First Summer Bible Conference – 1886

Northfield, Massachusetts

Northfield1886CloseUpThis is where it all began. It was supposed to be just a Bible Conference, sponsored by the YMCA and hosted by the famous evangelist Dwight Moody at the Mount Hermon School he had recently founded. What actually happened was Northfield Summer Conferences became the engine of the first international student fellowship that by the turn of the century had spread all over the world.

Northfield1886
Courtesy of the Yale Divinity School Library

The brainchild of Luther Wishard, the YMCA’s campus organizer, it was announced in April for July and even on such very short notice, 250 students showed up. Of those, in an uprising of interest in mission, one hundred of them who came to be called the Mount Hermon Hundred declared their intention to become foreign missionaries. Many followed through on that pledge.