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The Navigators Records

Identifier: CN 007

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memos, reports, forms, manuals, statistical summaries, publicity materials, newspaper clippings relating to the counseling and follow-up systems the Navigators created and supervised for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association meetings between 1950 and 1957. Records document the details of this system for counseling people who came forward at BGEA evangelistic meetings and maintaining contact with them as they began to develop a Christian lifestyle. For some crusades, besides manuals for counselors and advisors, staff reports, statistical reports and clippings, there are also follow-up statistical reports on the after-effects of the crusade and pastors' responses to it. Also in the collection are a few items from the Los Angeles campaign of 1947, the Southern California Crusade of 1963, and a notebook dating from 1953 explaining the need for a new headquarters for the Navigators. Documents have information on particular BGEA crusades, training methods, views of the Bible, and American Evangelicalism. Persons prominently featured include Billy Graham, Willis Haymaker, Charlie Riggs, Lorne Sanny and Dawson Trotman.


  • Created: 1947-1974

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

The Navigators began informally in 1933 as a ministry to men in the United States Navy. It was formally incorporated as a non-profit organization in California in 1943. At the end of World War II, many of the men influenced by the Navigators in the service became ministers, missionaries, or active laymen in local churches. The organization itself moved into overseas missionary work in 1949. Within a few years, it was active all over the world.

The goal of the Navigators was to help lead laymen to make a commitment to Christianity and then encourage them in active Bible memorization and Christian service. Because the organization put such a heavy emphasis on follow-up work, Billy Graham in 1950 asked Dawson Trotman, the founder and head of Navigators, to take charge of training local counselors and advisors for the Billy Graham Crusades and to devise a follow-up Bible study program for converts.

Trotman agreed and after his death in 1956, Lorne Sanny continued Navigator participation until after the New York Crusade of 1957. When the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association started its own counseling and follow-up department, the head of it, Charles Riggs, was a Navigator.

Originally the Navigators were headquartered in Los Angeles, but in 1953 moved to Colorado.


5.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement of Material description, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

The materials in the collections, with few exceptions, relate to the Navigators counseling and follow-up work Navigators, Inc. did for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. From 1950-1957, Navigators were in charge of training local persons to counsel those who came forward at Crusades, contacting local pastors about members or potential members of their congregations who made decisions at Crusades and giving some introductory training in Christian beliefs to new converts.

The files for almost every crusade include forms and manuals for counselors and advisors, statistical reports on the number and type of decisions made at the crusade, newspaper clippings, publicity materials, and staff reports. These staff reports were informal letters sent by a member of the Navigator staff to the home office relating problems, opportunities, needs, and personal information. In addition, for the Pittsburgh Crusade of 1952, there is a Post Campaign Report on the response of local pastors to the Crusade follow-up program. For the London Crusade of 1954, there are numerous responses (filed under Reader's Digest Church Interest Stories) from pastors and laymen on ways the Crusade affected them. For some of the earlier Crusades, there are lists of all the pastors and/or churches participating in the counseling and follow-up work and lists of the names and addresses of everyone making a decision at the Crusade.

These papers also include a notebook dating from 1953 which contains materials explaining the need for a new headquarters for the Navigators and a few items from the Chicago Youth for Christ rally of 1947, the Los Angeles campaign of 1949, and the Southern California Crusade of 1963.

Accruals and Additions

The records in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives from The Navigators in August 1978.

Accession 75-6, 75-8, 75-11

October 30, 1975

R. Shuster

Collection 007 Records of The Navigators
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