Billy Graham Center

Records of Say Yes Chicago - Collection 650

[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, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

Since we are migrating our website to a new platform, we will no longer be updating this earlier version our site. Please visit our Archon database for online guide descriptions. In early 2018, look for our new site, currently under construction, linked in the BGC Archives section on the Library and Archives page. (12/11/2017)

Table of Contents

Title Page and Restrictions

Brief Description of This Collection

Historical Background

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

  • Paper Records

  • Audio Visual records

  • List of Video Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

      Video tapes
    List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Box List)

    Collection 650
                                                                                                     [November 16, 2009]

    Say Yes Chicago; 1994?-1996, n.d.
    Records; 1973, 1988, 1991-1997; n.d.
    22 boxes (20 DC, 1 ODC, 1 Flat), Video (9.938 cubic feet)

    Restrictions: None

    Brief Description. Correspondence, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, lists, financial records, questionnaires and other materials of the Say Yes Chicago committee, a group of Protestant Christian leaders that incorporated to sponsor Say Yes Chicago, a 1996 city-wide evangelistic effort led by evangelist Luis Palau. These files contain much information about the planning and organizing of the campaign, with some material on the actual events of the campaign, the results and the follow-up.

    Historical Background


    Ca. 1994; dissolved 1996. An informal group of Chicago Christian leaders, lay and clergy, had been planning for a greater Chicago evangelistic effort since at least 1991.

    Headquarters location



    33 Madison Street, Oak Park, Illinois

    Executive officers


    Chair (later president)

    Mark Anderson


    Honorary Co-Chair

    Clayton Brown

    Other significant officers



    Dan Norton



    Clifford R. Raad

    Significant events in organizational history



    Most nights during these months a TV program called Night Talk with Luis Palau [italics] was broadcast live on Christian television channel 38 in Chicago from 11 pm to midnight (7 pm to 8 pm on April 7 and 28). The program was broadcast in Spanish, May 6-10.



    There were ninety events held in the nine different regions into which the committee had divided the Chicagoland area, including the three major venues listed below. There were 9,600 people who made decisions, including 2,500 decisions to accept Christ.


    April 25-27, 1996

    Evangelistic events at the Rosemont Horizon arena in Rosemont, Illinois. On April 27 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring the Newsboys in the evening.


    May 3-4, 1996

    Evangelistic events at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois. On May 4 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring Jeff Moore and the Distance in the evening. 531 decisions for Christ, 6,000 attended the youth night concert.


    May 8-11, 1996

    Spanish language evangelistic events at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.


    May 12-23, 1996

    English-language evangelistic events at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. On May 18 there was an event for children in the afternoon and a concert for young people featuring PFR in the evening.


    May 27, 1996

    Rally in Grant Park, Chicago, attended by 2500 people. Approximately 129,000 attended the 75 events in April and May. There were 9,500 making decisions for Christ. Approximately 1800 churches participated.


    May 31, 1997

    A dinner and other events commemorating the campaign was held on its one year anniversary at the Chinese Christian union Church.

    Ministry emphasis

    To plan and implement in conjunction with the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (LPEA) an eight-week campaign in Chicago and suburbs that divide the city into eight regions, each with their own evangelistic events with Palau or other evangelists, including Tony Evans, John Guest, Ron Hutchcraft, Billy Kim, Dan Owens, and Bill Thomas. The campaign was intended to include meetings in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean, with individual regions having distinctive campaigns, including rallies and other outreach events. Preparations would include training thousands of laypeople to serve as counselors (called Bridgebuilders) who would help converts become involved in nurture groups in participating churches.

    Geographical emphasis

    All parts of Chicago, Illinois, and its closest suburbs

    Alternate names

    Original name of the non-profit corporation was Greater Chicago Evangelistic Campaign Committee. It is not clear if the name was ever officially changed, but by early 1996, the group was generally referred to as Say Yes Chicago

    Scope and Content
    [Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]

    Series: Paper Records
    Arrangement: Alphabetical by title
    Date Range: 1991-1997; mostly 1994-1996
    Volume: 9.61 cubic feet
    Boxes: 1-22
    Geographic coverage: Chicago, Illinois, and its suburbs.
    Type of documents: Correspondence, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, financial records, lists, schedules, questionnaires
    Correspondents: Mark Anderson, John Ogle, Kevin Palau, Tim Robnett, Jerry Vreeman, Kent Whitney
    Subjects: Evangelistic work in the Untied States in the 1990s, Christian ministries (particularly Protestant Evangelical ministries) in the greater Chicago area, Luis Palau and the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (PLEA), Chicago religious and cultural life in the 1990s, Chicago ethnic groups
    Notes: The records in this collection give a fairly detailed picture of the organizational and financial preparation for the campaign, including the participation of churches and other Christian organizations, the recruitment and training of counselors, and the preparations of the steering committees of the different regions. There is less detailed information, but still significant, on the events themselves, mainly in the form of newspaper and magazine coverage and some information on the follow-up and wrap-up. These files are basically the files of the chair of the campaign, Mark Anderson, and show the effort largely from his perspective and that of the executive committee. Minutes, correspondence and other documents of the executive committee are in folders 3-2 through 3-4. Folder 6-8 contains letters of support for the campaign from churches and individuals in the Chicago area. Financial records of the campaign, including figures on donations, budgets and expenses, can be found in folder 3-5 to 4-3 as well as 1-1. Some of the call sheets for fund raising efforts are in folder 1-4. General Correspondence and information about the campaign from start to finish are in folders 4-5 to 5-16. Folder 1-3 contains the campaign brochure, giving the overall plan and folder 4-4 has some of the forms used. A few schedules of campaign events are in folder 6-4. Folder 6-3 contains many reports about the efforts to organize continuing prayer support for the campaign and for particular prayer needs at different times, including a manual on how to organize a mayor’s prayer breakfast for civic leaders. Folder 1-2 has the counselor training course handbook as well as other books distributed by the campaign (some in Spanish) and box 21 holds the manuals that describe the set-up of the a typical Luis Palau evangelistic campaign, and the responsibilities of the different committees. Folder 5-18 contains various documents about the LPEA, including some annual reports. Folders 2-3 through 2-7 contain newspaper clippings, either about the campaign or about events or trends that Anderson or others thought were helpful in preparing to reach the population of Chicago. A few statistics are in folders 3-4, 6-6. 6-7. Materials on the training of counselors and the follow-up of new converts are in several folders, including 1-2, 4-4, and 5-14. Boxes 7 through 20 consist entirely of applications filled out by people who volunteered to be counselors (Bridgebuilders) for the campaign, helping new counselors get started in the Christian life. Box 20 contains applications in Spanish. The Englished applications are organized alphabetically by the name of the church the counselor belonged to. These application contain very brief (usually one or two sentences) accounts of how the applicant became a Christian. Some attempts at evaluation of the campaign can be found in folders 5-16 and 6-4.

    Exceptional items:
    ●Folders 1-5 and 2-1 contains letters, newsletters brochures and other materials from various Evangelical ministries in the Chicago area, including Chicago Baptist Institute, Chicago Bible Society, Chicagoland Christian Women’s Conference, Chinese Christian Union Church of Chicago, International Urban Associates, Lawndale Coalition for Christian Leadership, Metro Chicago Youth for Christ, Midwest Christian Outreach, Moody Church, Northside Fellowship of Churches, Promise Keepers, Straight Talk, the Pui Tak Center, and West Suburban Evangelical Fellowship. There is also information on the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George L. Carey, to Chicago on May 23, 1996. Similar information is scattered throughout the general files in boxes 4 and 5. Folder 2-8 contains clippings, newsletters, brochures, etc., about events sponsored by Christian organizations in the Chicago area and folder 4-13 and 4-15 contain copies of the Chicago Evangelical News Bulletin.
    ●Folder 1-2 contains a random sampling of church bulletins from Chicago area churches, possibly churches at which Anderson or others were speaking about Say Yes.
    ●Folder 3-1 contains a draft of the letter of agreement between the LPEA and the Greater Chicago Evangelistic Campaign Committee about the responsibilities of each group.
    ●Folders 5-2 and 5-4 contains some information on the campaign’s Muslim outreach efforts.
    ●Folder 5-10 contains reports on outreach plans for the Polish and Hindu communities, as well as many reports on activities in the different regions.
    ●Folder 5-11 has reports on the “Spread the Flame” rally on March 31, meant to kick-off the campaign events. Folder 5-11 and 5-13 also have information on one of the events of the campaign, a banquet at which John Ashcroft and Luis Palau both spoke.
    ●Folder 6-9 contains reports and data from a telephone survey done after the campaign to investigate reasons for lack of support from African American churches. See also folder 5-4.
    ●Box 22 contains lists printed out on large ledger sheets of churches participating in the campaign, churches holding Bridgebuilder classes, counselors at the larger events of the campaign. Each list contains basic contact information and most list hundreds or thousands of individuals or churches.


    Series: Audio/Visual Records
    Arrangement: By date, where possible
    Date Range: 1988-1996
    Volume: .128 cubic feet
    Geographic coverage: United States, particularly Chicago
    Type of documents: Training tapes for counselors, PR for the campaign
    Notes: See the Location Record for videos for more detailed descriptions


    The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Mark Anderson in December 1998.
    Accession: 98-80 
    November 16, 2009
    Bob Shuster
    I. Smith
    K. Ndethiu

    Type of material: Videos
    Accession: 98-80
    The Archives has one copy of each video, unless otherwise noted. The following items are in the Video FILE




    b&w / c

    Length in minutes








    Nurture Group Training 1, 2 & 3

    Three sessions, lead by LPEA associate evangelist Dan Owens, all between 20 and 25 minutes. These videos were used to train laypeople in participating churches on how to lead a six-week nurture group of people who have come forward at Luis Palau meetings to give their lives to Christ. The groups were intended to give new converts the basics of the Christian faith and instruct them in how to study the Bible and lead a Christian life. The three sessions on this video are: 1: The Need for Nurture; 2: Nurturing New Disciples; and 3: What New Christian Need to Know.






    Nurture Group Training

    Two sessions, lead by LPEA associate evangelist Dan Owens and all between 20 and 25 minutes. These videos were used to train laypeople in participating churches on how to lead a six week nurture group of people who have come forward at Luis Palau meetings to give their lives to Christ. The groups were intended to give new converts the basics of the Christian faith and instruct them in how to study the Bible and lead a Christian life. The two sessions on this video are: 4: Leading a Nurture Group and 5: Nurture Group Dynamics.






    Say Yes! Chicago with Luis Palau

    Video intended for potential individual, group, and church participation in the campaign. Various Chicago Christian leaders such as Revs. Raleigh Washington, Stephen Thurston, Robert Schmidtgall, and Jerry Rose briefly explain the elements of the campaign: regional events, multiple evangelists, a lengthy and multilingual campaign, training of laypeople in evangelism. This is followed by descriptions of the ministry of Luis Palau and the LPEA (including endorsements from Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Jack Hayford, Bill Hybels). Palau describes the evangelistic purpose of the campaign and the tape concludes with a description of the planned event and testimonies from people about how people were saved during past meetings.






    Say Yes Chicago with Luis Palau: 1996 Youth Concert Series

    Promo aimed at young people describing the three youth concerts that will be held during the campaign, with music by The New Boys; Jeff Moore and the Distance; and PTR, among others. The production concludes with Luis Palau inviting the viewer to participate in the campaign.

    ca. 1996





    Say Yes Chicago with Luis Palau:

    Kids Krusade

    Promo aimed at children with Psalty the Singing Songbook describing the three programs designed for children during the campaign.

    ca. 1996





    Bridge-builder I: Friendship Evangel-ism

    Two training sessions led by associate evangelist Dan Owens of the LPEA. Program intended to be shown in churches and similar settings to train people in using friendship evangelism, in conjunction with Luis Palau evangelistic meetings, to help leader their friends and neighbors to belief in Jesus Christ. The training consists of two sessions, with a brief break in the middle of production.

    ca. 1996




    First Folder/Last Folder




    Accountant / Chicago Area Ministries




    Chicago Area Ministries / Clippings - Chicago Events




    Contracts and Agreements / Financial Records




    Financial Records / General




    General / Luis Palau Evangelistic Association




    Miscellaneous Correspondence / Telephone Survey




    Abundant Life Assemblies of God / Bethlehem Temple Missionary Baptist




    Beulah Pentecostal Church / Cary-Grove Evangelical Free Church




    Cary United Methodist Church / Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church




    Cottage Grove Reformed Church / Faith Baptist Church




    Faith Alliance Bible Church / 1st Corinthians Missionary Church




    First Evangelical Free Church / Grace Community Church




    Grace Community Bible Church / Jubilee Temple CME Church




    Judson Baptist Church / Messiah Lutheran Church




    Melody Ministries / New St Matthews Miss Baptist




    Newsong Evangelical Free Church / Praise Fellowship Church




    Praise Tabernacle Deliverance Baptist / St Pauls Lutheran Church




    St Peter Lutheran / Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Mundel




    Vineyard Christian Fellowship /Zion Freedom Chapel




    Spanish Counselors / Spanish Counselors




    LPEA Crusade Manual Part I / LPEA Crusade Manual Part II




    Printouts of lists of churches, counselors, Bridgebuilder classes


    Send us a message

    Return to BGC Archives Home Page
    Expiration: indefinite

    Wheaton College 2008