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Collection 326 Papers of James Edwin Wright


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Collection 326 Papers of James Edwin Wright, 1927-1986 | Billy Graham Center Archives

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Title: Collection 326 Papers of James Edwin Wright, 1927-1986Add to your cart.

ID: CN/326

Extent: 1.0 Cubic Feet

Subjects: Caste., Caste. - India., Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions, Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions - Finance., Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions - India., Christian education, Christian education, Outdoor., Christian education - India., Christian education - United States., Christianity and culture., Christian leadership., Christian life., Christian literature, Christian literature - Publication and distribution, Christian literature - Publication and distribution - India., Church and social problems, Church and social problems - United States., Church development, New, Church development, New - United States., Church schools, Church schools - United States., Church work with prisoners, Church work with prisoners - Montana., Church work with youth, Church work with youth - India., Church work with youth - United States., Conversion., Correspondence schools and courses, Correspondence schools and courses - India., Counseling., Edman, V. Raymond (Victor Raymond), 1900-1967., Elliot, Jim,, Evangelistic invitations., Evangelistic work, Evangelistic work - India., Evangelistic work - Philosophy., Evangelistic work - Portland., Evangelistic work - Study and teaching., Evangelistic work - United States., Family., Fund raising, Fund raising - United States., Graham, Billy,, Howard, David M., India-Ceylon Youth for Christ., Indigenous church administration, Indigenous church administration - India., Jaarsma, Cornelius Richard,, Language in missionary work., Maranatha Bible & Missionary Conference Ground (Muskegan, Mich.), Mass media in missionary work, Mass media in missionary work - India., Missionaries, Missionaries - Appointment, call, and election., Missionaries - Salaries, etc., Missions - India, Missions - India - Religion., Missions - India - Social life and customs., Mitchell, Hubert., Motion pictures in church work, Motion pictures in church work - United States., Navigators., Trotman, Dawson E., Wheaton College (Ill.), Wheaton College (Ill.) - Faculty., Wheaton College (Ill.) - Religious life and customs., Wheaton College (Ill.) - Social life and customs., Wilson, Thomas Walter., Women in missionary work., World Vision International., Wright, James Edwin., Youth for Christ International.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Oral history interviews and personal notebook relating to the ministry of James E. Wright with Youth for Christ in India, Mexico, and the United States.

Series 1: Audio Tapes

Oral history interviews with James E. Wright in which he describes his youth, conversion and spiritual growth, education at Wheaton College and Multnomah School of the Bible, involvement with Youth For Christ in Portland, Oregon, India and Mexico, counseling and follow-up programs for mass evangelism, evangelism in the Indian context, fund raising, developing a correspondence course in India, evangelistic ministry of Billy Graham, financial aspects of ministry, work with the Navigators; involvement in Christian camping and Christian schools. Wright also describes David Howard, Jim Elliot, and Dawson Trotman. The time period covered by the interviews is 1927-1986.

James E. Wright was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on May 8, 1986, at the Billy Graham Center Archive at Wheaton College.

Series 2: Paper Records (Box List)

The scrapbook consists of material documenting Youth For Christ's work in India, circa 1951-1954. The notebook contents, removed from their binder, include photographs, clippings, sample tracts in several languages, a 1954 program for a Christian camp, and correspondence course materials in English and Urdu.

Collection Historical Note

James Edwin Wright was born in 1927 in Montana. His parents were divorced when he was two, and he was raised by his mother and later by his grandparents, before returning home again to his mother. He was converted around the age of six. He dedicated himself to Christian service at the age of seventeen and expressed his intention to become a medical missionary in India. He graduated from Wheaton Academy (later Wheaton Christian High School) in 1945, while simultaneously taking courses at Wheaton College. In 1946 he entered Wheaton College, but left after just one semester for health reasons. He later attended Multnomah School of the Bible.

Wright was busily engaged in various ministries between 1947 and 1951. During 1947, while studying at Multnomah, he helped start some of the earliest Youth For Christ Bible clubs among students; during this same time Wright was involved in a ministry to gypsies. He was enlisted in late 1947 by a Christian film producer to show his evangelistic film in various meetings several northwestern states. Later in 1948, he served on the staff of a Montana reform school, which enabled him to hold Bible studies among the inmates. He then went on to coordinate meetings on behalf of the newly established World Vision (WV), showing a film about WV's ministry. In 1951, he set up a summer series of crusades in western Michigan for Maranatha Bible Conference, whose speakers included Billy Graham and T.W. Wilson. He coordinated the enlistment and training of counselors, and afterward coordinated the follow-up program. During the same part of the year, he married Louise Warren, a Wheaton graduate.

That same year he joined Youth for Christ International and was appointed the Director of Western India YFC and Director of YFC's Bible Correspondence School with courses in more than ten Indian languages. (He was drafted to serve in the Korean War, but was exempted when his assignment to work with Youth For Christ in India was finalized.) Based in Bombay, Wright's responsibilities in India included setting up crusades along with Indian church leaders.

In 1954, the Wrights returned to the U.S. due to Louise's declining health, and Wright became the director of YFC's Counseling and Follow-up Department; based in Portland, OR, he conducted research on methods and materials to be used in evangelistic counseling and follow-up. (Wright was invited in ca. 1957 to work with YFC in Singapore, but the option did not materialize for lack of support.) In 1957, he returned to Wheaton to work out of YFC's international office. From there, he traveled throughout the U.S. for the next three years and shared his conclusions from his observations in Portland. In 1960, he worked in Mexico City with one of the first YFC Teen Teams, developing a training program in evangelism and follow-up.

In 1961, Wright felt he wanted to be more involved in local church ministry and he concluded his work with Youth For Christ to work in loose association with a number of independent congregations in Colorado Springs. At the same time he worked on a non-staff basis with the Navigators for two years. From 1964 to 1971, he served as director of Colorado Rockies Bible Camp at their facility, Camp Elim, outside of Colorado Springs. As with other endeavors Wright coordinated, the camp developed a program integrating discipleship and evangelism. In 1972, he joined the staff of Family Life Services, and also helped start Colorado Springs Christian School, of which he served as board president for three years. In 1976, feeling burnout from his counseling ministry, he moved to western Colorado where he led a church planting effort near Cedar Edge and was also instrumental in establishing the Thunder Mountain Christian Academy. At the same time he continued with Family Life Services as an extension staff member.

The Wrights had five children (the fifth was adopted) and provided foster care to other children.

Subject/Index Terms

Caste. - India.
Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions
Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions - Finance.
Christian and Missionary Alliance - Missions - India.
Christian education
Christian education, Outdoor.
Christian education - India.
Christian education - United States.
Christianity and culture.
Christian leadership.
Christian life.
Christian literature
Christian literature - Publication and distribution
Christian literature - Publication and distribution - India.
Church and social problems
Church and social problems - United States.
Church development, New
Church development, New - United States.
Church schools
Church schools - United States.
Church work with prisoners
Church work with prisoners - Montana.
Church work with youth
Church work with youth - India.
Church work with youth - United States.
Correspondence schools and courses
Correspondence schools and courses - India.
Edman, V. Raymond (Victor Raymond), 1900-1967.
Elliot, Jim,
Evangelistic invitations.
Evangelistic work
Evangelistic work - India.
Evangelistic work - Philosophy.
Evangelistic work - Portland.
Evangelistic work - Study and teaching.
Evangelistic work - United States.
Fund raising
Fund raising - United States.
Graham, Billy,
Howard, David M.
India-Ceylon Youth for Christ.
Indigenous church administration
Indigenous church administration - India.
Jaarsma, Cornelius Richard,
Language in missionary work.
Maranatha Bible & Missionary Conference Ground (Muskegan, Mich.)
Mass media in missionary work
Mass media in missionary work - India.
Missionaries - Appointment, call, and election.
Missionaries - Salaries, etc.
Missions - India
Missions - India - Religion.
Missions - India - Social life and customs.
Mitchell, Hubert.
Motion pictures in church work
Motion pictures in church work - United States.
Trotman, Dawson E.
Wheaton College (Ill.)
Wheaton College (Ill.) - Faculty.
Wheaton College (Ill.) - Religious life and customs.
Wheaton College (Ill.) - Social life and customs.
Wilson, Thomas Walter.
Women in missionary work.
World Vision International.
Wright, James Edwin.
Youth for Christ International.

Administrative Information

Repository: Billy Graham Center Archives


The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by James E. Wright in May 1986.

Accession 86-45, 86-51

November 16, 1993

Paul A. Ericksen

C. Easley

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Preferred Citation: http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/bibcit.htm

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Audio Tapes],
[Series 2: Box List],

Series 1: Audio TapesAdd to your cart.
Tape 1: Oral History Interview with James E. Wright, 8 May 1986Add to your cart.
(60 minutes). Early life, spiritual growth, education, career; conversion, later dedication to the Lord, classes at Wheaton; Wheaton College: expectations and first impressions, health problems contributed to leaving Wheaton, Dave Howard; Wheaton: philosophy professor Cornelius Jaarsma, academic life; Wheaton: changes after the World War II, released from military service, comparison of Multnomah with Wheaton, the pledge; Wheaton: V. Raymond Edman, pranks, Jim Elliott's lighter side; meeting his future wife; Multnomah: course work, compared to Wheaton academically, benefit of childhood Bible training by his grandmother, faculty; involvement with first Youth For Christ rallies and high school Bible clubs, outreach to gypsies, film evangelism in 1948; ministry in reform school, Bible studies, impact; film excursion for World Vision, using YFC contacts, typical meeting, finances; setting up crusades at Maranatha Bible Conference in 1951 (Billy Graham, T. W. Wilson, etc.), offering raised Wrights' funds for India. Reel-to-reel audio recording, 3-3/4s ips, one side.
Tape 2: T2. Oral History Interview with James E. Wright, 8 May 1986Add to your cart.
(60 minutes). Continuation on crusade: counselor training and oversight; setting up YFC Bible clubs in Portland, Saturday night rallies, developing age-graded materials; YFC work in India: Joe Weatherly, status and extent of work, Hubert Mitchell; overcoming language difficulties in India with translators and English, reactions to tent meetings, types of people attending; Hindu and Muslim reactions to the Gospel, ways in which they did or did not adapt; evangelism to Indian culture, example of cultural blunder, impact of previous Indian exposure to Europeans; problems faced by Hindu and Muslim Christians after conversion, upward mobility of low caste converts using missionary services; conflicting impressions of India; setting up crusades, financing and subsidies, Indians and Westerners working together, varying Indian independence from missionaries; Navigator founder Dawson Trotman in India, correspondence course; returning to the U.S. due to Louise's poor health; assignment to develop counseling and follow-up program, cooperating with the Navigators, studying mass evangelism in Portland YFC, findings (about role of evangelists, counseling, inquirers), methodology; wife's role in their ministry through their home; possible Singapore assignment. Reel-to-reel audio recording, 3-3/4s ips, one side.
Tape 3: T3. Oral History Interview with James E. Wright, 8 May 1968Add to your cart.
(48 minutes). Interaction of the Gospel and missionaries with the Indian culture and Christian subculture, effectiveness of mass evangelism, cults, modernist-fundamentalist debate in Indian sphere; developing teams for work in Mexico City, conducting on-site training seminars for team members; desire to settle into one location and work in local church context, movement to Colorado Springs and the Navigators; support base and fund raising philosophy; local church work, training camp program (building, discipleship, evangelism); need for Christian schools and for counseling/teaching ministry addressing family relationships, starting school; Wright's counseling burnout, church planting in western Colorado, starting school, continued work with Family Life Services; reflections on ministry; reflections on financial philosophy, God's provision and supporters; comparing current enthusiasm for missions with when he started. Reel-to-reel audio recording, 3-3/4s ips, one side.

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