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Collection 563 Papers of Robert Coleman

Identifier: CN-563


  • 1936-2010

Physical Description


Physical Description

99 boxes (DC, ODC), Audio Recordings, Oversize Materials, Photographs, Video recordings

Conditions Governing Access:

Folder 66-1 is closed during the lifetime of Billy Graham.

Administrative History:

Full Name: Robert Emerson Coleman; generally known as “Clem”

Birth: April 4, 1928, in Dallas, Texas, USA


Parents: James Henry and Helen Coleman

Siblings: brother Lyman, sister Joy Bilhartz

Marital Status: married Marietta Emmons June 3, 1951

Children: Alathea Dawn Blichke (1954), Angelea Denise Stone (1956), James Russell (1960)

Ordination: 1949 in the United Methodist Church


1948 - B. A. in History from Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, USA

1951 - B. D., Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, USA

1951 - Summer graduate semester at Biblical Seminary of New York, New York City, New York, USA

1952 - M.Th in Biblical Literature, Princeton Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey

1954 - Ph. D. in Religion from the State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. Dissertation: “Factors in the Expansion of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1784 to 1812"

1957 - Post-doctoral study at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, New York, USA

1998 - Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Trinity Evangelical University, Deerfield, Illinois, USA

2010 - Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, USA


1949-1955 - Served as pastor at several small Methodist churches in Indiana, New Jersey and Iowa while completing his education

1955-1983 - McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, USA. (First professor of evangelism appointed by the United Methodist Church)

1960 - Founded with his brother Lyman, Christian Outreach, a small non-profit corporation that distributed booklets and Bible study materials, many by Coleman, on evangelism and discipleship. By the end of the century, according to a note by Coleman in a booklet in folder 50-6, over 1,225,000 booklets had been distributed in English and materials from Christian Outreach had been translated into fifty languages. Robert Coleman served as president

1975-1997 - Member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism. Also served on the North America regional committee of the international LCWE (from 1976-1980 as chairman), the United States Committee, which had primarily fund-raising responsibilities, the Mission America Facilitation Committee, which was the successor of the North American regional Lausanne committee. Attended many Lausanne meetings, including the 1974, 1989, and 2010 congresses and the 1980 Consultation of World Evangelization, where he was the leader of the North American section.

1975-1977 - President of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education (member since 1973)

1983-2001 - Professor of Evangelism and director of the School of World Mission and Evangelism (SWME) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), Deerfield, Illinois, USA

1989-2001 - Director of the Institute of Evangelism at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA

1989-1999 - Dean of the International Schools of Evangelism of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). This included holding six to eight Schools of Evangelism each year in different parts of the world

1995 - Participant in the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE) held in Seoul, Korea, where he chaired the committee that wrote the report coming out of the meeting. He played the same role at the GCOWE’s Presidents and Academic Deans of Theological and Missionary Training Institutes Congress (PAD) on June 30-July 4, 1997, in Pretoria, South Africa

1999-2001 - Minister Associate of the BGEA

2001 - Distinguished Professor of Discipleship and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA. From 2007 on, he taught one class a year.

2007 - Lecturer, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

2010 - Adjunct professor, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, USA

Other significant information:

Besides the seminaries listed above, Coleman was a board member and/or active supporter of a number of Christian evangelistic and discipleship ministries, especially, AD 2000, the Barnabas Foundation, Christian Holiness Association, Evangelical Theology Society, Evangelism Resources, Good News, the Francis Asbury Society, the World Disciple Development Foundation, and OMS International. Was a member for several years of the local Boy Scouts committee in Wilmore, Kentucky. In 1977 he received the Philip Award of the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists .

From the 1940s, holding evangelistic services and series around the United States and in many parts of the world as well as innumerable speaking engagements at churches, schools, conferences, etc. He was often a feature speaker at student conferences held by Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth for Christ or InterVarsity. In particular Coleman was involved in training ministers and laypeople in Christian evangelism and discipleship.

Author of dozens of books and evangelism training program. Unquestionably the best known and probably the most influential of his books was The Master Plan of Evangelism which sold more than three million copies. The book was first published by Christian Outreach in 1963 and then in a second edition by Fleming Revell the next year. Other titles include: Dry Bones Can Live Again: Revival in the Local Church (1969) One Divine Moment: The Asbury Revival (editor ) (1970), Evangelism in Perspective (1975), The Mind of the Master (1977), Heartbeat of Evangelism (1985), The Master Plan of Discipleship (1987) "Nothing to do but to save souls" : John Wesley’s charge to his preachers (1990), Aflame with Love: Selections from the Writings of Blaise Pascal (1992) The Coming World Revival (1992) The Great Commission Lifestyle (1992), The Master’s Way of Personal Evangelism (1997), Singing with the Angels (1998), projected in 2011 - The Heart of the Gospel: A Theology of Evangelism.


44.98 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Robert E. Coleman in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010.

Accession 00-2, 00-3, 00-11, 00-34, 00-35, 00-46, 00-47, 00-60, 00-71, 00-74, 01-48, 01-49, 01-58, 05-23, 07-66, 08-41, 10-80

December 13, 2010

Bob Shuster

K. Emmert

A. Thomas

Physical Description


Physical Description

99 boxes (DC, ODC), Audio Recordings, Oversize Materials, Photographs, Video recordings
Collection 563 Papers of Robert Coleman
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US