Spurred by new concern for Christian witness in the swift-moving sixties, 900 U. S. business and professional men gathered January 18–21 in Miami Beach for the sixth annual Layman’s Leadership Institute. They were welcomed warmly by Texas supermarket executive Howard E. Butt, lay evangelist whose Christian Men Inc. annually coordinates the wheels-within-wheels program. Participants heard 33 speakers from business, politics, medicine, science and education stress the relevance of the Christian ethic to business and economic aspects of life, and the layman’s responsibility for winning men to Jesus Christ.
U. S. Senator George Smathers of Florida, opening speaker, soon rose above the platitudinous when he divulged aspects of the pre-inauguration meeting he had arranged between President Kennedy and Billy Graham at Kennedy’s request. (Mr. Graham stressed, among other things, the White House’s responsibility for moral leadership. But he also indicated his personal convictions that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the climax toward which history is moving, and that the Kingdom of God is the only real answer to man’s pressing problems.)
The roster of speakers included Graham; Maxey Jarman, Genesco board chairman; Paul Harvey, ABC newscaster; Herbert J. Taylor, Club Aluminum board chairman; John Bolton, Sr., Lestoil Products board chairman; and Maurice C. Smith of Bristol Manufacturing Company. Their swank Fontainebleau Hotel listeners were, as one observer said, mainly “men who can’t use the short form for income tax reporting” and a few squatters “without money and seeking it for good causes.”
Participants were prodded—in short speeches and long sermons, lively conference groups and cracker barrel discussions—to spiritual decision, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more