The term “evangelism” has been pulled and stretched so often in different kinds of churches that its biblical precision is often shrouded. Evangelist Billy Grahm is calling together between 3,000 and 4,000 evangelists from around the world next month to reaffirm the biblical meaning of evangelism, and to give them an opportunity to be trained and to trade strategies.

The conference will be held July 12–21 in Amsterdam, and more than 5,000 people from some 130 countries applied to attend. Applications were screened by regional committees to ensure that only itinerant evangelists—those who travel to declare the gospel—will come, since the conference is designed for them, and because space is limited.

Graham considers the conference to be one of the more important training opportunities ever to be available for evangelists. Two-thirds of the participants will be from Third World countries, and half of those will be from Latin America, where evangelical Christianity has made great gains in recent years.

Graham said, “There have been other international conferences on evangelism, but this one is aimed at training, inspiring, and equipping these traveling evangelists, who, like Jesus Christ, go from village to village, city to city, preaching the love and peace of God. If the message is going to continue in some countries, it will be only through national evangelists who are trained and equipped.”

All conference sessions will be translated into English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. More than 100 Christian journalists from around the world have volunteered time to attend the conference and prepare news releases, tapes, and film for mass media outlets. The communication will be done in some two dozen languages. The conference has become known as “Amsterdam ‘83,” and Graham has defined five goals for it: fellowship among itinerant evangelists; exchange of ideas and successful evangelistic methods; study of the theology of evangelism in the light of confusion about its nature and necessity; study of specific concerns and techniques during workshops; and inspiration and greater commitment to evangelism.

Graham will deliver four major messages during the assembly. Other speakers from around the world will also speak on key topics. Some of the speakers known to North Americans are the following: Luis Palau, Bill Bright, Paul Yonggi Cho, Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, Leighton Ford, and E. V. Hill.

Organizers of the conference expect a major paper to emerge from it. The paper will probably reaffirm the biblical meaning and mandate of evangelism, and call for a greater commitment of both evangelists and local churches.

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