History

Menu

Taken from the book From Wheaton to the Nations: The story of cross-cultural missionary outreach from Wheaton College, by David. M. Howard. You can purchase this book at the Wheaton College Bookstore.

“It was an electrifying moment. Wheaton College was in the midst of special services held twice each year in chapel. It was February 1936. The speaker, Dr. Robert McQuilkin, founder and president of Columbia Bible College, had been taken ill with the flu and was unable to speak. Dr. Walter Wilson of Kansas City filled in for him that day. As the chapel hour drew to a close, song leader Homer Hammontree was about to dismiss the meeting.

Suddenly a senior male student, Don Hillis, stood up and inquired what Christian students who truly love the Lord, should do to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit's power. He deplored the fear of emotionalism that he saw among many Wheaton students. He said he believed such fear was hindering the work of the Holy Spirit. Students responded to his earnest concern, and the chapel service became a prolonged period of confession of sin and praying to God for forgiveness that lasted until the evening service.

Thus began what came to be known as the Revival of 1936. By the final day of the week Dr. McQuilkin had recovered and brought the closing message. He gave a ringing challenge for missions to which scores of students responded, committing themselves to overseas service.

Wheaton students returned to the campus in the fall of 1936 with a new enthusiasm to follow through on what God had done in their hearts during the revival of the previous February. What had been the SVM (Student Volunteer Movement) chapter at Wheaton now became a charter member of the SFMF (Student Foreign Missions Fellowship). Students held weekly meetings of missions emphasis with outside speakers. Prayer groups based on geography were organized again, so that students concerned for a specific area of the world could pray together. Teams of students from Wheaton fanned out to colleges and Bible institutes in the Chicago area to share their vision for fulfilling the Great Commission.

Since its founding in 1936, FMF has played a significant role on the Wheaton campus. During the post-World War II years it was the largest student organization, with attendance of up to 500 and sometimes even 700 or 800 for special events. Later it suffered from a decline of missions interest, which is chronicled elsewhere in this book. The name went through a series of changes, from FMF to SMF (Student Missions Fellowship, then Student Missions Forum), to WCF (William Carey Fellowship, which became World Christian Fellowship).”

Media Center