Published on April 1, 2014 by Betsy Childs  
Douglas Birdsall

Global missions expert Douglas Birdsall is keynote speaker for the 2014 World Christianity Focus April 7-11 at Samford University. The week-long emphasis is coordinated by Beeson Divinity School.

Birdsall will speak twice during the week: a community worship service at 11 a.m. April 8 in Hodges Chapel and a luncheon lecture at 12 p.m. April 9 in Divinity Hall. Advance reservations are required for the luncheon lecture.

Birdsall is honorary advisory board chairman for the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. He chaired the 2010 congress in Cape, South Africa, which was billed as "the largest ecumenical gathering in history" with 4,000 members from 198 nations. He also previously served as chairman of the American Bible Society.

A former missionary to Japan with his wife, Jeanie, Birdsall has a Ph.D. from the Oxford (England) Centre for World Mission.

Bruce Persons, a Beeson Divinity School student, will do a luncheon presentation on missions among the hearing impaired at 12 p.m. on April 11.

Another feature of the week is Missiography, a gallery of photographs taken by Samford students and employees that share stories of global Christianity. It will be on display during the April 7-11 in Divinity Hall, and on April 14 the collection will move to Harwell G. Davis Library for a month. A meet-and-greet with photographers is from 12-1 p.m. April 10 in the Global Center in Divinity Hall.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.