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Collection 398 Oral History Interview with Wayne L. Gordon

Identifier: CN 398

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with Wayne LeRoy Gordon, pastor of Lawndale Community Church, a nondenominational church in Chicago's predominantly black community, Lawndale. Topics covered include Gordon's youth, the influence of his family on his spiritual growth, his call to work in the black community, his education at Wheaton College, ministry through Lawndale Community Church in Chicago (its structure, various ministries, including health care, education, and recreation), and the African American community in Chicago. The time period covered by the interviews is 1953-1988.

Wayne L. Gordon was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on July 26, 1988, at Lawndale Community Church, Chicago, Illinois, and on September 22, 1988, at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.


  • Created: 1988

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Wayne Le Roy Gordon was born August 25, 1953, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He was converted in the summer of 1969 during a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference, and shortly afterward felt called to work in the inner city African American community and was ready to leave everything to begin this new life. Although his family and pastor supported him in this, there were no immediate opportunities for him to be involved in a ministry. One opening later developed and Gordon spent a summer working in Chicago's inner city.

After graduating from high school, Gordon planned to attend Baylor University but changed his mind and went to Wheaton College. While at Wheaton, Gordon played football and lettered for four years. He studied Social Science and minored in Physical Education. Wheaton's proximity to Chicago allowed Gordon to work in the inner city and he ministered to men from Skid Row, including helping to feed them. He graduated in 1975.

Gordon began his ministry in Chicago's black community by substitute teaching and being a volunteer coach at Farragut High School. He later became a history teacher, assistant football coach and head wrestling coach. During this time he started a Bible study and moved into the Lawndale community, a predominately African American community on Chicago's west side. In 1978, Gordon, with his wife, some high school students and their parents, established the Lawndale Community Church, of which he was the founding pastor. He resigned from teaching in 1981 and began classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in New Testament. He later transferred to Northern Baptist Seminary, from which he graduated in 1984 with an M.A. in Theological Studies.

The ministries of Lawndale Community Church grew to include recreation programs, Bible studies, leadership development, job finding programs, a medical clinic, a learning center and a housing ministry. "Coach," as he was called by many, served as president of Lawndale Christian Health Center, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation and Christian Community Development Association, an association of over two hundred inner city ministries across the United States. In 1994, he was co-pastor of the church along with Carey Casey.

Gordon was married to Lu Anne Starkey and had three children, Angela (born 1980), Andrew (born 1983) and Austin (born 1988).


3 Audio Tapes

159 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Wayne Gordon in July and September, 1988.

Accession 88-83, 88-109

June 17, 1994

Mimi L. Larson

J. Archer

Collection 398 Oral History Interview with Wayne L. Gordon
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