:

• to serve as a medium for…collaboration among accrediting agencies for evangelical theological education worldwide

• to encourage the development worldwide of programmes of evangelical theological education which embrace in one integrated whole the spiritual, behavioral, practical and academic formation of Christian leadership                                   


7th WEF General Assembly

Consultation on a Simple Life Style [one of six consultations] sponsored jointly by:

• Theology and Education Group of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization [John Stott]

• Unit on Ethics and Society of the Theological Commission of WEF [Ronald Sider]

Controversial Issues:

1.     Considered a merger between LCWE [Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelization] and WEF [World Evangelical Fellowship]

A joint committee set up to explore “ways and means” [for] cooperation between LCWE and WEF.

2.  Issue on WEF's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church

             Waldron Scott [Navigators/ WEF's CEO] invited:

• Ralph Martin – “a leader in the Roman Catholic charismatic renewal movement”

• Msgr. Basil Meeking of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.


1980 - WEF Theological Commission holds International Consultation on Simple Lifestyle


Evangelicals and Development: Towards a Theology of Social Change by Ronald Sider

Lifestyles in the Eighties: An Evangelical Commitment to Simple Lifestyles by Ronald Sider

Both published by Paternoster Press -- official WEF publisher


[Paternoster would later publish Perspectives on the World Christian Movement edited by Ralph Winter, US Center for World Mission]                     


1982 - WEF shares offices in Wheaton, Illinois with the NAE


1983 - Wheaton ‘83: “The Nature and Mission of the Church” held at the Billy Graham Center of Wheaton College.

Chaired by Dr. William Shoemaker, director of the Billy Graham Center.

Convened by World Evangelical Fellowship.

Lausanne Committee and World Vision - provided funding and personnel

                                    Track III – “The Church Response to Human Need” Tom Sine, Chair

Tom Sine is New Age author and member of World Network of Religious Futurists;

Sine’s book, Wild Hope, was endorsed by World Future Society and Jay Gary:


“Well, what shall we make of Trends 2000? Let me introduce two books that I would recommend for the Christian community. Here's a book called Wild Hope by Tom Sine. One of the best, a futurist. A forward by Jimmy Carter here. It's being read by all peoples of faith. The World Future Society has endorsed it. Its an excellent, a global analysis. Biblical theology and creative personal strategy for encountering the needs and caring for the human community of the 21st century.” [Jay Gary, Adopt-a-People Consultation, 1994]




            • Harold J. Ockenga - Fuller Theological Seminary & NAE founder

• John Stott

• Bishop Jack A. Dain

   [Stott and  Dain were both in the leadership of the Lausanne Consultation On World Evangelization/lCWE]

• J. Elwin Wright - NAE founder

Clyde W. Taylor - NAE/ EFMA

Dawson Trotman - Navigators

• Dennis Clark - Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Hudson T. Amerding - NAE & President of Wheaton college

• Gordon Landreth - UK's Evangelical Alliance

• Waldron Scott [Navigators] - WEF Intn'l. Administrator [1974]

  (WEF International headquarters moved to Navigator's headquarters in Colorado Springs at that time.)

                        • Wade Coggins - NAE/  EFMA

                        • David Cho, aka Paul Yonggi Cho - Assemblies of God, International Pastor

                        • David M. Howard -

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Lausanne Committee

WEF General Director - 1986

Authored The Dream that would not Die: The birth and growth of the World Evangelical Fellowship 1846-1986

[The source of this historical info on WEF]


“It was an impressive sight. 800 Christians, who had gathered in Freemason's Hall, Great Queen Street, London, in August, 1846, were standing to shake hands and sing the Doxology. They had just voted to establish what has been called 'a new thing in Church history--a definite organization for the expression of unity amongst Christian individuals belonging to different churches… They called it 'The Evangelical Alliance…'"


• Dr. Robert Youngblood - WEF Theological Commission

                        • Harry Genet - Christianity Today [Billy Graham]

• Ronald Sider - Christians for Social Action

• Tom Sine - World Network of Religious Futurists

                        • Peter Kuzmic - WEF Theological Commission

Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

International Board of AD2000 and Beyond

Assemblies of God**

                        • Luis Palau

            • Ravi Zacharias - wrote Forward to book by religious futurist, Tom Sine’s book:

Mustard Seed Vs. McWorld: Reinventing Life and Faith for the Future.

            WEF's Religious Liberty Commission [partial]

                        John Langlois - chairman

                        Samuel Ericsson- Christian Legal Society & Advocates International

Robert Seiple - World Vision & Institute for Global Engagement

            International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church** [IDOPPC]

                        Steve Haas




1960 - Billy Graham convenes “select group from around the world to consider greater cooperation in world evangelism”

- Montreux, Switzerland      

1966 - World Congress on Evangelism - Berlin

1968 - World Congress on Evangelism - Bogota

1968 - World Congress on Evangelism - Singapore

1969 - World Congress on Evangelism - Minneapolis

1971 - World Congress on Evangelism - Amsterdam

1973 - Post Congress World Consultation - Atlanta, Georgia

            Twenty leaders from around the world to consider if WEF could be the umbrella for Lausanne [1974] follow-up


Graham recommends that WEF be “revitalized and reorganized” to become the committee which serves to facilitate Lausanne.


1974 - International Congress On World Evangelization [ICOWE] - Lausanne

Waldron Scott, Navigators - speaks on “State of the Church around the World”


2000 - Amsterdam 2000



Global Prayer Movement Database: Missions Mobilization: Early Streams: World Evangelical Fellowship