Known as “A Preacher’s Preacher,” Dr. Stephen Olford, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Olford Ministries International, passed away late Sunday night, August 29, 2004, having suffered a massive stroke.
According to a press release received by ASSIST News Service (ANS), Dr. Olford was born on in Zambia on March 29, 1918, as the son of missionaries, Frederick and Bessie Olford. Dr. Olford was raised in Angola, where he committed his life to Christ and witnessed first-hand the transforming power of God and His Word.
Dr. Olford spent his college years in the United Kingdom. After receiving ministry training, he was appointed an Army Scripture Reader during Word War II, and he launched a Young Peoples Christian fellowship in Newport, South Wales. After the war, Dr. Olford was involved in extensive evangelistic and preaching ministry throughout the U.K. and overseas.
In 1953, Dr. Olford’s years of pastoral ministry began by serving the Duke Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Surrey, England (1953-1959) and then the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City (1959-1973). He pioneered a Christian TV program, Encounter, in New York, and his Sunday morning services were broadcast around the world on radio. His weekly half-hour radio program, also called Encounter, is still aired in the United States and some overseas countries.
Dr. and Mrs. Olford, and their son David, moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1985 to develop a training program and Center to encourage and equip preachers and teachers of God’s Word. In 1988 the Stephen Olford Centre for Biblical Preaching was dedicated, and it remains the headquarters of Olford Ministries International, at 4000 Riverdale Rd., Memphis, TN.
Olford’s influence upon thousands of pastors and preachers cannot be measured. He has had a significant role in the lives of many, including his long-time friend, Dr. Billy Graham. He has been called “The Preacher’s Preacher.” A public memorial service will take place at Bellevue Baptist Church at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8.The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to “Olford Ministries International” to further the work of OMI.