Billy Graham Center

Papers of Vergil Glenn Gerber - Collection 577

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions


An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

    A. Individual church growth semninars
    B. General Correspondence Files
    C. Conferences and Reports
Lists of Audio Tapes, Photographs, and Slides in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)
    A. Individual church growth semninars
    B. General Correspondence Files
    C. Conferences and Reports


Collection 577
[October 28, 2002]
Gerber, Vergil Glenn; 1916-
Papers; 1966-1984

12 boxes, Audio Tape, Photographs, Slides (4.62 cubic feet)

Brief Description.
Correspondence, manuals, newsletters, reports and other materials relating to the Gerber's work as teacher, writer, and leader in church growth studies and Evangelical missions. The collection also contains information on Evangelical missions in the 1970s, especially in Latin America.

Restrictions: None


Full name Vergil Glenn Gerber
Birth February 6, 1916, in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Parents Christopher Adolph and Anna Laura (Wonser) Gerber
Marital Status Married to Dorothy Lois Bee, May 31, 1941
Children Richard Lawrence (1943), Ruth, Judson, Jared, Janna
Ordination Minister of the Conservative Baptist Association of America, 1942
1935 Diploma, Fort Wayne Bible College
1938 B.Mus, Taylor University
1946 B.Div.,Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
1969 M.Div, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
1972 D.D. Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary
1943-44 Assistant pastor, Tremont Temple, Boston, Massachusetts
1944-48 Pastor, First Baptist Church, Perry, New York
1949-54 Conservative Baptist missionary to Ecuador and Argentina
1955-65 Conservative Baptist missionary to Costa Rica and Mexico
1955-? First executive director of LEAL (English title, Evangelical Literature for Latin America). Among other publications, he started Verbo, a evangelistic magazine used in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries
1966 Coordinator of the Congress on Church's Worldwide Mission, held in Wheaton, Illinois
1967-1969 Missions Secretary, Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society
1967-? Executive secretary of the Evangelical Committee on Latin America (ECLA), a joint committee of the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA) and the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association
1969-1981 Executive director of the Evangelical Missions Information Service
1981 Retired
Other significant information:

Editor of Missions in Creative Tension: the Green Lake '71 compendium (1971); Discipling Through Theological Education by Extension : A Fresh Approach to Theological Education in the 1980s (1980)

Author of God's Way to Keep a Church Going and Growing (1973) (also called A Manual for Evangelism/Church Growth)

Recipient of the Epsilon Chi award from the Accrediting Association of Bible Institute and Bible Colleges

Scope and Content

Series: Papers
Subseries: Three: A. Individual church growth seminars; B. General correspondence files; C. Conferences and Reports
Arrangement: Alphabetical within subseries
Date Range: 1966-1984
Volume: 4.6 cubic feet
Boxes: 1-12
Geographic coverage: Worldwide, special emphasis on United States and Latin America
Type of documents: Correspondence, manuals, reports, newsletters, conference papers
Subjects: Church growth, Evangelical Protestant missions

Series: Papers
Subseries: A. Individual church growth seminars
Arrangement: Alphabetical by the name of the country
Date Range: 1966-1984
Volume: 2.6 cubic cfeet
Boxes: 1-7
Geographic coverage: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameron, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Great Britain, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Liberia, Malaysia, Malawi, Mali, Madagascar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Upper Volta, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia
Type of documents: Correspondence, course materials, statistics, reports
Correspondents: Several leading Evangelical church leaders and missionaries from most countries where the workshops were held
Subjects: Church growth and evangelism in most parts of the world
Notes: These files contain materials about the planning, holding and evaluations of the individual evangelism/church growth workshops that Gerber led in many countries around the world. Usually the folder contains correspondence with the local sponsors, notes or handouts from the actual meetings, and further correspondence about impact of the meetings and follow-up. Oftentimes the files also contain material about the condition of Evangelical Protestant churches in the country.
Exceptional items: Folders 1-1 through 1-3 contain information about workshops held in Argentina and about Luis Palau evangelistic campaigns held in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil in conjunction with workshops. See also folder 9-25. Folders 5-1, 5-2 and 7-3 are for seminars held in the United States. Folder 4-10 contains material about a workshop held during the 1974 Lausanne Congress.

Series: Papers
Subseries: B. General correspondence files
Arrangement: Alphabetical
Date Range: 1966-1984
Volume: 1.2 cubic feet
Boxes: 7-10
Geographic coverage: United States, Africa, Latin America, Asia
Type of documents: Correspondence, manuscripts, interview transcripts
Correspondents: Tokunboh Adeyemo, Irland Pereira De Azevedo, Roger Greenway, Lloyd Kwast, Terry Hulburt, Kassoum Keita , David Liao, Donald McGavran, John Marrs, Juan Carlos Miranda, James Montgomery, Ed Murphy, Victor A. Musa, Luis Palau, Pablo Perez, Fred Polding, Daniel Sanchez, Waldron Scott, Edgardo Silvoso, Gerald Swank, Tite Tienou, Robert Vajko, Ruperto Velez, Wayne Weld
Subjects: Church growth in different parts of the world, the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar, the Evangelical Committee on Latin America
Notes: Most of the material in the subseries is concerned with the planning and evaluation of the evangelism and church growth seminars that Gerber led. There is correspondence with many of the people who participated with Gerber in teaching the seminars and/or were involved in translating the course materials in a variety if languages, including Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hausa, Japanese, Italian, Kikongo, Kirundi, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portugese, Quencha (Quichua), Sinhalese, Spanish, Temne, Thai, Urdu, and Yurba. Folders 8-8 to 9-10 include information on these translations. There is some information as well on Gerber's other mission activities and efforts at cooperation between Evangelical missions.
Exceptional items: Folder contains notes, letters, magazine clippings and other materials relating to specific church growth case studies in different parts of the world. Folder 9-1 contains reports on the publishing activities of the ECLA, which eventually resulted in the formation of the EMIS. Folder 9-2 contains four years of the prayer letter Gerber sent to supporters, describing his activities. Folder 9-5 contains extensive transcripts of interviews of Gerber by James Montgomery (as well as other documents) in which he describes the impact church growth workshops he was leading. The interviews describe in detail the seminars held in various Latin American, African and Asian countries, the condition of the Christian churches in those countries and some of the prominent personalities. More formal reports on workshop attendance and results are in folder 10-10. Folder 9-25 contains the manuscript of Edgardo Silvoso's book, Harvest Evangelism, which suggests a method of combining mass evangelism with discipleship training. The book was partly based on the experience of the Luis Palau campaigns in Rosario, Argentina, and Uruguay. and Folders 10-7 to 10-9 contain correspondence and other documents about the funding and personnel of the seminars.

Series: Papers
Subseries:C. Conferences and Reports
Arrangement: Alphabetical
Date Range: 1967-1980
Volume: .8 cubic feet
Boxes: 10-12
Geographic coverage: United States, Bolivia
Type of documents: Annual reports, conference papers and programs, policy statements
Subjects: The Evangelical Missions and Information Service; Christian use of television and radio in Europe; the fiftieth anniversary of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association; Evangelical missions in the 1970s, particularly in Latin America, China and the Muslim world; missions standards of financial accountability; the 1974 International Conference on World Evangelization; the relations between missions and churches in Bolivia, the theology of missions, contextualization, Evangelicals and community development, the church under totalitarian governments; recruiting college students to be missionaries; the place of women in missions; the World Evangelical Fellowship
Notes: The section includes papers and other reports from conference and meetings of various Evangelical groups attended by Gerber, including the European Evangelical Communication Conference, the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association, the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Student Missionary Convention (Urbana), , Puente (Primera Consulta Bolivariana de Iglesias y Misiones); Trinity Evangelical Divinity School's Consultation on Theology and Missions; and the World Evangelical Fellowship General Assembly. There are papers on a wide range of topics by a many major Evangelical leaders.
Exceptional items: Folder 10-11 contains a script for a slide/tape presentation on evangelism and church growth. However, this script is different from the one used on T1 and slides S1-S107. Folder 10-12 contains detailed annual reports on the work of the Evangelical Missions Information Service. Folder 11-4 contains a draft of the IFMA's 1977 "Standard of Accounting and Financial Reporting for Mission Organizations."


The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Vergil Gerber in October 1984. Duplicate materials were returned to him and various editions of The World Directory of Theological Education were passed on to the BGC LIBRARY (now Evangelism & Missions Collection of the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections), as were issues of the periodicals Africa Pulse, Asia Pulse, Chinese World Pulse, Emissary, Europe Pulse, Latin America Pulse, Missionary News Service, Muslin World Pulse,Papel y Tinta, Pulse: Special Report, Verbo.

Accession: 85-124
October 28, 2002
Robert Shuster
J. Aernie

Accession: 85-124
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE file.

# R/C Speed Length Sides Contents Dates
T1 C 28 min. 2 Soundtrack for two parts of a slide/tape program on Evangelism and Church Growth. The slides for parts I and II are slides S1-S107 in this collection. The soundtrack for Part I, the "Biblical Bedrock for Church Growth" is on side A and is 13 minutes long. Part II, on methods for evaluating church growth, is on side B and is incomplete, starting at the fifth slide (T55). This soundtrack is 15 minutes long. A beep is the signal to move on to the next slide. N.d. N.d.


Accession: 85-124
Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

CHURCH GROWTH-STUDY AND TEACHING. 68 b&w, 31 color. Snapshots of scenes at the workshops on evangelism and church growth which Vergil Gerber organized and or led in many countries around the world. Included are scenes from the workshops held in Argentina, Bolivia, Burundi, Chile, Haiti, India, Korea, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rhodesia, Taiwan, Tanzania, and Thailand. The pictures show the groups at the different seminars studying together, attending classes and in informal situations. Besides Gerber, there are also images of Paul Kiichi Ariga, Byang Kato, Donald McGavran, and Victor Musa. 1972-1976.

CONGRESS ON THE CHURCH'S WORLDWIDE MISSION. 87 b&w. Pictures of speakers, scenes of the Congress, the delegates listening to presentations, book tables. Among those pictured are Vergil Gerber, Wade Coggins, and Ralph Winter. 1966.

CONGRESS ON THE CHURCH'S WORLD WIDE MISSION. (Oversize) 1 b&w. Group shot of all the attendees to the Congress, standing in front of Centennial Gymnasium on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. April 1966.

EVANGELICAL MISSION INFORMATION SERVICE. 15 b&w, 13 color. Snapshots of the staff of EMIS and layouts of their publications. There are many pictures of Vergil Gerber and David Hofer. Ca. 1979.

GERBER, VERGIL G. 29 b&w, 3 color. Variety of portrait photos and informal shots by himself and with his family. Also a picture of Gerber with Ralph Winter, Donald McGavran, and C. Peter Wagner on the campus of Fuller Seminary in Pasadena California. Pictures of Gerber teaching church growth seminars and pictures of Gerber with Jack Frizen, Ben Armstrong and Waldron Scott. N.d.

FORD, LEIGHTON. 1 b&w. Ford speaking at the Consultation on World Evangelization in Thailand in 1980.

MCGAVRAN, DONALD M. 4 b&w. Candid shots of McGavran participating in church growth workshops in Taiwan and elsewhere. Ca. 1970s.

PALAU, LUIS. 21 b&w. Pictures of Palau leading evangelistic campaigns in Mexico and Argentina, including a picture of Palau at the opening of Eurofest, with Werner Burklin, Billy Graham, and Festo Kivengere. 1969-1977.

SCOTT, WALDRON. 2 b&w. Portrait photos of Waldron Scott. N.d.


Accession: 85-124
Type of material: Slides

The following items are located in the SLIDE FILE. All of the slides are in color, unless otherwise noted.

S1-S50. Evangelism and Church Growth. Part I: "Biblical Bedrock for Church Growth" 50 color slides. Part of a slide/ tape presentation intended to train pastors and church leaders in how to evaluate their evangelism programs and effective grow and multiply churches. This part describes how the principles of church growth are illustrated in the New Testament. This is a different program from that of slides S51-S107. The Archives does not have a script this program. Tape T1 includes the audio soundtrack. Produced by Mission and Services of the Mennonite Brethren Conference. N.d.

S51-S107. Evangelism and Church Growth. Part II: 57 color slides. Part of a slide/ tape presentation intended to train pastors and church leaders in how to evaluate their evangelism programs and effective grow and multiply churches. There is a script for the in folder 10-11. Tape T1 includes the audio soundtrack. Produced by Mission and Services of the Mennonite Brethren Conference. N.d.


Box Folders First Folder/Last Folder Dates
Series IA: Individual church growth seminars
1 10 Argentina - Evangelism Church Growth Workshop / Brazil - National Symposium on Church Growth, Oct 17-20 '77 1972-1982
2 13 Brazil/Great Britain Evangelism-Church Growth Workshop 1972-1982
3 9 Guadeloupe - Evangelism-Church Growth Workshop/Federation of Evangelical Churches of India 1971-1980
4 15 Indonesia Workshop-1982/Madagascar Workshop 1973-1981
5 17 Minnesota-Evangelism-Church Growth Workshop/Singapore-Evangelism-Church Growth Workshop 1973-1984
6 14 South African Workshops/1972-1974 Venezuelan-Evangelism-Church Growth Workshop 1972-1981
7 9 Second Venezuelan Workshop/Case Studies 1967-1982
Series IB: General correspondence files
8 27 Evangelical Committee on Latin America / Norwegian Language 1966-1984
9 25 Brazil-Portuguese / Harvest Evangelism-Roseno - Uruguay Tums Edefardo Silvoso 1973-1983
10 11 Gerald Swank / Workshop script 1969-1982
Series IC: Conferences and Reports
10 1 EMIS Annual Reports 1970-1979
11 7 European Evangelical Communication Conference / TEDS 2nd Consultation on Theology and Missions 1967-1980
12 2 Urbana Conference / World Evangelical Fellowship General Assembly 1973-1980

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Last Revised: 6/23/06
Expiration: indefinite