The International Churches of Christ: A Historical Overview

1960-1968 Though "Chairs of Bible" were established by Restoration Movement churches at state universities as early as the nineteenth century, Churches of Christ became particularly active in sponsoring these arrangements between 1960 and 1968. These "chairs," as the name implies, were primarily academic in nature. They were designed to provide students at state schools with university level courses similar to those being offered at the time in church-related colleges. The directors of these chairs had graduate training in Bible and religious studies and were considered (and considered themselves) to be academics. Nevertheless, many of these ministries were eventually expanded to include worship services for students, opportunities for Christian interaction and community, and programs of evangelistic and benevolent outreach. In the mid-sixties some staff members at the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, not previously involved in state campus ministries but strongly influenced by the work of the evangelical organization Campus Crusade for Christ, conceived of a different model of campus ministry-one that would be almost entirely centered on evangelism. Calling themselves "Campus Evangelism" (CE), they sponsored a series of well financed and skillfully produced "seminars" designed to introduce this new model to those already involved in the Bible Chair movement and to encourage the initiation of new campus ministries based on a more evangelistic model. Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade, was invited to speak at the first of these seminars (1966). A second seminar was held in 1968 in Dallas, ambitiously called "The International Campus Evangelism Seminar." Over 1,000 people attended, the majority from congregations already supporting Bible Chairs. At this event CE announced it would sponsor a pilot project at the University of Florida in Gainesville, led by Chuck Lucas. Lucas had no prior connections with the Bible Chair movement.