During the 1970′s, leaders in the World Evangelism movement began envisioning an institute which would raise up a new generation of faithful evangelism leaders around the world. In 1979, Dr. Joe Hale, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council said, “We are seeking to develop an Institute for World Evangelization which will enable leadership from East to West, South to North, Orient to Occident to be trained and motivated in world Evangelism—for Methodism to be a movement in the world.”
In 1979, a pilot seminar was held at Emory University by Dr. George E. Morris, the Arthur J. Moore Professor of Evangelism at Candler School of Theology; Rev. Sir Alan Walker, World Director of Evangelism, World Methodist Council, and Dr. Joe Hale.
Subsequently, the World Methodist Council’s meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii in July, 1981 voted to establish the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, a ministry of World Evangelism, World Methodist Council and Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Bishop William R. Cannon, President of the World Methodist Council; Dr. James T. Laney, President of Emory University, and Dr. Jim L. Waits, Dean of Candler School of Theology were key supporters for the Institute during its formation. Dr. George E. Morris was named the first Director of the Institute. In 1989 Dr. Winston O. R. Worrell was appointed director of the institute, leading the organization faithfully for 28 years. In the Summer of 2017, upon Dr. Worrell’s retirement, Dr. L. Wesley de Souza, Arthur J. Moore Associate Professor in the Practice of Evangelism at Candler School of Theology, was appointed director of the Institute.
For over thirty years now the World Methodist Evangelism Institute has worked to broaden and connect pan-Methodist leaders through its seminars. Averaging two seminars annually, WMEI has facilitated over fifty seminars across the globe. Seminars have been held in locales as diverse and unique as Tallinn, Estonia; Singapore, China and rural U.S. Appalachia. Today, WMEI continues its dedicated efforts to train and connect global leaders so that Christ’s church may be strengthened and expanded.