Since the early 1970s numerous seminars and conferences on medical missions have been held at various locations and sponsored by different groups or local congregations. The earliest ones were organized primarily by Joe Glenn and others at the Decatur Church of Christ near Atlanta (today called the Northlake Church of Christ). Several of these were held in the Atlanta area and others at various locations in different parts of the country. These seminars brought together a number of people interested in medical missions and were designed to promote communication and increased support for mission projects. These seminars continued until about 1980.1
In 1982 the first seminar sponsored by the African Christian Hospital Foundation (now known as International Health Care Foundation) was held in Searcy, Arkansas. Subsequently located in the Dallas, Texas area, these seminars continue to bring together the largest number of people interested in medical missions. These seminars were organized and directed by Glenn Boyd, who served as president of International Health Care Foundation until January 2000. At that time, Frank Black, M.D., became the Executive Director of IHCF and director of the annual seminars.2
The Central Church of Christ in Johnson City, Tennessee has hosted a yearly seminar since 1990. The first was organized by Felix Morris, M.D., Robert Griffin, M.D., and Tim Hall, minister of the congregation, with the assistance of Glenn Boyd. Called the Appalachian Seminar for Medical Evangelism, the event continued for several years under the direction of Dr. Griffin. Today known as the Annual Medical Missions Seminar, it is directed by Louise Griffin Clites, whose first husband Robert Griffin, M.D., passed away during the 1990s.3 There have also been several smaller, one-time seminars or workshops held at various locations. These have generally been organized through an individual congregation and have also helped to bring together those interested in medical missions.
A similar event, the World Relief Conference, was held in 2000 on the campus of Lipscomb University in conjunction with the Willard Collins Summer Lectures. Organized primarily by Randy Steger of Lipscomb University and Healing Hands International, this conference was sponsored by Healing Hands International, Health Talents International, Partners in Progress, and White¹s Ferry Road Relief Ministry. This conference emphasized other forms of evangelistic efforts, such as disaster relief and humanitarian aid along with medical missions.
These seminars and conferences serve an important role in the overall ministry of medical evangelism. Bringing together former and current missionaries, those interested in becoming involved in medical missions, elders, missions committee members, and others, these events have continued to increase awareness and communication among those involved in medical evangelism.