Billy Graham Center

Glossary of Terms used in the BGEA's Evangelistic Ministry

The following frequently used terms are defined below according to the specific meaning apparently given to them by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in its practice of mass evangelism. This glossary was prepared by the staff of the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College (not by BGEA staff) and is intended to help in understanding the documents in BGEA and BGEA-related collections.

Associate Evangelist: A BGEA evangelist who, like Billy Graham, conducts meetings in cities in the United States, Canada and elsewhere in the world. In comparison with the evangelistic meetings led by Billy Graham, those conducted by the associate evangelists are more likely to be in smaller communities, may be for a shorter period of time, or may be in conjunction with regional outreach in an area where Graham is ministering in a large metropolitan area.

BGEA Team: Those BGEA staff members who participate in the evangelistic campaign, including the principal evangelist, mission/crusade director and staff, associate evangelists, musicians and featured guests.

Christian Life and Witness Class: The training sessions for laity focusing on personal evangelism, follow-up procedures and preparation to serve as a counselor during a BGEA evangelistic campaign.

Co-labor Corps: The group of volunteers who process the follow-up cards completed by counselors for each inquirer after each evangelistic meeting.

Counselor: An individual from a community church trained to assist those who respond to the evangelist's invitation at the meetings. Counselors seek to clarify the inquirer's decision and obtain information which channels the inquirer into the meeting's follow-up process for further nurture. Counselors are approved to work in specific areas, such as with children, the disabled, adults, or among other specialized groups. With the television broadcast of meetings, viewers are encouraged to respond to the evangelist's message by calling a telephone counselor.

Crusade: See Mission

Executive Committee: The incorporated, policy-making body for a BGEA evangelistic campaign. The committee is made up of those who are the officers of the executive committee, chairpersons of the working committees and members-at-large. Committee members include both laypersons and clergy and are widely representative of the local Christian community. The committee is responsible for personnel, programs, policies, finances and conducting the crusade. Committee officers include chairman, vice chairman, secretary and treasurer. Subcommittees are established to address specific areas such as administration, publicity, group reservations, finance, ministers, counseling and follow-up, music, Operation Andrew, prayer, ushers, visitation, women, and youth. They worked within established BGEA guidelines and were guided by BGEA staff, especially the crusade or mission director. Committee structure and depth are less complex for associate evangelist meetings as the these are more likely held in smaller cities for a shorter period of time.

Follow-up: The process of channeling inquirers at the meeting into activities and relationships which nurture spiritual growth. Points of contact for the inquirer include invitations to attend Bible studies (See Nurture group) and participate in a local church, as well as literature received in the mail.

Inquirer: An individual who responds to the evangelist's invitation to become a Christian or recommit themselves to Jesus Christ. The inquirer is identified by coming to a designated area during the evangelistic meeting for personal counseling.

Mission : (Throughout the first fifty years of the BGEA's history, almost always referred to as "crusade.") A series of mass evangelism meetings and complementary events, featuring a BGEA evangelist, musicians, and special guests. The focus of each meeting is an evangelistic message concluded by a challenge to make a personal decision to follow Jesus Christ. The goal of the mission is to mobilize the Christian community to join with the evangelist in proclaiming the Christian Gospel, thus proclaiming Christ and strengthening local congregations.

Mission Committee: A board distinct from the executive committee, which serves an advisory function, channeling information between the executive committee and community churches and leaders. The committee has a minimum size of about thirty members, and like the executive committee includes both clergy and laity who represent the spectrum of community church life, as well as business and civic interests. For the first fifty years of the BGEA's history, this group would have been called the "crusade committee."

Mission Director: The BGEA administrator assigned to direct the activities of the local BGEA office and assist the working committees. For the first fifty years of the BGEA's history, the title would have been "crusade director"

Nurture group: A Bible study and fellowship group into which inquirers from an evangelistic campaign are directed for spiritual growth. A nurture group is a primary follow-up tool for new converts from a BGEA campaign.

Operation Andrew: A program to encourage Christians to commit themselves to bring unconverted friends to a BGEA meeting after the example of Andrew bringing his brother, Peter, to meet Jesus. Personal involvement consists of identifying individuals to pray for, explaining the Gospel to them and bringing them to a meeting.

Procedure book: A compilation of duplicated material from a single campaign, including mailings, minutes of the committees and subcommittees, promotional material, stationery and forms. The volume is compiled to document meeting preparation and activities, as well as for distribution to crusade or mission directors. The volume may also be referred to as a "sample book."

Reachout: A term synonymous with "crusade" or "mission" but applied to some of the meetings conducted by associate evangelists.

School of Evangelism: A week-long BGEA-led course of instruction on the history, objectives and methods of evangelization. The goal of the school is to develop evangelistic awareness and skill in a community. Often held in conjunction with a major an evangelistic campaign, the schools use the meetings as a practical model for the material covered.

Visitation: Widespread systematic coverage of a metropolitan area in which individuals invite members of the community to attend the BGEA meetings.

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Last Revised: 11/06/01
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2005