The Stephen Olford Center of Biblical Preaching was dedicated on June 4, 1988, in Memphis TN. It was founded to promote the exposition of Scripture and practical training for pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders. After 60 years of pastoral and global ministry, Dr. Stephen Olford believed that the ultimate answer to the problems of every age is the anointed expository preaching of God’s inerrant Word and that such preaching must be restored to the contemporary pulpit. Dr. Olford defined his mission as, “equipping and challenging pastors and lay leaders to pass on the passion of the gospel to the world.” To that end, institutes, workshops, internships, and continuing education credits were all offered on campus.
After Dr. Olford’s death, the Board of Directors of Olford Ministries International agreed to merge with Union University in April, 2007. Union University in Jackson, Tennessee is an outstanding Christian university that is evangelical by conviction and Baptist by tradition, with core values consistent with the ministry of the Stephen Olford Center. Under the umbrella of the university, the center continued to offer pastor and lay leader training. Additionally, the center housed classes for several divinity degrees offered by Union University.
In February of 2015, GMF purchased the Stephen Olford Center from Union University. As a former student and mentee of Dr. Olford, President and CEO of GMF, Richard Hamlet, understands Dr. Olford’s vision for the center. GMF is dedicated to facilitating ministry training that embodies the ministry legacy of Dr. Olford by encouraging and equipping participants to serve through the Church and in society with Christ-centered excellence.
As a result, the Stephen Olford Center is still used to train pastors and lay leaders for ministry, offering many institutes every year. Dr. David Olford, who taught alongside his father for many years, now leads the institutes. Additionally, the center serves as a premier retreat center, serving the spiritual needs of believers in the Mid-South by offering groups a relaxing, Christian atmosphere for retreats, meetings, and events.