Reflections On A Pilgrimage
Six Decades of Service

© 1999  Ted W. Engstrom

Foreword by James C. Dobson, Ph.D.

Loyal Publishing, Sisters, Oregon — All Rights Reserved — Used by Permission


1. Engstrom, Theodore Wilhelm, 1916-2006 ; 2. Christian Biography
BR1725.E53 A3 1999 ~ ISBN: 1929125011 ~ LC: 00551487 ~ 269/.2/092 B 21 ~ OCLC: 43809961 ~ 185p.

Reflections On A Pilgrimage is presently held by 21 libraries including the Library of Congress and the Los Angeles Public Library

Table of Contents

From the Jacket of the Book

Foreword       9

Introduction       13

1. The 1940s — The Dynamic Decade       19

2. The 1950s — The Fascinating Decade       49

3. The 1960s — The Decade of Rebellion       81

4. The 1970s — The Decade of Disillusionment       107

5. The 1980s — The Decade of Unrest       135

6. The 1990s — The 20th Century's Closing Decade       165

From the Jacket of the Book

Reflections on a Pilgrimage is a sweeping personal recollection of Dr. Engstrom's six decades of ministry from Christian book editor in the 1940s, to head of Youth for Christ in the 1950s and 1960s, to leader of the international World Vision ministry until the late 1980s. In this memoir, Dr. Engstrom shares the personal excitement and spiritual adventure of ministering in 136 countries around the world.

Dr. Ted Engstrom

... Christian Leader and Advocate for the Poor

As the former president and CEO of World Vision since 1963 (now President Emeritus), Engstrom is one of the most influential leaders in American religion and social service. The recipient of five honorary doctorates, Engstrom has the remarkable distinction of having served as president of three of the world's foremost Christian organizations. Before joining World Vision, he was president of Youth for Christ International for six years. He also served as Interim President at Azusa Pacific University. Engstrom is a member of the boards of African Enterprise, Azusa Pacific University, Focus on the Family, International School of Theology and several other evangelical ministries. He also served as co-founder and the first Chairman of the board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Dr. Engstrom is loved and highly respected within the Christian community and management circles throughout the world.

A prolific author, Engstrom has written over 50 books and hundreds of articles. As President Emeritus of World Vision, Dr. Engstrom continues with a full schedule of speaking, writing and leadership.

"Ted Engstrom's book could not come at a better time. Today, Evangelicals are stumbling about looking for direction in a post-Christian age — we do well to look to the example of men like him. Reflections on a Pilgrimage reminds us that we stand on the shoulders of giants of the faith like Ted Engstrom. We have much to learn from this great leader."

Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

Ted Engstrom, the embodiment of all we mean by "servant leader," has a story every follower of Christ should read. This is engaging history of the evangelical movement! Dr. Engstrom continues to mentor all of us in this amazing chronicle of leadership through his partnerships with most of our spiritual heroes. I felt humbled, but greatly encouraged.

Dr. Bob Andringa, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

"This is a remarkable book written by one of the most remarkable men I have ever known. Ted Engstrom has lived at the very heart of the evangelical movement, worldwide, for the past 60 years. His insights and experiences are priceless."

Dr. Paul A Cedar, Chairman, Mission America

"There are few truly outstanding Christian leaders. There are even fewer that have faithfully ministered over six decades. Clearly, one of our evangelical treasures is Ted Engstrom. Only Ted Engstrom could have written this fascinating ministry marathon of God's amazing work in the 20th century."

John Pearson, CEO, Christian Management Association

"...this book oozes with example after example of God's faithfulness. It should encourage us all."

Dr. Eugene B. Habecker, President, American Bible Society


by Dr. James C. Dobson

   What a privilege it is to write this Foreword for Dr. Ted Engstrom's new book Reflections on a Pilgrimage. He is one of the most influential and respected Christian leaders of our time, having served quietly and often sacrificially in numerous evangelical organizations. Our ministry, Focus on the Family, is blessed to be among them.

   I met "Dr. Ted" in 1980 when he was President of World Vision, US. By that time, Focus was only three years old and consisted of about 25 employees. However, our ministry was expanding rapidly which presented us with the challenges of exponential growth. It became obvious that we needed an additional board member who had the managerial experience that the rest of us lacked. Another member, Bobb Biehl, had worked for Dr. Engstrom at World Vision and suggested that I ask him to participate. I wasn't acquainted with him personally but I had

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heard about his wisdom and dedication to the cause of Christ. Most importantly, he had been where we seemed to be going. Thus, with some apprehension, I approached the busy executive and asked if he would consider joining our board.

   Dr. Ted was very gracious, but said that he was already serving on more than 20 boards and really couldn't take on additional responsibility. Besides, he told me with a smile, his wife Dorothy had made it abundantly clear that "enough is enough." I was disappointed but thanked him for his kindness and considered the matter closed. About two weeks later, however, I was asked to show one of the films in my new series to members of the World Vision staff. Dr. Ted was among those present on that afternoon. As we sat in the dark watching a film on fathering, he sent a note down the row that simply read, "I accept your invitation." (Dr. Engstrom recounts this story in the book but remembers writing, "Count me in" on the note.) Either way, the Lord had spoken to him while listening to me talk about my father. It was a divinely appointed moment!

   This story illustrates Dr. Engstrom's great heart for Christian ministry. Thousands of others have benefited from his willingness to serve without compensation or reward, except for the knowledge that he was doing the work of the Lord. Dr. Engstrom has now served on our board as vice chairman for 19 years, and in all that time, he has only missed two meetings — both for unavoidable health reasons.

   I wish I could explain adequately the enormous contribution Dr. Ted has made to our ministry. Time and again when we were uncertain about the best path to take, he pointed us in the right direction. I'll never forget a board meeting in October 1993, two months after we had completed our new campus in Colorado Springs. Our financial reserves were depleted, and there was reason to believe that contributions during the upcoming Christmas season would be lower than the previous year. One member suggested that we cut millions of dollars from our budget, which would have required the cancellation of numerous successful programs and set the ministry back for years to come. At that point, Dr. Engstrom rose to his feet. (He often stood when he felt strongly about a matter.) For the next few minutes, he made an eloquent and impassioned speech about how the

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Lord had taken care of Focus on the Family through the years. We should, he said, continue to trust Him to meet our needs. Then he urged us to press ahead with our original plans. We did, and God did, and the rest is history.

   Dr. Engstrom offered similar direction and wisdom to hundreds of other Christian organizations. But his contribution to Christendom has extended far beyond his board service. His great passion continues to focus on needy families, and especially, on the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His pursuit of those objectives and his effort to ease human suffering has taken him around the world many times.

   Reflections on a Pilgrimage presents a fascinating recounting of the experiences and relationships that span this remarkable life. Above all else, Dr. Ted Engstrom is a godly man who has earned the respect of his fellow believers. His accomplishments and Christian service continue to this day, into his eighties. It is my great honor to call him my friend.

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Focus on the Family


   I have been wonderfully blessed of God during the last six decades to have played a part in the life of the church in this dynamic twentieth century. Gratefully, I have been both an observer and a participant.

   The beginning of four distinct careers in my Christian "professional" life began in 1940. Just prior to my first career I graduated from college (Taylor University) in 1938, married my college sweetheart, Dorothy, 1939, and entered the Christian book publishing field in 1940.

   What a ride these six decades have been! In the 40s I served with my close friends, Pat and Bernie Zondervan, first as book editor and then as a manager of the embryonic Zondervan Publishing House, which became one of the premier evangelical book publishers of the nation.

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   In the 50s and into the 60s I had the privilege of serving first as executive director and then as president of Youth for Christ International in Wheaton, Illinois.

   From the mid-60s until I retired in the late 80s, I had the joy and delight of serving in the worldwide ministry of World Vision, headquartered in Monrovia, California, initially as executive vice president and then as president.

   And now, as I write this, I am in a fourth, most enjoyable career — consulting with evangelical agencies and leaders (Christian colleges, mission agencies, rescue missions, etc.) along with speaking engagements, writing responsibilities and serving on a dozen or more evangelical boards of directors or trustees.

   These have been four paths as led by God: religious book publishing, youth evangelism, world mission activities, and doing my own thing in identification with hosts of meaningful Christian enterprises.

   The pages that follow are simply a chronicle of reflections and observations over these sixty years as I have traveled to 136 countries, met and shared with literally thousands of God's choice servants (many of whom I will identify in this book), participated in scores of international conferences and congresses, shared with innumerable churches all across the globe, and met numerous U.S. presidents and heads of state in several nations.

   This is in no way an autobiography, albeit it is highly personal, but rather a series of reflections over the years as to God's marvelous working, by His Spirit, in a dramatic, rapidly changing world, society and order.

   In Psalm 78:4, the psalmist writes, "We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done." This I have sought to do in this book.

   As we enter into a new decade, a new century, even a new millennium, perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from the past as to God's working among His people in an everchanging landscape.

   I am most grateful to my colleague and former administrative assistant, George Marhad, presently on the staff of World Vision/U.S. in Seattle, for his wonderful assistance in doing research for me on this project.

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   And I give God great thanks for being able to witness His working among His people across the globe. I trust you, reader friend, will be encouraged by what you read in these pages, covering six dramatic decades.

Proceed to Chapter One of the Book

To Dorothy

Beloved partner for six decades

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