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Collection 650 Records of Say Yes, Chicago

Identifier: CN 650

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, lists, financial records, questionnaires and training videos other materials of the Say Yes Chicago committee, a group of Protestant Christian leaders that incorporated to sponsor Say Yes Chicago, a 1996 city-wide evangelistic effort led by evangelist Luis Palau. These files contain significant information about the planning and organizing of the campaign, with some material on the actual events of the campaign, the results, and the follow-up process.


  • Created: 1973-1997

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

Say Yes Chicago (sometimes also known as the Greater Chicago Evangelistic Campaign Committee) was a group of Protestant minister and laypeople that formed to plan and supervise a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual evangelistic outreach to Chicago and its suburbs in 1996, led by evangelist Luis Palau.

Historical Timeline:

Founded: Ca. 1994; dissolved 1996. An informal group of Chicago Christian leaders, lay and clergy, had been planning for a greater Chicago evangelistic effort since at least 1991.

Headquarters location: 33 Madison Street, Oak Park, Illinois

Executive officers:

Chair (later president): Mark Anderson

Honorary Co-Chair: Clayton Brown

Other significant officers:

Treasurer: Dan Norton Secretary: Clifford R. Raad

Significant events in organizational history:

April-May: Most nights during these months a TV program called Night Talk with Luis Palau [italics] was broadcast live on Christian television channel 38 in Chicago from 11 PM to midnight (7 PM to 8 PM on April 7 and 28). The program was broadcast in Spanish, May 6-10.

April-May: There were ninety events held in the nine different regions into which the committee had divided the Chicagoland area, including the three major venues listed below. There were 9,600 people who made decisions, including 2,500 decisions to accept Christ.

April 25-27, 1996: Evangelistic events at the Rosemont Horizon arena in Rosemont, Illinois. On April 27 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring the Newsboys in the evening.

May 3-4, 1996: Evangelistic events at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois. On May 4 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring Jeff Moore and the Distance in the evening. 531 decisions for Christ, 6,000 attended the youth night concert. May 8-11, 1996: Spanish language evangelistic events at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.

May 12-23, 1996: English-language evangelistic events at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. On May 18 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring PFR in the evening.

May 27, 1996: Rally in Grant Park, Chicago, attended by 2500 people. Approximately 129,000 attended the 75 events in April and May. There were 9,500 making decisions for Christ. Approximately 1800 churches participated.

May 31, 1997: A dinner and other events commemorating the campaign was held on its one year anniversary at the Chinese Christian union Church.

Ministry emphasis: To plan and implement in conjunction with the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (LPEA) an eight-week campaign in Chicago and suburbs that divide the city into eight regions, each with their own evangelistic events with Palau or other evangelists, including Tony Evans, John Guest, Ron Hutchcraft, Billy Kim, Dan Owens, and Bill Thomas. The campaign was intended to include meetings in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean, with individual regions having distinctive campaigns, including rallies and other outreach events. Preparations would include training thousands of laypeople to serve as counselors (called Bridgebuilders) who would help converts become involved in nurture groups in participating churches.

Geographical emphasis: All parts of Chicago, Illinois, and its closest suburbs.

Alternate names: Original name of the non-profit corporation was Greater Chicago Evangelistic Campaign Committee. It is not clear if the name was ever officially changed, but by early 1996, the group was generally referred to as Say Yes Chicago.


9.94 Cubic Feet (22 Boxes (20 DC, 1 ODC, 1 Flat), Video Tapes )

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[Note: In the Arrangement section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]

Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical by title

Date Range: 1991-1997; mostly 1994-1996

Volume: 9.61 cubic feet

Boxes: 1-22

Geographic coverage: Chicago, Illinois, and its suburbs.

Type of documents: Correspondence, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, financial records, lists, schedules, questionnaires

Correspondents: Mark Anderson, John Ogle, Kevin Palau, Tim Robnett, Jerry Vreeman, Kent Whitney Subjects: Evangelistic work in the Untied States in the 1990s, Christian ministries (particularly Protestant Evangelical ministries) in the greater Chicago area, Luis Palau and the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (PLEA), Chicago religious and cultural life in the 1990s, Chicago ethnic groups.

Notes: The records in this collection give a fairly detailed picture of the organizational and financial preparation for the campaign, including the participation of churches and other Christian organizations, the recruitment and training of counselors, and the preparations of the steering committees of the different regions. There is less detailed information, but still significant, on the events themselves, mainly in the form of newspaper and magazine coverage and some information on the follow-up and wrap-up. These files are basically the files of the chair of the campaign, Mark Anderson, and show the effort largely from his perspective and that of the executive committee. Minutes, correspondence and other documents of the executive committee are in folders 3-2 through 3-4. Folder 6-8 contains letters of support for the campaign from churches and individuals in the Chicago area. Financial records of the campaign, including figures on donations, budgets and expenses, can be found in folder 3-5 to 4-3 as well as 1-1. Some of the call sheets for fund raising efforts are in folder 1-4. General Correspondence and information about the campaign from start to finish are in folders 4-5 to 5-16. Folder 1-3 contains the campaign brochure, giving the overall plan and folder 4-4 has some of the forms used. A few schedules of campaign events are in folder 6-4. Folder 6-3 contains many reports about the efforts to organize continuing prayer support for the campaign and for particular prayer needs at different times, including a manual on how to organize a mayor’s prayer breakfast for civic leaders. Folder 1-2 has the counselor training course handbook as well as other books distributed by the campaign (some in Spanish) and box 21 holds the manuals that describe the set-up of the a typical Luis Palau evangelistic campaign, and the responsibilities of the different committees. Folder 5-18 contains various documents about the LPEA, including some annual reports. Folders 2-3 through 2-7 contain newspaper clippings, either about the campaign or about events or trends that Anderson or others thought were helpful in preparing to reach the population of Chicago. A few statistics are in folders 3-4, 6-6. 6-7. Materials on the training of counselors and the follow-up of new converts are in several folders, including 1-2, 4-4, and 5-14. Boxes 7 through 20 consist entirely of applications filled out by people who volunteered to be counselors (Bridgebuilders) for the campaign, helping new counselors get started in the Christian life. Box 20 contains applications in Spanish. The Englished applications are organized alphabetically by the name of the church the counselor belonged to. These application contain very brief (usually one or two sentences) accounts of how the applicant became a Christian. Some attempts at evaluation of the campaign can be found in folders 5-16 and 6-4.

Exceptional items:

●Folders 1-5 and 2-1 contains letters, newsletters brochures and other materials from various Evangelical ministries in the Chicago area, including Chicago Baptist Institute, Chicago Bible Society, Chicagoland Christian Women’s Conference, Chinese Christian Union Church of Chicago, International Urban Associates, Lawndale Coalition for Christian Leadership, Metro Chicago Youth for Christ, Midwest Christian Outreach, Moody Church, Northside Fellowship of Churches, Promise Keepers, Straight Talk, the Pui Tak Center, and West Suburban Evangelical Fellowship. There is also information on the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George L. Carey, to Chicago on May 23, 1996. Similar information is scattered throughout the general files in boxes 4 and 5. Folder 2-8 contains clippings, newsletters, brochures, etc., about events sponsored by Christian organizations in the Chicago area and folder 4-13 and 4-15 contain copies of the Chicago Evangelical News Bulletin.

●Folder 1-2 contains a random sampling of church bulletins from Chicago area churches, possibly churches at which Anderson or others were speaking about Say Yes.

●Folder 3-1 contains a draft of the letter of agreement between the LPEA and the Greater Chicago Evangelistic Campaign Committee about the responsibilities of each group.

●Folders 5-2 and 5-4 contains some information on the campaign’s Muslim outreach efforts.

●Folder 5-10 contains reports on outreach plans for the Polish and Hindu communities, as well as many reports on activities in the different regions.

●Folder 5-11 has reports on the “Spread the Flame” rally on March 31, meant to kick-off the campaign events. Folder 5-11 and 5-13 also have information on one of the events of the campaign, a banquet at which John Ashcroft and Luis Palau both spoke.

●Folder 6-9 contains reports and data from a telephone survey done after the campaign to investigate reasons for lack of support from African American churches. See also folder 5-4.

●Box 22 contains lists printed out on large ledger sheets of churches participating in the campaign, churches holding Bridgebuilder classes, counselors at the larger events of the campaign. Each list contains basic contact information and most list hundreds or thousands of individuals or churches.


Series: Audio/Visual Records

Arrangement: By date, where possible

Date Range: 1988-1996

Volume: .128 cubic feet

Geographic coverage: United States, particularly Chicago

Type of documents: Training tapes for counselors, PR for the campaign

Additions and Accruals

The materials in this collection were given to the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives by Mark Anderson in December 1998.

Accession: 98-80

November 16, 2009

Bob Shuster

I. Smith

K. Ndethiu

Collection 650 Records of Say Yes, Chicago
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US