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Guide to the McGavran, Donald Anderson: Papers on Microfilm
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Donald McGavran was the founder of the Church Growth Institute which he established at Northwest Christian College in 1961. In 1965 he and his Institute moved to Fuller Seminary where he became founding Dean of the School of World Mission. This collection documents his life and ministry up to 1965. The collection consists of eleven rolls of microfilm labeled Introduction, Letters (rolls 1-8), Manuscripts (rolls 8-10) and Minutes and also includes a bound volume entitled "Donald Anderson McGavran: A Register of His Papers in the Northwest Christian College Library, Special Collections Division."
The son of a missionary, Donald McGavran was born in India in 1897 and lived there until he was 13, when the family returned to the US. McGavran graduated from Butler College in Indianapolis in 1922, married Mary Elizabeth Howard the same year and the two were sent by the Disciples of Christ as missionaries to central India in 1923. McGavran was put in charge of the mission schools at all 14 stations. An early article of his on "gathering the harvest" showed his interest in evangelism, an interest piqued by the "mass movements to Christ" in the south of India. His book Bridges of God, published in 1955, expands on this interest in the growth of the Church. Anxious to test his ideas on Church growth in other parts of the world, he founded the "Institute of Church Growth" at Northwest Christain College in Eugene, Oregon, offering specialized training for missionaries. The first class was attended by one Methodist missionary to Bolivia, Keith Hamilton, but expanded quickly and in 1965 moved to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. There McGavran, Dean of the newly founded School of World Mission, pursued his goal of drawing experienced missionaries into his seminars in order to better equip them for the task of evangelism when they returned to the field.