EE started in 1962 by Dr. D. James Kennedy. As a young pastor, Jim watched all his attempts to grow his first congregation go down the tubes. His church attendance dipped. Recalling those difficult times, he said, "Extrapolation made it clear that I had two-and-a-half months of ministry left before I was preaching to only my wife—and she was threatening to go to the Baptist Church down the street!"
Jim called this time the lowest point in his ministry. It was then that friend, and pastor, Kennedy Smartt, invited Jim to assist him in, of all things, a series of evangelistic services in Scottdale, Georgia, "I who had decimated one church was being asked to ship my technique across state lines. Have plague will travel!" quipped Jim.
During those 10 days of meetings, Jim simply went out with his friend and watched him engage people spiritually. By the end of the meetings, 54 people made professions of faith in Christ. Jim returned to Fort Lauderdale with the seeds that eventually became Evangelism Explosion. His church began to grow, and grow. In a brief 12-year period, church membership increased from 17 to 2,000.
Realizing that he couldn't do this alone, he made witness-training a bedrock of his ministry, utilizing on-the-job training. In 1967, his Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was singled out as the most rapidly expanding church in America. In 1972, EE was incorporated with its own staff and Board of Directors. As it spread to other countries, EE materials were translated into other languages. By 1984 more training clinics were held overseas than were held in the US.
In early 1996 EE was planted in all nations of the world. Materials have been translated into more than 70 different languages and clinics have been held in many nations. But there is still much work yet to be done developing national leadership and establishing strong, indigenous ministries in every nation.
The International Office provides an administrative base and raises financial support for the international operations of this ministry. It also oversees the material sales and training clinics for the United States. EE is a multi-denominational, non-profit missions organization whose operations are dependent upon our Lord’s grace and the gifts of His people.