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Leighton Sandys Ford oral history interviews

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 2023-012

Content Description

Three interview sessions with Ford (on four recordings) on May 15, 16, and 17, 2023. Language: English. T1. May 15, 2023. Digital recording, 94 minutes, 0.474 GB, WAV format, recorded at Ford’s residence in Charlotte, NC, with dog Buddy sleeping at Ford’s feet. Topics covered include his early life, adoption, spiritual influences, impressions of Oswald Smith preaching on prayer at a summer camp, role in launching Youth for Christ chapter in his hometown, education and experience at Wheaton College (graduated 1952), part in a gospel team, Philosophy major and professors, 1950 revival, fellow students Norm Rohrer, John Wesley White, Frank Nelson, and Peter Deyneka, Jr., meeting and dating Jean Graham, theological education at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, course of study, professor Manfred Gutzke, marriage, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association figures, including Billy Graham, George Wilson, T.W. Wilson, Grady Wilson, Walter Smyth, Sterling Huston, John Corts, and George Beverly Shea, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the 1957 New York Crusade, and Ford’s assistance to Graham in the 1955 Toronto Crusade. T2 and T3. Morning and afternoon of Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Digital recording in two parts: 56 minutes, 0.283 GB, and 33 minutes, 0.166 GB, both WAV format, recorded at Ford’s residence in Charlotte, NC; afternoon session included dog Buddy sleeping at Ford’s feet. Topics covered include the place of dogs in Ford’s life, continuation on the BGEA, describing George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows, Ethel Waters, Charlie Riggs, Graham’s encouragement to start a team within the BGEA or form his own ministry, Ford’s departure from the BGEA, joint university mission with Tom Skinner and John Fisher, laying the planning for the Billy Graham Center and differences between the plan the what was established at Wheaton, establishing Leighton Ford Ministries, first Point Group, emphases and philosophy, Lon Allison’s leadership, personality, and part in the second Point Group, Ford’s crusades (Reachouts] and their distinctives, experimenting with different approaches – some later adopted by the BGEA, Lausanne Congress leadup, program director Paul Little, personality, style. T4. Morning of Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Digital recording, 106 minutes, 0.533 GB, WAV format, recorded at Ford’s residence with dog Buddy sleeping at Ford’s feet. Topics covered include his painting and artist mentoring, his teammates (Irv Chambers, Homer James, Stan Izon, Norman Pell, John Innes) in his evangelism team in the BGEA, Ford’s family (Jean, children Debbie, Sandy, Kevin) and Sandy’s death, Jean’s role in his ministry, the 1974 Lausanne Congress, tension between social emphasis and “gospel only,” inclusion of social emphasis in the “Lausanne Covenant,” Billy Graham’s disagreement with John Stott about the future of the Lausanne movement at the 1975 Mexico City meeting, development of the Lausanne Committee during Ford’s chairmanship, Lausanne figures (Tom Houston, David Howard, Viggo Sogaard, Peter Wagner, Paul Little, Ray Bakke), efforts to merge Lausanne Committee with the World Evangelical Fellowship.

Acquisition Type



Donated to the Evangelism and Missions Archives by Leighton Ford.

Restrictions Apply



  • 2023



239 Minutes (Spread across four recordings.)

1.46 Gigabytes (Spread across four recordings.)