Elim’s History

It all began in 1924 with the vision God gave to a young, backwoods preacher, Ivan Q. Spencer. The message he saw, seemingly emblazoned in lights, was “REVIVAL” — and he was captured by the need to train young people for the work in the renewal movements he believed would soon sweep throughout the world.

The trademark of that young man’s subsequent ministry, and of the school which he founded, centered around the importance of the seeking God daily, renewing of vision, and dependence on the resources of God. From the beginning, the school experienced the sweet and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit, which over the years has drawn thousands to the Elim campus.

Elim Leaders on front steps.
Ivan Q. Spencer with son, Carlton
Carlton Spencer

The Elim Campus: A History of Seeking God

The current campus in Lima, New York, was originally the home of Genesee Wesleyan Seminary (GWS). GWS was founded in 1832 as a result of the impact of Charles Finney’s revival crusades in Rochester. Genesee College, a liberal arts school, was added to the campus in 1850. Twenty years later, the students and faculty moved to Syracuse to the institution known today as Syracuse University. Elim purchased the campus in 1951 after outgrowing facilities in Hornell and Red Creek, NY. Today the 18-building, 75-acre campus serves a growing student body, but some things have not changed. Elim’s mission—preparing Spirit-empowered laborers for a global harvest—is as strong as ever.

Willow in the Wind

The book Willow in the Wind tells the story of Ivan Q. Spencer and Elim’s beginnings. You can download or read this book here!

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