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Collection 473 [July 23, 2001]
Berg, Clayton L. "Mike", Jr.; 1928-
8 Audio Tape Reels
Full name: Clayton Leonard "Mike" Berg, Jr.
Vocation: Missionary, author, educator, administrator
Birth date: February 16, 1928, in Drumwright, Oklahoma, raised in California
Other significant information:
Scope & Content
Mike Berg was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen January 11 through 14, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1928-1993.
T1 (65 minutes). Family's relocation to California, recollection of the Depression, family's religious background and conversions and recommitments, early influences on Berg (especially by Sunday school teacher Lucille Allen and her brother Burton Allen), exposure to missions emphasis, impressions of Ken Strachan during visit to local church, Harry Owen's (CIM missionary) skill as a storyteller, describing himself in comparison to his parents (more like his mother), his mother's history (part Cherokee), character and spiritual influence, education in light of sensing a call to full-time service, responding to missions appeal while hearing Ken Strachan at Dallas Theological Seminary, surveying potential mission boards and selecting Latin America Mission, attending Wheaton College Graduate School, serving as youth minister as Western Springs Village Church, stress factors (son Steve's polio, their busyness), Billy Graham's return to the church, Bev Shea at the church, Lloyd Fesmire's pastorate, Graham's Caribbean Crusade while Berg was in language school in Costa Rica, Charles E. Fuller and his Old Fashioned Revival Hour, education at Wheaton Grad School (faculty, Christian Education dept., inductive Bible study at a Vacation Bible School with young people), completing his thesis in Costa Rica, LAM's disappointment with delayed arrival to the field while studying at Grad School, impact of Steve's polio and decision to relocate to Costa Rica ahead of him
T2 (25 minutes, continuation from T1). Steve's coming to Costa Rica accompanied by a friend, travel to Costa Rica, passport problems, beginning at the Spanish Language Institute, Eugene Nida's visit to the school, Berg's rebellion against and assessment of the Institute methodology, meeting his wife and other concurrent developments, initial assignment at the Seminario Biblico, initial impressions of Costa Rican people and landscape, cultural adjustment
T3 (63 minutes). Initial impressions of San Jose, impressions of LAM through its application process and meeting with Ken Strachan, mission administration, origins of his nickname "Mike", one-year assignment in rural area cut short, heavy load of part-time teaching at Seminario Biblico, pastoring a church, and being house parents in Hogar Biblico (orphanage), toll on Jo Ann, relocating to San Jose to much less stressful and more fulfilling situation, administrative duties at the seminary, nationalizing the seminary staff, high intensity short-term summer projects in Colombia and Nicaragua, adapting course material to students' needs, curriculum development, impact of his busyness on him and his family, developing Sunday school curriculum with local and denominational leaders, de-North Americanizing the curriculum, attempting to train pastors, weakness of seminary education in an artificial situation, graduates going to parachurch openings rather than returning to their pastorates, weakness of the program in not bringing all the pieces together, recollections of Wilton Nelson and accomplishments of the seminary during his leadership, mission executive team, nationalization of the seminary leadership
T4 (39 minutes, continuation from T3). Changing relationship with Catholics at the seminary in post-Vatican II environment, initial scarcity of Costa Ricans in the seminary student body and profile of Costa Ricans' national character, Evangelism-in-Depth (ED) and comparing it with more recent Christ for the City program, Juan Isais as an evangelist, E/D as practical evangelism experience for seminarians, Harry Strachan's innovations in urban evangelism, Billy Graham's Caribbean Crusade, Ken Strachan's use of the Caribbean Crusade as an evangelism laboratory, Berg's hepatitis recovery and family reunion in the US, development of LAM's Education Division and broader administrative structure, Berg's oversight of Education Division, nationalization of seminary leadership from Wilton Nelson to Plutarco Bonilla, transition from mission to local funding for the seminary, Berg's transition to LAM's publishing and literature work, Ken Strachan's team building skill and imprint on the mission
T5 (45 minutes). Dissolution of the Education Division within the growing wider trend to develop autonomous units, influence of liberation theology movement after the Catholic archbishops conference in Medellin in 1969, joining Editorial Caribe to correct problems in the publishing house and affiliated bookstores, nature of the problems, organizational restructuring and internal politics, personal restlessness leading to a readiness for a change, being assigned to direct Editorial Caribe, structural accommodations by the mission to allow successful business, Editorial Caribe's being spread too thin (between publishing, production, distribution, record pressing, Sunday school curriculum) to succeed, shifting Editorial Caribe's focus only on publishing, transferring the print shop to Costa Ricans and curriculum publication to Central American Mission, emphasizing reference works (Bible concordance and dictionary), administrative decisions about personnel reduction and financial reserves, improved sales, relocating headquarters to Miami to improve distribution network, achieving solvency and productiveness, encouraging the publication of national authors while continuing translated works, market preferences, Editorial Caribe staff composition, nationalization of Editorial Caribe, foreshadowing of decentralizing achieved in CLAME (Comunidad Latinoamericana de Ministerios Evangelicos or Community of Latin American Evangelical Ministries)
T6 (68 minutes). Background to LAM restructuring into CLAME to decentralize authority and decision-making and nationalize LAM's entities, presenting the proposal to mission leaders and board, board initiative, reorganizing assembly where CLAME was born, early examples which anticipated CLAME patterns, Orlando Costas's advocating nationalization, implications of restructuring (no weekly meetings in English for missionaries, lessening the unity among missionaries), aim to find identity in local congregations and entities, insufficient pastoral oversight during the transition, problem as a result of high concentration of missionaries in Costa Rica, reorganizing assembly, early competition between entities, explaining the change to the Christian public and their failure to understand, difficulties with cooperation after CLAME was established, emphasis on Latin American church and entities rather than the mission, reactions from other mission agencies, approval from ecumenical missions, bewildered and favorable reactions from Evangelicals, factors contributing to the demise of CLAME primarily from the growing strength of the entities, conditions for accepting LAM presidency, need to identify new mission for LAM in direct ministry during Berg's presidency, PROMESA ministry to Hispanics in the US, seminars (in American churches, among Evangelical theological seminary presidents, and at colleges and seminaries) to understand the realities of Latin America, relocation of LAM headquarters from New Jersey to Miami, restructuring LAM board into a nationally representative body to be more active and collaborate with the mission staff
T7 (68 minutes, continuation from T6). Broadening the LAM board membership, his presidency of LAM, impact on development of urban ministry of rooming with Ray Baake at the 1980 Consultation on World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand, Christ for the City (CFC) and experimenting in Latin American cities (Medellin, Caracas, Mexico City), John Huffman's leadership of CFC, other highlights of his presidency, low points of his presidency, conflict over Seminario Biblico and sorting through the issues of uncritical acceptance of liberation theology and absence of accountability, seminary's difficulties with and withdrawal from CLAME, LAM missionaries Dick and Irene Foulkes at the seminary, dissolution of CLAME around 1984 and preceding inactivity, George Peters' and C. Peter Wagner's critical assessments of Evangelism-in-Depth, examples of cooperation as part of LAM's ministry philosophy, status of entities after CLAME, LAM's loaning staff to CLAME entities or other ministries, openness to charismatics and comparison of US and Latin American expressions, process of identifying his successor, background of Paul Landrey as president, impact of Ken Strachan's death on mission family, Christian education training and experience the foundation for Berg's philosophy and practice of management
T8 (74 minutes). History and philosophy of LAM's short term missionary program (especially
Spearhead in Mexico) and lessons learned, demographics of LAM's missionary force, corporate
personality and ethos of LAM's missionaries and the value of self-starting and decentralization,
Berg's experience being senior mission associate and dynamics after having been president,
relocation of LAM headquarters, his use of free time and missions' encouragement of recreation,
impressions of colleagues and himself in relation to them (Paul Pretiz and joint-book project,
Ruben Lores, Juan Isais, Orlando Costas), Berg's involvement on Media Associates International
and Fuller Seminary boards, other colleagues (Charles Troutman, David Howard, Dayton
Roberts, Ken Strachan, Horace Fenton), concluding remarks
The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Clayton L. Berg, Jr., in January 1993.
June 26, 2001
Paul A. Ericksen
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE file.
Tape 1 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 65 minutes, one side only. Interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 11, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 2 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 25 minutes, one side only. Continuation of the interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 11, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 3 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 63 minutes, one side only. Interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 12, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 4 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 39 minutes, one side only. Continuation of the interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 12, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 5 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 45 minutes, one side only. Interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 13, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 6 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 68 minutes, one side only. Interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 14, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 7 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 68 minutes, one side only. Continuation of the interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul Ericksen on January 14, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida. Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.
Tape 8 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 74 minutes, one side only. Interview of Clayton L. Berg, Jr., by Paul
Ericksen on January 14, 1993, at the Latin America Mission headquarters in Miami, Florida.
Originally recorded on cassette and later transferred to reel for long-term preservation.