This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
In my experience, there have been few periodicals that, when received, immediately go straight into my briefcase to be read ASAP. I’m very pleased to have a permanently bound copy covering those ﬁrst years of God’s miraculous leading and provision. Remembering what God did at the founding of the U.S. Center for World Mission will strengthen our faith and renew our commitment to continued sacriﬁce on behalf of the Hidden Peoples.
Gary Ginter Chairman/CEO, VAST Power Systems, Inc.
I appreciate the crucial part that the Mission Frontiers Bulletin and the U. S. Center for World Mission have had in putting the spotlight on reaching the unreached people groups in the world for Christ.
Barbara F. Grimes Wycliffe translator, Ethnologue Editor from 1971-2000
The Mission Frontiers Bulletin is about movement, mission in high gear with all wheels spinning. This volume is living church and mission history. Don’t miss the thrill of it.
Paul Hostetter Retired missionary, Professor of Missiology
I appreciate the sense of energy, unexpected insights, up-to-the-minuteness, and glimpses of the new edges of mission that I ﬁnd between the covers of each issue.
Evvy Hay Campbell Associate Professor, Missions and Intercultural Studies, Wheaton College
When my friend Ralph Winter speaks, I listen! For decades he’s been leading on the cutting edge of the most signiﬁcant movement of world history—the completion of Christ’s Great Commission. The ﬁrst four years of Mission Frontiers is important. Read, learn, and understand as mission history unfolds— then get involved.
Loren Cunningham Founder, Youth With A Mission
This reprint of early issues of Mission Frontiers will be a rare treasure of cutting-edge, creative, provocative, always applicable missions reﬂections and proposals. A must-read for all with a global vision and contextually relevant engagement in the most important, most holy and most urgent task in the world.
Dr. Peter Kuzmic Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
In the pages of this volume of the ﬁrst four years the reader will ﬁnd the fascinating story of those “crucial, cliff-hanging years” of the U. S. Center for World Mission, written down as they were happening. I can hardly wait to pore over the drama recorded in this illuminating record again.
Jim Montgomery Chairman, Founder, Dawn Ministries (Member of USCWM founding board of directors)
All who are committed to world evangelization will enjoy picking up this book and reliving a crucial milestone: the founding of the U.S. Center for World Mission.
Dana L. Robert Professor of Mission, Boston University School of Theology
We look forward to the reprinting of those crucial ﬁrst four years of the Mission Frontiers Bulletin.
Betty Schubert Missionary
This reprint of the ﬁrst four years of the Mission Frontiers Bulletin covers a watershed period in the life of a movement that would contribute signiﬁcantly to the shaping of mission strategy for decades to come.
Duain Verow Pastor and former missionary
Many are going to be blessed through this commemorative volume of the ﬁrst four crucial years—a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God and his people.
W. Harold Fuller Missions author, SIM, Canada
If you want to learn how to raise $15 million when you only have pocket change and a heavenly dream, READ THIS BOOK.
Ron Symons Insurance broker Board member, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship
Faith often seems reckless, clueless and blind—blind to overwhelming obstacles because its eyes are ﬁ xed on the goal. These pages relive the reckless faith that started the U.S. Center for World Mission and reveal the amazing early steps toward the goal of spreading to the Church the vision of unreached peoples.
Former USCWM staff member
Mission Frontiers is one of the most important journals inﬂuencing the modern missionary movement. The articles in this volume of the ﬁrst four years will inspire you, challenge you, and cause you to contemplate your own role in the fulﬁ llment of the Great Commission.
Timothy Tomlinson Dean of Alternative Education, Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN
Throughout the years the Mission Frontiers Bulletin has challenged me to see the world from a different perspective. It has been my constant steady classroom for effective missions. Praise God!
Heidi Grooms Student Mobilizer
From this joint venture and concerted effort of Ralph and Roberta Winter, along with mission minded people from across the country have come resources such as the Mission Frontiers Bulletin circulated among 80,000 people and articles, textbooks, materials and curriculumlessons which are being used today in over 100 colleges and seminaries. The U.S. Center for World Mission continues to play a key role in the areas of research, training and education synergistically, strategically, evangelistically both here and around the world.
John Coulombe Pastor to Seniors, First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, CA
Nothing has shaped (or shaken) mission strategy in the last three decades more than the seeds contained in this volume. One example: the realization that the Great Commission refers neither to countries nor to individuals but to ethnic groups of people. Such insights remain as compellingly relevant today as when Mission Frontiers was ﬁrst printed. Don’t miss this historic volume!
Robby Butler Founder, theMissionNetwork.org
I thank God for the U.S. Center for World Mission. The reprint volume of the ﬁrst four years of the Mission Frontiers Bulletin is a wonderful record of its founding years and stands as a testament to faithﬁlled trust in the God who supplies our every need.
Richard J. Foster Author of Celebration of Discipline Founder and Chair of Renovare
Mission Frontiers is indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to be on the cutting edge of missiological information. You can’t help but be inspired.
Tetsunao Yamamori President Emeritus, Food for the Hungry International
The Impossible Challenge
The Founding of the U.S. Center for World Mission
The ﬁrst four years of the Mission Frontiers Bulletin January 1979 to December 1982 Plus, an introduction to previous events
A reﬂection on an unusual cluster of events, reprinted in commemoration of twenty-ﬁve years of continuous publication
William Carey International University Pasadena, California
© Copyright 2004, U.S. Center for World Mission ISBN: 0-86585-003-8
Mission Frontiers Bulletin is the ofﬁcial bulletin of the U.S. Center for World Mission, a project of the Frontier Mission Fellowship, 1605 East Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104, USA. Information concerning more copies of this publication may be found on the web at www.missionfrontiers.org. Comments to the editors can be mailed to the editor of Mission Frontiers.
Permission to reprint anything in this volume is granted on the condition that a reference is clearly made to the source.
hat you hold in your hands covers the ﬁrst six years of the existence of the U. S. Center for World Mission and the ﬁrst four years of its bulletin, Mission Frontiers. The Introduction to follow gives the background and summarizes the ﬁrst two full years, ‘77 and ‘78. Then, beginning in January of 1979, the pages of Mission Frontiers cover events from then on almost blow by blow for the next four years through December of 1982. Of course, 1982 is not the end of the story. Amazing things have happened since then. None are quite as important as knowing about the early period. How did it happen? What weighty factors were there? Why was so far-out a goal even pursued at all? This is why a brief introduction has been added. The highly readable book by my ﬁ rst wife, Roberta, covers many more years and in a more dramatic way, and was updated two years ago for the 25th anniversary of the USCWM. It was ﬁ rst called, Once More Around Jericho and, expanded, is now called I Will Do a New Thing. In contrast, this volume commemorates the 25th anniversary of the inaugural of the Mission Frontiers Bulletin, which as I write this is now in its 26th year. You will note that these pages are somewhat like the diary of an organization. The speciﬁc value of a diary over an interpretive biography is that it records what happens even when the meaning of the events is not yet clear, and whether those events are good or bad. It is a candid picture, not a formal portrait. The eight pages of annotations on speciﬁc pages I have provided, again and again reveal intriguing hindsights. But you, the reader, are given an inside look at things yourself so as to draw your own conclusions. In taking the initiative in 1976 to found the Center, I have never in my life felt so clearly drawn by the living God to make such a radical decision, either before or since. But I will leave that story for the Introduction which follows.
Ralph D. Winter, October 2004 Founder, Frontier Mission Fellowship/U. S. Center for World Mission President, William Carey International University
Preface Index, Comments Introduction, Background
1979, Vol. 1, (64 pages)
v ix xvii 1 9 17 25 33 57 65 73 81 89 97 105 113 121 129 137 149 161 173 189 201 217 227 239 255 271 287 303 327 343 355 379 395 415 435
Vol. 1:1, Jan-Feb Vol. 1:2, Feb-Mar Vol. 1:3, Mar-April Vol. 1:4, April-May Vol. 1:5, July-Aug Vol. 1:6, December
1980, Vol. 2, (108 pages)
Vol. 2:1, January Vol. 2:2, February Vol. 2:3, March Vol. 2:4, April Vol. 2:5, May Vol. 2:6, June Vol. 2:7, July Vol. 2:8, August Vol. 2:9, September Vol. 2:10, October Vol. 2:11, November Vol. 2:12, December
1981, Vol. 3, (130 pages)
Vol. 3:1, January Vol. 3:2, February Vol. 3:3, March Vol. 3:4, April Vol. 3:5, May-June Vol. 3:6, July Vol. 3:7, August Vol. 3:8, Sept-Oct Vol. 3:9, Nov-Dec
1982, Vol. 4, (148 pages)
Vol. 4:1, Jan-Feb Vol. 4:2, Mar-April Vol. 4:3, May Vol. 4:4, June Vol. 4:5, July Vol. 4:6, Aug-Sept Vol. 4:7, Oct-Nov Vol. 4:8, December
by Ralph D. Winter
Note that in the following pages IFMA refers to the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association of North America, founded in 1917, while EFMA refers to what used to be called the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, founded in 1945, but which recently changed its name to the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies. The EFMA, from the beginning, unlike the IFMA, welcomed denominational, interdenominational, and Pentecostal agencies whether or not denominational.
p. 19: A fascinating parable of a Japanese youth that wants to win America for Shintoism. p. 20: What you can do to help us. The First Athens Congress on World Missions. A new poster showing facts of the unreached. p. 22: Training opportunities. p. 24: Editorial: Meet the Director. Vol. 1:4, April-May 1979 p. 25: Introducing the “pre-candidate crisis.” p. 26: A one-semester study program. p. 27: Pre-candidate problem/solution: Fish below the Dam. p. 28: The origin of the watchword: A Church for Every People by the Year 2000. p. 30: A stirring challenge to students. p. 31: Announcing on-campus courses (prePerspectives). p. 32: Editorial: Meet the Director’s Wife. Vol. 1:5, July-Aug 1979 p. 33: A special, longer “Founders Reference Issue” which we sent to everyone who gave $15.95. p. 34: An early letterhead. p. 35: Twenty-seven face-to-face meetings scheduled for July alone with groups from Boston to Seattle. p. 36: Introducing the “Third” era of missions. p. 38: Three Miracle Years—a recapitulation of the initial months before Mission Frontiers Bulletin existed. p. 39: A chart showing our progress to the ﬁrst $1.2 million. p. 40: Second full-page ad in Christianity Today. p. 41: Ten Questions People Often Ask. p. 43: Our famous wall chart and a table of statistics of the world from a missionary perspective. p. 45: Scenes of the campus. p. 46: Third full-page ad in Christianity Today.
Volume 1, 1979
Vol. 1:1, Jan-Feb 1979 p. 1: This photo reveals what could not have happened overnight. Thus, this ﬁrst issue of Mission Frontiers begins after our ﬁrst two years. To ﬁll in the gap see the ﬁrst page in this book. Also, pages 38-39. p. 2: What is the U.S. Center for World Mission? p. 3: Finding and Researching the “Hidden Peoples” (as we called them early on). p. 4: The First Athens Congress on World Missions. p. 5: What Is a World Christian? p. 6: William Carey International University, and the Institute of International Studies (the latter sponsored what is now called the “Perspectives Study Program.” p. 7: Do You Want This Project To Succeed? p. 8: Editorial: Meet the Director. Vol. 1:2, Feb-Mar 1979 p. 10: A dramatic account of the peculiar problem of reaching the remaining untouched people groups. p. 11: First of a series of full-page ads in Christianity Today. p. 12: Finding God’s Will. p. 14: What we suggest churches ought to do. p. 16: We need everything from furniture to dinner plates. Vol. 1:3, Mar-April 1979 p. 18: Who is the real missionary? Dividing the world in three parts.
p. 47: Fourth full-page ad in Christianity Today. p. 48: Chart showing how 30 mission agencies have already helped us. p. 49: An abortive, pre- Perspectives one-semester program. p. 50: Why we decided to ask for only $15.95 from any one person. p. 51: Bill Bright, Leighton Ford, Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga, Don Hoke, Harold Lindsell, Donald McGavran, et al. speak about this project. p. 52: Three USCWM priorities and a diagram of the roots, trunk, and branches of a tree representing the Cause of Missions. p. 53: An early organization chart of the Center and the University showing what a slim crew we still had after two and a half years. p. 54: How people have helped us and the strategic reasons for a word-of-mouth approach to creating vision and support. p. 55: A list of vision expanding materials that are available. p. 56: What we would like people to do. Vol. 1:6, December 1979 p. 57: Announcing a ﬁnal decision for October 27-31, 1980 for the World Consultation on Frontier Missions. News: EFMA agencies choose to reach 5,908 by 1990! p. 58: Report of the Athens Congress on World Missions. p. 59: First chart displaying our entire payment schedule. p. 60: The link between the Urbana conferences and our Pre- Perspectives study program. Ninety churches agree to hold annual “Hidden People” Sundays. p. 61: The Evangelical Foreign Missions Association invited me to give the opening address highlighting the conference theme, which was Reaching Unreached Peoples! Summary of my address. Eighty agencies chose to reach 5,908 unreached peoples by the year 1990! (see page 57 for the latter). p. 62: Another editorial on an early letterhead. p. 63: Key missions books available.
Today. Also, the theme of the Urbana student mission conference yielded signiﬁcantly to our campaign for unreached frontiers. One of our Perspectives coordinators had his book become a “Book of the day.” The article continues on page 70. p. 66: Our ﬁrst announcement that we would not ask for donations once the property was paid for. p. 68: Birth of what later was called World Christian magazine. p. 69: The initial chapter of a series this whole year on Missions in the Bible. Note the announcement that my wife, Roberta, provided the cover story for Moody Monthly in the February 1980 issue. p. 70: The announcement of our outstanding degree program in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. p. 71: A unique fold-up reply form with a listing of materials on the back side. p. 72: Quite a maze of materials speciﬁcally focusing on frontiers. Vol. 2:2, February 1980 p. 73: A view from the air of the 11 university buildings plus the USCWM building in the bottom left. Mention is made of extensive interviews in both Eternity Magazine and Campus Crusade’s Worldwide Challenge. I am interviewed beginning here, cont. on p. 78. p. 74: A list of good things that have happened. For example, the president of Wycliffe wrote to all of their members urging them to contribute $15.95 to buy the campus. Note the reference to the circulation of Mission Frontiers being 15,000 at that date. p. 75: Planning for the October 1980 World Conference on Frontier Missions now includes a simultaneous student level conference. p. 76: Numbers through Deuteronomy in the second of the Missions in the Bible series. p. 77: Former staff member David Bliss brings back 33 South Africans to our January Perspectives course. Further on the Edinburgh 1980 conference. p. 78: The remainder of Mission Frontier’s interview with me. Vol. 2:3, March 1980 p. 81: We are now in dire straits: three months behind in our payments.
Volume 2, 1980
Vol. 2:1, January 1980 p. 65: Famed theologian, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, mentions our work in an article in Christianity
p. 82: I don’t understand this crude chart. p. 83: Moving the Perspectives course beyond Pasadena was a smashing success in this ﬁrst large extension. p. 84: A signiﬁcant chart showing the lack of workers among the frontier populations. p. 85: I am interviewed by Campus Crusade for their magazine. A picture of me and Dr. J. Edwin Orr. p. 86: Third installment of Missions in the Bible— Deuteronomy through II Kings. Vol. 2:4, April 1980 p. 89: Celebration of three years of existence. p. 90: Absolutely crucial to the future ﬁnancial stability of this project is the acquisition of 93 residential properties for $3.2 million. But to do that, $625,000 would be needed in two months. (In 2004 those properties were worth $40 million.) Will we make it? p. 91: In April 1980 momentum is growing for the October World Conference on Frontier Missions in Edinburgh, Scotland. p. 92: Here in two pages is the ﬁrst half of Roberta’s Moody Monthly cover story: “The Non-Essentials of Life.” The Moody editors debated a long time before printing this article on simple lifestyle! p. 94: The fourth installment in Missions in the Bible, including a simple chart portraying the entire Old Testament. Through Chronicles and Nehemiah, the children of Israel get a better glimpse of their mission. Vol. 2:5, May 1980 p. 97: We sponsored the ﬁrst Southern California Annual Missions Festival. p. 98: A three-page reprint of a superb interview by England’s leading Evangelical magazine. p. 101: The second half of Roberta’s Moody Monthly cover story, “The Non-Essentials of Life.” p. 103: Missions in the Bible, ﬁfth installment. p. 104: A passionate plea for help. Thirty days to the most crucial deadline in the acquisition of the entire campus. Vol. 2:6, June 1980 p. 105: 700 turn out for our third anniversary. Amazing program. p. 106: A two-page chart of our ﬁve-year goals in three dimensions.
p. 108: Note the impact of my wife’s book, Once More Around Jericho. p. 110: Missions in the Bible, installment six. Vol. 2:7, July 1980 p. 113: Just about the worst crisis we ever faced: Here and at the bottom of page 115—gain or lose $3 million. Curious but true. p. 115: The upper part of this page recounts some amazing achievements thus far and proposes a new “advances” program allowing people and churches to advance (and later retrieve) larger gifts. p. 117: 7th Installment of Missions in the Bible, this time with even more diagrams. p. 118: An out and out pitch for readers to become “Macro-missionaries” as we are in Pasadena, behind the scenes but vital to the cause. Vol. 2:8, August 1980 p. 121: Faltering at the world level—a huge Lausanne-sponsored conference in Thailand reveals some disparate ideas of how to go forward, and the tragic fact that this accurately represents the mainsteam of Evangelicalism. But also, God DID help us over that enormous hurdle of needing $200,000 in two months to save $3 million. p. 122: The work of the Zwemer Institute (for Muslim outreach). p. 123: Report on the Annual Missions Festival. Also, the ofﬁcial announcement of the studentlevel companion conference at the Edinburgh meeting (see also on page 125). p. 124: More on the impasse at the Thailand congress. More on the way Bill Bright and Billy Graham both stepped in to help us. p. 125: Now, comparing the Thailand conference with, “our” world-level conference scheduled only four months away to meet at Edinburgh, Scotland, the World Consultation on Frontier Missions. Note the differences! p. 126: 8th installment of Missions in the Bible. Vol. 2:9, September 1980 p. 129: On a return visit to his mission ﬁeld in Irian Jaya, what does Don Richardson ﬁnd? Good things, hope, and land encroachment! A quick survey of eight global level mission meetings. Some good, some not so good.
p. 130: Are we in a renewal of the Student Volunteer Movement? Financial update. p. 131: Here and on p. 132 is a detailed new yearlong plan whereby a congregation can imbue its people with World Christian vision. p. 134: 9th installment of Missions in the Bible: The shock waves of Jesus’ concerns. Vol. 2:10, October 1980 p. 137: The Hindu challenge, running through three pages, is the most stubborn of all remaining major blocs. This article spells out why. As promised in the previous issue, here is a full blown survey of ﬁve of the major global mission conferences and details of the most important one still to come, The World Conference on Frontier Missions, in November at Edinburgh, Scotland. p. 138: Letters from donors who shared materials with friends. The box score reports 18,560 donors to date. p. 139: An “urgent” letter reporting our status and asking for help. p. 140: Perspectives course taught in India. p. 141: Foursquare Mission Board accepts the challenge of reaching 100 Hidden People groups. Vol. 2:11, November 1980 p. 145: An astounding September 19 list of over 150 mission agencies already planning to participate on November 27 in Edinburgh. (194 ﬁnally came to the conference, sending 270 delegates). p. 146: 10th installment of Missions in the Bible. Negative reactions to the Gospel. p. 149: Presenting the concept of congregations “Adopting a Hidden People.” p. 150: An editorial reporting that “last Friday our property doubled and our net worth tripled.” p. 151: Announcement: $100,000 gift to assist the Edinburgh conference. This will enable a number of smaller agencies from India and other places to attend. p. 153: The great impact of motion picture ﬁlms. Now 18,883 donors. p. 154: The amazing story of Robert Wilder and the Student Volunteer Movement—running through the next three pages. p. 157: The Hmong people aided the U. S. military in Vietnam, but faced genocide after the U.S. pulled out. Now, 88 young Hmong believers 15-
22 years old converged on our campus for a 5-day conference. p. 158: 11th installment of Missions in the Bible, Acts. Vol. 2:12, December 1980 p. 161: Finally, the amazing Edinburgh 1980 conference has past and here is a complete report. p. 162: This editorial lists the entire history of our obligations and actual payments. p. 165: A full page on the student conference at Edinburgh 1980. They pledged themselves to three major proposals. One, a bulletin, has grown into what is now called the International Journal of Frontier Missions (www.ijfm.org). p. 166: The wording of the pledge adopted by the student conference. p. 167: Announcing a “World Brieﬁng Conference” to be held on campus just after New Year’s Day. Box score: Now 19,209 donors. p. 170: Final installment of Missions in the Bible. p. 172: How you can help spread the vision.
Volume 3, 1981
Vol. 3:1, January 1981 p. 173: This January issue is a complete rundown of all four major divisions of the Center. p. 174: An earnest plea for people to help us spread the vision p. 175: An ofﬁcial announcement of Charter Membership in the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). This was two years before we realized that our membership in the IFMA (Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association) urged their member missions not to duplicate things this way. p. 176: Our most important division, Mission Strategy, a relationship mainly with mission agencies. p. 177: Twenty four new staff added in 1980 are pictured here and on pages 179, 181, 182 and 185. p. 178: Our Mission Mobilization Division, a relationship mainly with students and congregations. p. 180: Our Mission Training Division, a relationship mainly with students but also congregations and agencies. p. 182: Our Mission Services Division. p. 184: Box Score of donations at this point.
p. 185: God’s Call To You. p. 188: Four years after its founding, course offerings at the university. Vol. 3:2, February 1981 p. 189: Two things of special note in this issue: Beginning here, an important ﬁve-page article describing the three distinctly different Protestant “Eras of Missions” in the last two centuries. A staggering diagram, see page 191. p. 191: This amazing diagram plots our “Net Worth” in just four years as rising from zero to $5 million! It also portrays the growth of our central staff from three to 62, and all-center workers from zero to 207. p. 197: On this and the next page the hard facts about Hindus, Muslims, Chinese and Tribals. Vol. 3:3, March 1981 p. 201: Announcing a way to become a “daily” World Christian–the Loose Change Fellowship. p. 202: Editorial on the latest letterhead showing ten entities in our worldwide network of Centers for World Mission, 37 “Consultants” and 32 organizations and departments under four main Divisions. p. 203: Eighteen recent important visitors. p. 204: Three pages: March 1981 and the ﬁrst formal announcement of the Loose Change Fellowship, a means of becoming a “daily” World Christian. How to form a local group. p. 205: The goal of a million people saving loose change for frontier missions by the end of the year no less! (Overly optimistic). p. 207: An illuminating four-page letter that was sent out to all 20,000 recipients of Mission Frontiers. Tackles head-on the most searching and delicate questions people have raised. p. 208: A synopsis of our highly unusual selflimitation to asking for only a small, onetime gifts and the intent to return or reassign eventually all larger gifts. p. 209: Our strategy with just small gifts—other agencies will help? p. 210: But the loose change won’t go to the Center! p. 211: Christian RV’ers help very strategically. Vol. 3:4, April 1981 p. 217: The intentional murder of Chet Bitterman in Colombia shocked the mission world.
p. 218: Editorial: Our plan to enlist other mission agencies in a nationwide Loose Change Fellowship. Would they help? p. 220: Letter about Chet Bitterman from Wycliffe Bible Translators. p. 221: Don Richardson writes a brilliant threepage article regarding Chet’s murder, explaining the campaign of many anthropologists against mission work. Vol. 3:5, May-June 1981 p. 227: The cover story is a remarkable and simpliﬁed description of the unﬁnished task in only two pages. It was ﬁrst published in TEAM’s college-student magazine, Wherever. p. 228: Eleven photos tell of the “10k race” we sponsored. p. 230: A marvelously simple diagram described the unﬁnished task. p. 231: Our best diagram yet: “The World in Missionary Perspective.” p. 233: Announcing our Christian Leaders Institute of International Studies (especially for pastors and mission executives). p. 234: Radiant letters coming in full of creative ways of spreading vision about the state of missions and unreached peoples (and our ﬁnancial need). Vol. 3:6, July 1981 p. 239: We now receive a letter giving a near deadline for foreclosure. We need $300,000 by July 15, just a few days away. See my plea to our supporters: A three-page handwritten letter printed in full! p. 242: The formation of the Theological Students for Frontier Missions (TSFM)—hampered by the decision to restrict board and staff membership to current students. Lived until the students graduated. p. 243: Announcement of a goal of $100 million per year for missions through a network of the Loose Change Fellowship. Also, listeners respond to our new daily radio broadcast. p. 244: Announcement of the Vision Partner plan and kit. p. 245: How and why to start a “Loose Change” Frontier Mission Fellowship in your local church. p. 246: A huge two-page diagram of a selfexpanding campaign of vision spreading involving
many congregations and agencies, which would touch one million people in nine months—and then year after year generate an extra $100 million for frontier missions! p. 247: Why did it not work? Because we promoted it partly for our own beneﬁt. Will it work if we do not stand to gain? Yes. Are we going to try it again? Yes. We have most recently called it our “Million Person Campaign.” p. 248: For the ﬁrst time, a complete organizational chart of both the USCWM and the related university. p. 249: A heart-felt letter from one of our staff to a hypothetical person in an unreached people explaining why the Gospel has not yet gotten to them—because rich Christians don’t know or don’t care and spend their money on other things. Vol. 3:7, August 1981 p. 255: Cover story is a typical, enthusiastic, offthe-cuff talk given by me at our regular Thursday evening meeting. p. 257: A chart and a detailed table showing the sober facts of our ﬁnancial situation, past and present. p. 259: A map of the USA showing cities where individuals have responded to our Frontier Fellowship program—daily prayer and giving loose change to some mission for unreached peoples. p. 260: Written by a professional writer: The outlines of the new plan to engage other mission agencies in the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship. p. 261: A global map showing 21 “sister centers” and 41 former staff with whom we were in touch around the world. p. 265: A report on the Annual Mission Festival and the new “Christian Leaders Institute of International Studies.” p. 266: Two facing pages portray in full size two pages from what later was called The Global Prayer Digest. Vol. 3:8, Sept-Oct 1981 p. 271: A group photo of more than 50 of our staff in Pasadena. p. 273: Brief reports from the four divisions of the USCWM: Mission Strategy, Mission Mobilization, Mission Training, and Mission Services.
p. 274: A two-page presentation of the Frontier Fellowship movement designed to reach a million people. p. 276: A two-page article from Christianity Today is reprinted here with 19 errors pointed out. p. 278: A ﬁve-page article describing two hypothetical plans to secure the campus (plans A and B), plus our plan C, which we pursued. Vol. 3:9, Nov-Dec 1981 p. 287: An astounding statement on the cover! p. 288: Chart on two pages showing progress. Spectacular! p. 289: List of eight mission agencies that offered to assist us in ﬁnding the million people. p. 290: Two pages: Five available materials to assist a church with the Frontier Fellowship. p. 292: Seven “unbelievable” statements about global mission progress. p. 293: Announcement of the Urbana conference in 1981, which was just around the corner.
Volume 4, 1982
Vol. 4:1, Jan-Feb 1982 p. 304: Editorial describing where we stood ﬁnancially. p. 305: Summary of our $15.95 policy and its larger strategy. p. 308: More on the $15.95 plan. p. 309: Thirteen pages and 30 photos, describe the work and the staff of the Center for World Mission and the William Carey International University. p. 316: Two pages describing the visionary $100 million campaign we sought to launch (as of 2004 still not launched). p. 322: Four pages of thumbnail sketches of 23 organizations on our campus. p. 326: Announcement of the ﬁrst major text for the Perspectives course, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Over 600,000 in print by 2004, 862 pages, 70 Authors. Vol. 4:2, Mar-April 1982 p. 327: Cover theme: Students and the Great Commission. p. 328: Two pages: Who runs this place? An editorial on that subject.
p. 331: Recommending the “Chariots of Fire” motion picture. p. 332: Two pages: Description of a unique plan for adding $100 million per year to the cause of missions via daily prayer sponsored by many organizations. p. 334: Two pages: The testimony of a college student who got ten units of credit for working here in a “Service Internship.” p. 336: Two pages: How to organize a regional student mission conference—the seventh year in Pasadena for Southern California. p. 338: Three pages: A report on the burgeoning National Student Mission Coalition (NSMC), a list of 28 colleges and seminaries where chapters already existed. Vol. 4:3, May 1982 p. 343: Cover picture of Dr. Virgil Olson, new president of the William Carey International University. p. 344: Five mission agencies now cooperating in the nationwide Frontier Fellowship. How to use the Daily Prayer Guide (now the Global Prayer Digest). p. 345: The deﬁnition of “Frontier Missions” is compared to “Regular Missions.” p. 346: What is strange and new about the U.S. Center for World Mission. p. 348: Two pages: Background of Virgil and Carol Olson in missions. Most recently for seven years heading up a denominational mission board. p. 350: Dr. Olson speaks for himself and his vision for the William Carey International University. p. 352: Two pages: Introducing our Institute of Chinese Studies (later relocated to Wheaton). Vol. 4:4, June 1982 p. 355: Cover picture of Cameron Townsend, founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, who died a month before. p. 356: Four things we “screamed” about other than money. p. 357: This issue is a run-down of six dimensions of our energies here: The Center, Students, Schools, Agencies, Churches, and the growing nationwide Loose Change Frontier Fellowship. p. 358: Two pages: An aerial photograph of our campus plus six functions it performs.
p. 359: The incredible story of “The little man from Burma” and the development of the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship as an equivalent to the custom of a “handful of rice” for missions in his land. p. 360: Two pages: A complete graphic update on the past and future payments on the campus. p. 362: Two pages: The remarkable career of Cameron Townsend. p. 364: Two pages: Report: “With the Students.” p. 366: Two pages: Report: “With the Schools,” a table of summer mission courses at seven schools. p. 368: Two pages: Report: “With the Agencies,” a fascinating swell of interest in frontier missions. p. 370: Five pages: Report: “With the Churches,” how a congregation can develop frontier mission vision. p. 372: Two pages: An interview with Paul Cedar, pastor of a mega church in Pasadena, California. p. 374: Ten mission agencies and denominations cooperating in the nationwide Frontier Fellowship, with goals exceeding $3 million per year. p. 375: Two pages: Report: “With the Frontier Fellowship,” a description of how this campaign works. Vol. 4:5, July 1982 p. 379: Cover theme: We want to list the many miracles and near miracles that by this date had paid more than $4 million toward the properties. p. 380: How it happens that we face foreclosure on the property. p. 382: Eleven astounding events and accomplishments which we deem evidence of God being behind us in this project. p. 383: Progress with the Frontier Fellowship, adoption by eleven agencies. p. 384: Why Billy Graham’s report on his Moscow trip was badly misunderstood by reporters. p. 385: Three pages: 28 important mission conferences in 1982, thumbnail sketches. p. 388: Two pages: Chair of the Theological Commission of what is now called the World Evangelical Association, Bruce Nichols, in an extended interview about a rare mission-oriented WEA conference. p. 390: Two page photocopy of a Time Magazine review of a frontier mission book! The twovolume World Christian Encyclopedia.
p. 392: The US director of OMF speaks from his heart about the relationship of a mission agency and a local congregation. Vol. 4:6, Aug-Sept 1982 p. 395: A full-page portrait of the immensely signiﬁcant 20th century missiologist, Donald A. McGavran, chair of our board of directors. p. 396: The cliff-hanging question we face: Will other agencies rally to help us? p. 398: Two pages: McGavran speaks on the crucial difference between “Frontier Missions” and “International Domestic Missions.” p. 400: Two pages: Dialogue with McGavran on the frontiers of mission. p. 402: Two pages: The most up to date diagram and complete ﬁnancial report of our overall situation. p. 404: Speculating about how the next 39 months will roll out if our small-gift campaign succeeds. Twelve million for us, over 100 million for other agencies. p. 406: A truly astonishing collection of 67 photos of missionaries working on (or related to) our campus, from 64 mission agencies, 40 countries and with 1,339 (average 20) years of mission service. p. 409: Three pages: Sample pages from “Parade of the Nations,” a new research document produced here showing the status of evangelization (and 19 other factors) for over 100 countries. Vol. 4:7, Oct-Nov 1982 p. 415: This issue of Mission Frontiers describes an incredible milestone in the history of missions in the USA in the 20th Century. Here you can see (two years after the important Edinburgh 1980 World Consultation on Frontier Missions) that both of the two large U.S. associations of mission agencies, IFMA and EFMA, focused seriously at their annual meetings on the Unreached Peoples vision! p. 418: Two pages with diagrams and numbers describing the Frontier Fellowship campaign and our tight ﬁnancial update. p. 420: Three pages describing the IFMA conference, its ofﬁcial news release and “Declaration” placing all 84 member missions squarely in the Unreached Peoples camp! p. 423: Two pages: Now the EFMA missions meet and also highlight Unreached Peoples. p. 425: Choice excerpts from McGavran’s address at the EFMA meeting.
p. 426: Excerpts from my talk (the opening address) at the simultaneous IFMA conference. p. 429: An interview with Greg Livingstone, at this time a young executive representing the North Africa Mission, on our staff part time as Director of Mission Agency relations. Vol. 4:8, December 1982 p. 435: The cover picture of Cliff Holland symbolizes why this project holds greater promise for the future of missions than any other. It has to do with “Transforming mission ﬁelds into mission bases.” p. 436: A newer picture of me! (Compare page 416) p. 438: Two pages: A campus payment update and the rationale of our “peculiar” approach. p. 440: Four pages describing both the colossal importance and also the profound difﬁculty of older missions shifting gears to assisting ﬁeld converts to organize their own mission societies. p. 443: Three pages: An interview with Cliff Holland and his new Central America Institute of Missiology, a crucial key to missionaries being sent out from mission ﬁelds. p. 446: A small new local church was raising $400 per month from offerings of loose change. That was the congregation the pastor of which was Rick Love—now International Director of Frontiers, Inc. with close to a thousand missionaries in the Islamic world.
by Ralph D. Winter
his book bursts with actual facts, good and bad, recorded at the very moment they occurred. They don’t always tell why we were doing what we were doing. At the time we began breathlessly reporting in these pages of Mission Frontiers —every step forward in an almost hopeless effort—we did not stop to explain why we were willing to take on so great a risk. That story is also intriguing. Furthermore, the events underlying the decision to assail that challenge must certainly be of keen interest. From what did this impassioned effort arise? There is little question that none of this would have happened had Donald A. McGavran and Alan Tippett not been called by Fuller Theological Seminary in 1965 to found the Fuller School of World Mission. For ten years, from 1966, I was a witness to what that move meant, since I was the ﬁrst additional faculty member appointed, arriving in the new school’s second year. The worldwide respect McGavran had already gained drew students rapidly and the school soon possessed the largest missiological faculty and student body in the world. It became one of few such schools that, for its ﬁrst ten years, limited its enrollment to missionaries with at least three years of ﬁeld experience, plus only a handful of overseas church leaders who might be interested in the Great Commission. For me, those ten years on the faculty were a surge of additional understanding of global missions, based on and adding to my own previous ten years as a missionary to a group of Mayan Indians in the highlands of Guatemala. The new school was a growing beehive of serious thinking and critical evaluation of missionary methods and strategies. It was great! Those years were full of gushing insight and ﬂoods of information from every corner of the earth. A thousand missionaries passed through my classes while I was busy researching, evaluating and teaching about the major moves forward of the Christian faith in the last 2,000 years. I taught “The Historical Development of the Christian Movement,” a course title which, after I left in late 1976, has been retained ever since (mainly by Dr. Paul Pierson) for 28 more years as of this writing.
I. Where did this all come from?
INEVITABLY, however, all these new insights illuminated new opportunities, obstacles and problems which cried out to be taken into account as soon as possible.
The Impossible Challenge
However, a school as a school was not quite the proper place for idea-implementation. Furthermore, I have considered myself a scholar-activist. Even before the Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission existed I had been drawn to problem solving. When I moved from my Caltech background in engineering to Cornell for a doctorate in linguistics, anthropology and mathematical statistics, people said, “Why are you leaving engineering?” I answered, “I am moving from civil engineering to social engineering.” When, after that degree, I then completed theological seminary I told people I was moving “from social engineering to Christian social engineering.” When I became a missionary I was now in Christian mission engineering. Thus, for me, there had to be an indissoluble connection between the new ideas of serious academic inquiry and the engineering or implementation of those ideas out in the real world, if only to test them rather than mindlessly teaching them. By 1976 I had ten years of teaching at Fuller behind me, plus ten years as a ﬁeld missionary before that, and ten years of graduate study before that. I was now spring-loaded to take all these new insights, to get back out to grasp the new opportunities they illuminated, and in general to deal with the real problems impeding the progress of the Christian mission. In order to make my next move seem more feasible, a move out of a superb school into the wilderness of an untried implementation, I will list a few of the real-world projects in which I had already been involved, speaking biographically. This will enable a better understanding of what I have done since—things that never had easily ﬁtted into the daily schedule of a heavily loaded professor. The following events, then, essentially deﬁne the purpose of, and the need for, the U.S. Center for World Mission, the William Carey International University, and the underlying mission society, the Frontier Mission Fellowship. 1. The astonishing need is the call A ﬁrst hint illuminating the ultimate break in 1976 from teaching at Fuller to the attempt to start the Center and University, I would characterize as an in-depth, day after day, immersion experience which occurred years earlier in 1945-46, right after graduating from Caltech and getting out of the Second World War. I was 21. During that academic year during which I was teaching as well as studying, I was exposed to the daily chapels at Westmont College, in which a different ministry was highlighted each day. I was soon overwhelmed by the impression that many jobs were going unﬁlled in the full-time Christian cause. Having been trained in engineering I began to wonder just how badly the world needed one more civil engineer. I wondered what in the Christian global cause might need “engineering.” Could I be of more use there?
At that time a number of things began to appear on the horizon. My life since that time at Westmont has been essentially one of seeking to engineer solutions for a series of problems related to the global mission of the Church. My immediate point here is that the “engineering” of problems was something that could be conceived of in classroom teaching at Fuller (or elsewhere), but once conceived could not as readily be implemented by a full-time professor or in a school setting. 2. Project in Afghanistan From that brief post-college Westmont experience I went for a year of (in my mind) further “laymen’s training” to Princeton Theological Seminary. I was now almost 23. While at Princeton I realized the need for more efﬁcient language training in the mission world. Also, during that year arose a clear example of what cannot be done in a classroom, namely the initiative I took in founding a movement of Evangelicals to teach English in Afghanistan. That seed, once planted, became a large enterprise with now a 50-year tradition, the current name being the International Assistance Mission. It now draws on many countries to provide assistance in Afghanistan. 3. An unfulﬁlled vision A third antecedent would be a project that is to this day unfulﬁlled. After that one-year stint at Princeton, another year at the brand new Fuller Theological Seminary on the West Coast, and a brief period up and down the Atlantic seaboard, assisting the establishment of the Afghan Institute of Technology, I wanted to pursue the missionary language problem. For that reason I did doctoral studies in linguistics, anthropology and mathematical statistics at Cornell (1951 to 1953). I had conceived the idea of systematically exposing language students to two artiﬁcial languages, one which would employ the familiar grammar of the student’s own language while borrowing in the strange words of the language to be learned, that is, the nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The second, at the same time, doing the opposite, that is, using the familiar vocabulary of the student’s own language while employing the grammar of the language being learned. Once again, neither studying for classes nor even teaching classes would allow so complicated an engineering project. Before I even achieved the Ph.D. at Cornell I had determined to go back to seminary and ﬁnish up, be ordained, and be a fulltime missionary rather than a lay tentmaker in Afghanistan. I was now 33. This then led to a ten-year period in Guatemala and many different incidents of implementation. One stands out above all others. 4. Selecting and training the right people A fourth antecedent to the event of my moving away from Fuller was my long standing involvement with others in the engineering of a worldwide move to
The Impossible Challenge
the extension training of pastors. Theological Education by Extension is the name of a 600-page book which I edited in 1969, while at Fuller, describing the developments along this line during my experience in Guatemala. By now I was almost 45. Before moving to teach at Fuller, and just before leaving Guatemala, I was elected the Executive Director of the Northern Latin American Association of Theological Schools, encompassing the 17 Latin American countries north of the equator. One of my main jobs in that role, as I saw it, was promoting the idea that the best future pastors, and the individuals most strategically to be trained, were not the penniless youth who inhabit most theological schools around the world, but the seasoned, tested and gifted believers in local congregations who, with families and jobs, really can’t pick up and go off to seminary. The idea of reaching out to precisely such “unclassroomable” but tried and true, gifted local leaders soon took me around the world speaking to seminary leaders of over 500 schools in a trip sponsored by the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association. Other speakers were similarly sponsored in other years. This “better way to ﬁnd gifted pastors” thus sprouted wings and became a global movement training, at its peak, over 100,000 local leaders for ordination. The brightest example of the impact of this idea is an organization in India which enrolls, part time, over 6,000 outstanding local leaders (often professionals) and is generating a whole new breed of congregations (often large). The implementation of this idea is still going on, involving as it does, an enormous institutional shift in the concept of ﬁnding and training pastors, for the USA or anywhere else. Once again, such an idea could be taught in the classroom, and was, but could not be implemented in class. It needed to be pursued outside of class, even if the implementation was to create a new school that would operate on such principles. 5. Publish the vision! Another antecedent to the founding of the USCWM was again something which was revealed by teaching but needed engineering and thus was not the usual activity of a professor. It was the founding of an essentially non-proﬁt book publishing ﬁrm that would focus exclusively on books of strategic value to missionaries and people interested in missions. Fuller’s mature missionary students were generating 40 book manuscripts per year full of insights and ideas that cried out to be shared around the world with other missionaries. Soon I was encouraged by the mission faculty to look into this. In 1969, seven years before leaving Fuller, a tiny publishing company was formed called the William Carey Library. People scoffed at the
idea of publishing just books of relevance to missions. “You won’t sell more than 500 a year,” they said. Today this project sells 75,000 books a year, has published 400 titles in its own name, and draws books from over 80 other publishers, all of which are available at one address (1-800-MISSION, or www.WCLBooks.com) at a signiﬁcant discount. Again, this kind of publishing activity could be conceived in the classroom, and its existence certainly enhances the classroom, but is not an idea effectively implemented by a teaching professor—unless somehow that professor’s wife and family would be willing to do the work, which was, in fact, the case. My ﬁrst wife, Roberta, and four daughters literally had to be involved. The William Carey Library is today one of the most important ministry arms of the U. S. Center for World Mission. 6. Scholars of mission comparing notes A sixth antecedent to the break was the need, ﬁrst voiced by Fuller president David Hubbard, that for missions to be considered a respectable academic activity, the world of missions needed both a scholarly society and a scholarly journal, without which a doctoral degree in the ﬁeld of missions was inappropriate. Thus, in 1972, I wrested time from my teaching schedule to take an important role in the founding of the American Society of Missiology. That society now has a respected journal, called Missiology, an International Review, started the next year. It was ghost published for its ﬁrst six years by the William Carey Library Publishers. I was the defacto business manager of the journal for its ﬁrst six years, as well as secretary of the society for the ﬁrst three. But efforts to launch this society and this journal did not sit well with the administration at Fuller, even though such efforts were clearly essential to the developing academic ﬁeld of mission studies (e.g., missiology). That kind of activity simply was not what professors are supposed to do. 7. Gather mission leaders globally A seventh antecedent to the USCWM was a proposal in 1972, at the ﬁrst meeting of the American Society of Missiology, of a world-level congress on missions like the one in 1910. My involvement began while still at Fuller but crested after the Center was founded. The organizing meetings were held on our campus here in Pasadena, but the meeting itself ﬁnally took place in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1980 where the 1910 meeting was held. Since 1910 there had never been another meeting on the world level of just mission people. To this meeting 70 years later came the largest number of Third-World mission leaders ever to gather in one place. Due to the 1980 meeting, The World Consultation on Frontier Missions, the concept of unreached peoples now rapidly became an issue of global awareness. Fifty members of our USCWM staff were involved at the meeting mostly
The Impossible Challenge
behind the scenes. This type of thing could not have been accomplished while I was still a faculty member at Fuller. 8. Helping young people to see the world from God’s perspective A very signiﬁcant event had occurred in December of 1973, when an unforeseen and totally unprecedented surge in young people at Urbana signed cards indicating their willingness to be foreign missionaries. To make a long story short, even though still at Fuller, I organized a summer study program to assist some of those card signers in ﬁnding their way forward. This study program, which today is called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, enrolls more than 6,000 per year in well over a 150 locations in this country. It is widely used in other languages and countries as well. This project began while I was still at Fuller but is not the kind of thing that is normally pursued by a teaching professor. It has built up its strength today (in touching so many thousands) not from teaching activities but from “engineering” activities—careful, long standing administrative care. 9. Employing the university tradition more efﬁciently While still teaching at Fuller I became aware of a student from India who arrived at Fuller with a three-year M.Div. graduate degree behind him. He then worked for two more years at Fuller to fulﬁll the requirements of the “M.Th.” degree (unknown outside of seminaries, the degree underlying a doctorate). He unexpectedly petitioned to be given an M.A. degree instead! Fuller’s registrar protested that he must not have understood that he had arrived at Fuller with a degree more advanced than an M.A. but those of us on the mission faculty explained that in India no one knew what an M.Th. was, while an M.A. degree was widely known and respected. He ﬁnally got the M. A. he wanted plus a letter saying he had earned an M.Th. and could have it whenever he wanted it. In much of the world there is little signiﬁcance for an M.Th. degree. But I got to thinking, mission studies crucial to missionaries working around the world need to result in standard degree names, not letters no one has ever heard of. Even the name of the school, “seminary,” does not sound good to some government ofﬁcials. What was needed was a genuine university offering the standard B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, not M.Div., M.Th, D. Min, or D.Miss. degrees, as most seminaries still do. Seminaries also need to change their names so as to become universities, as some are now doing. It is a cardinal principle of missionary work to “speak the language of the native.” Many countries are requiring ever higher degrees for those who come to work in their countries. The only social pattern as widely spread in the world today as the Christian church is the university tradition, which is the child of Christianity. Did I need to leave a school in order to start a school? Apparently. Thus, in buying a campus we also had in mind the great need for at least one full-ﬂedged, ac-
credited university owned and operated by missionaries, able to give B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, and able to work at a distance in view of the fact that missionaries cannot break stride for years on end to attend schools in the USA. Furthermore, national leaders, whether pastors, seminary professors, or lay people, ought not to have to break out of their societies for such long periods of overseas schooling. Many of them in such cases are no longer well ﬁtted to return to their home countries. Worse still, some USA schools are quite willing to take the husband away from an overseas family for a year or more. My background was in extension training, now called distance education. The super-important factor for me is whether or not you can achieve exactly the same educational results by working at a distance. You can certainly get through to far superior leaders that way. Is it better to give a ﬁrst-class education to second-class unknowns, or a second-class education to time-proven leaders? Actually, distance education is not necessarily second class. Our thought here has been to set an example to other schools of what can be done, not to try to attract all students to us, and certainly not to urge everyone to come to the USA to study. It is amazing how working faithfully within the bounds of educational formalities a very great deal more can be done for the cause of missions than the ordinary school located in the USA is doing. Our very unusual “integrated” curriculum (in which we have already invested more than $1 million) is being used now in other schools, giving theological education, mission history and the global presence of the Christian movement their due. Programs at Biola University, Azusa Paciﬁc University and other places are headed up by our graduates or by members of our fellowship. We have attained the pinnacle of California State recognition and are working steadily but surely toward the much more meticulous private recognition called “regional accreditation.” Our Perspectives textbook is used in more than 100 other schools and more than 600,000 are in print. Much more could be said about other things we have been able to do because we are not merely a school. Let’s shift now to the key events of our beginning on this campus—especially the part of our story prior to the period described in these early pages of our Mission Frontiers Bulletin.
II. When things really got going
AS PRESSURE BUILT to make allowance somehow for more effective implementation of new mission perspectives, I convened a small discussion group from time to time during 1975 and 1976, meeting in the faculty lounge at Fuller. It was usually from six to ten people. My personal journal records who attended and what ideas were discussed. Gradually the idea emerged of the need for a legally separate major mission center that could be in some ways a functional annex to
The Impossible Challenge
the School of World Mission at Fuller. Various faculty members, even the Fuller Provost, Glen Barker, often attended these meetings along with people from World Vision. In the fall of 1976, in giving the opening address at the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, I actually mentioned the impelling need for such a major research and implementation center. By that time, however, while I could not go into details, plans were pretty far along. The ﬁnal step In the late spring, for example, I had ﬁnally gathered up my courage to pay a visit to the Nazarene district headquarters just below the campus on Washington Boulevard. There I met Paul Beneﬁel who was the District Superintendent at that time, but who was also a member of the college board. He listened sympathetically to my thoughts about the future of the campus. This was a Friday. I was astounded to hear that the full college board of about 40 people was to meet the very next day, Saturday, and would be deciding yes or no to rent the campus for the next two years to an Eastern cult, and that the document to be signed included an option to buy the property at the end of that period. Dr. Beneﬁel explained that many Nazarenes were quite opposed to such an organization leasing or buying the campus, and that the board was almost evenly divided on the issue. Yet, the college direly needed the money. After this personal conversation I was quite perplexed. Beneﬁel called me on Sunday and said he could not tell me the result of the board decision for another couple days but that he thought I would be pleased. At that point in history, of course, I was not in a position to rent or buy the property. I was simply a professor with no donor backing, and soon without a salary. I simply believed it was a solid, even if far out, possibility to rally Evangelicals to such a cause. What he told me two days later was that the board had arrived at a Solomonic decision. They knew I could not put up even a single month’s rent at that point. Thus, half of the board was molliﬁed by the decision to go ahead and lease it to the cult for the next two years. The other half of the board was pleased to gain enough votes to cross out the paragraph about handing the cult an option to buy. That left the door open a crack for us. I was elated. He also told me that they would convene the Executive board (about eight out of the full membership of about 40) to talk to me speciﬁcally about my hopes. This meeting would be in Sacramento, California. The nitty gritty By the time I arrived at that meeting I had some more detailed thoughts myself. After explaining my novel purpose for the campus (for both an implementation Center and a unique new university), I made three requests:
1. I said we were not interested in trying to buy the whole thing unless they stopped selling off the off-campus houses. 2. I asked for some free space on the campus so we could raise money during the next two years from a position on the campus itself. 3. In view of our overseas mission purposes I asked for a million dollar reduction in the price. They listened sympathetically to my ideas for the campus, and a bit dubiously to my expectation of the willingness of 40 million Evangelicals to help us buy it. They did agree to stop selling off houses. They did allow us, for $100 a month, a small portion of the property that had not been leased to the cult. And, the president said they would probably be willing to reduce the price for the kind of organization we were. This latter point was apparently something to which the full board later objected because later we could not persuade them to lower the price. The campus proper would be $8.5 million and the additional off-campus houses would be another $1.28 million. The down payment would be $1.5 million, later split into two halves, $850,000 one year and $650,000 the second. The “impossible challenge” In my preface earlier in this book I said, “In taking the initiative in 1976 to found the Center, I have never in my life felt so clearly drawn by the living God to make such a radical decision, either before or since.” On the other hand it was perfectly obvious to everyone that this was an almost impossible challenge, since I had no denominational or organizational backing, no experience in fundraising, etc. To most people it was clearly impossible. Some of my best friends privately talked to members on my initial founding board of ﬁve members urging them to get off the board lest they become embroiled in the legal consequences of the inevitable failure of so rash a plan. It is also true that at one point I wondered why most of my best friends in the ministry would not say one word that might have encouraged me to take the plunge. Finally, since the whole thing was admittedly a very long shot, I realized that obviously they did not want to be blamed for my doing something so risky, so stupid. Many got around to asking, “How does your wife feel about this?” In that dimension, however, I had every encouragement even if somewhat dazed belief. One of my daughters said, “Daddy, we have to do this even if we have to eat cardboard.” I look back on those moments of decision as almost a dream. Taking the plunge November 1, 1976, was my ﬁrst day no longer with Fuller. November 5th we incorporated the USCWM, now called the Frontier Mission Fellowship (FMF), of which the USCWM is a major project. I was now almost 52.
The Impossible Challenge
In January one board member suggested that we needed to ask for an option to buy, and suggested $15,000. At that time that amount of money for us was totally unthinkable. But that board member offered to pay $5,000 if we could raise the other $10,000. A day or so later, totally out of the blue, one of the backers of one of our related entities, the Lutheran Bible Translators, hearing of our need, unhesitatingly pulled out a checkbook and on the spot wrote a check for $10,000. But when we sent this $10,000 and the $5,000 to the board, nothing happened. The cult which had been granted a lease on the campus now offered a huge amount for an option. Weeks went by. Apparently the board was divided over whether or not to cancel its promise to us in favor of the other party. A month went by, and two months. Finally, James Dobson (who had already invited me to be on his radio program) was quite unhappy with the foot dragging and I was told wrote a letter to the board suggesting that if they were to accept the cult’s higher offer for an option he would write a letter to his entire Southwest constituency pointing out that the college had gone back on its word in favor of the cult. In any case, within a couple of days we received the signed option to buy as of September 1, 1977. Now all we needed was to collect the money by that date, and we had already lost three months waiting for the option. Facing the countdown We were to lose some more time. It was April, and the deadline for the ﬁrst part of the $1.5 million downpayment, $850,000, was rapidly approaching. I, however, was unwilling to go to the public for money unless and until I could put a list of outstanding mission leaders on our letterhead. I began writing a letter weekly, ﬁrst class, to about 45 such mission leaders. One I invited was Leighton Ford of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He said he could not give his name to an advisory board but he could be listed as a consultant. This is the category we then asked of everyone else. Most of these leaders I knew personally. Thankfully, all but one agreed to be a consultant on our letterhead. You can see an early letterhead with a list of consultants on page 34. Once this group was publicly behind us we swung into action to raise the money. By now it was early June and we now had less than three months left to raise the $850,000 by September 1st. The Fellowship of Artists for Cultural Evangelism, a member agency, helped us produce an excellent brochure (see illustration). We produced this in large number and air freighted boxes all over the country. In three months we accumulated $450,000. This included $50,000 from one of the Ahmanson foundations and another $105,000 (the very day of the deadline) from the main foundation. That day was also when our tax exemption came through, and that is what enabled that second gift. But what about the missing $300,000?
Even more unlikely Our board was divided about accepting loans. We did so, however. I felt that getting a loan on a property, which was backed by collateral, was not the same as taking out a loan to fund expenses or even an unrefundable option. Two mission agencies, Campus Crusade and World Literature Crusade each lent us $100,000, and another $100,000 loan came from the same man who had given $10,000 for the option. The World Literature Crusade charged at 7% per year interest. Some money was still coming in so that we were able to pay off that loan in about three months; the other two loans did not carry interest. We then began to pay down the $100,000 from the individual and the $100,000 from Campus Crusade. But soon our time to pay the second part ($650,000) of the downpayment was drawing near! We were sorry, but greatly relieved that Campus Crusade pardoned us the last $60,000 or so of their loan. But I am now getting into the part of the story covered in the early pages of the Mission Frontiers period in the pages that follow. From the beginning I fully expected to recruit a leading mission executive to take over the whole project. Always before I had tried to locate someone else to whom I could sell an idea. This was true for the outreach to Afghanistan. That person turned out to be Christy Wilson, Jr. In the case of ACMC we found Don Hamilton to carry the ball. So also, of course, with the American Society of Missiology, which has a typical structure for a scholarly society. This was not true for several years for the William Carey Library, and my own family had to run it. Finally, for a 17 year period we found a magniﬁcent man in a former missionary, David Shaver. What’s in a name? One clariﬁcation in regard to the name, U. S. Center for World Mission. Sounds presumptuous, doesn’t it? Our original legal name simply stressed our concern for the entire world, or so we thought. It was simply World Mission Center. Early, however, some mission executives asked, “Are you trying to direct the whole world?” “No, no,” we said. “We just want the USA to be concerned for mission to the entire world. We expected other centers, independent of us, to rise up around the world (now there are over 50). We just want to express the interest of people in the USA.” So, we changed the name to the “U. S.” Center for World Mission. Oops, that still sounds presumptuous. Still later, in order more clearly to distinguish between the basic corporation we founded and the project of the U. S. Center for World Mission, we settled on the Frontier Mission Fellowship as the designation for the underlying mission society, allowing the earlier name, USCWM, to remain the name of that particular major project of the FMF.
The Impossible Challenge
Back when this whole thing was founded I always referred to myself as “Acting Director.” One day someone said to me that I was giving the impression of instability as long as I kept using that title. I had tried very hard to recruit several top executives to take over. They were very favorable to the idea but were not persuaded to take the job! Finally, I realized that the enormous millions yet to be raised was truly an obstacle to ﬁnding someone to come in and shoulder all that risk. I had underestimated that. We tried lots of things In some of our earliest efforts at fund raising we put an ad in Christianity Today headed by large letters, “Buy a piece of property in Pasadena, California for $15.” That ad cost about $3,000 but brought in over $7,000. We tried running a daily 15-minute radio program but did not have sufﬁcient professional staff to do it effectively. We ran a monthly full page in Christianity Today displaying a countdown of weeks past and ahead showing the money coming in and then most of the page giving tidbits of exciting news about the global cause of missions. Ted Engstrom of World Vision helped us as the emcee of the evening at a Pat Boone beneﬁt concert in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Pat did not charge us anything and also starred in a documentary 16mm ﬁlm without charge. Providence Mission Homes, one of our on-campus ofﬁces sponsored that concert, managed by one of our staff members, David Bliss. It netted $25,000. Key leaders befriended us Donald Hoke, who headed the new Billy Graham Center, was one of the earliest widely known mission leaders who got behind us. He allowed us to quote what he had said of our project,
The U. S. Center for World Mission is probably the single most strategic institution and movement in the world today aimed at evangelizing the two billion persons who can only be reached by cross-cultural “missionary” evangelism.
Other famous people are quoted on page 51. Many of the fascinating details in this period prior to the publication of Mission Frontiers are to be found in Roberta Winter’s exciting book, I Will Do a New Thing. In the pages that follow you have the most credible, unvarnished, blow-by-blow account of the four years of our experience following the very initial period just sketched. A phrase that came to me in the early days was,
Risks are not to be evaluated in terms of the probability of success but in terms of the value to be achieved.
This was a good description of our situation.
Was the risk worth it? We hope that as you page through those early days of our harrowing struggle it will become clear to you how worthy all that risk really was, in view of the great urgency of “centers for world mission” around the world that are watchdogs, evaluators, and promoters of global mission. Who else speaks for missions in general? Think of all the misinformation and resulting scepticism people generally have about the “foolish cause” of missions. In actual fact the work of Christian outreach to the nations of the world across the last 2,000 years has been humble, sacriﬁcial, sometimes foolish, often brilliant, but nevertheless the most inﬂuential single force in the story of humanity. In this life no one will ever know the full story. Missionaries have often, as Hebrews 11 puts it, been men and women “of whom this world was not worthy.” Indeed, for some of us, the story of the expanding Kingdom is THE story of the human race, it is THE story of the Bible, it is THE ultimate “heavenly vision” undergirding missions. In this perspective no one anywhere is doing anything truly important if it is not part of the battle to restore creation, to restore the glory of God in all the earth. From that embattled ultimate purpose there is no retirement, no absence of a call, no reason for non-involvement. It is inescapable. We live for Him or die in vain. Dear Reader HOW SIGNIFICANT will the remainder of your life be if you continue as you are? You can be sure God is calling you to do “your utmost for His highest.” Do you know what that means for you? As of this writing, we now have a fellowship of 75 families hard at work at many of the strategic opportunities which inundate us. Look closely at the next page to see the variety of functions we seek to perform. We seriously need more help. To serve with us behind the lines, within a warm fellowship of other dedicated believers is not a terribly sacriﬁcial assignment, yet it could mean more than being one more missionary. Why not get in touch with our people and discuss the possibilities? Please contact us at 626-398-2330 or email@example.com (and check out our web site at www.uscwm.org/service_opportunities). Periodically we also have a one-week “Explore” conference for people considering full time involvement in missions, with us or any other agency (see www.uscwm.org/explore). But even if you don’t tear yourself away from the work you are doing to become a “full-time” Christian worker, do you consider the job you have a holy calling? Is it just a source of income and an opportunity to witness? Or is it the most signiﬁcant kind of work you could choose to do? The founder of the Navigators, Dawson Trotman, used to say,
Don’t ever do anything others can do or will do if there are crucial things you can do which others can’t do or won’t do.
The Impossible Challenge
This diagram was drawn up in our early months. It shows outreach to the Unreached peoples of the world, and “back” reach to the church for help. In both cases the cultural diversities need to be taken very seriously and thus are separate departments that can understand the speciﬁc subworlds that exist. The Center has two divisions which correspond: Strategy and Mobilization (on this early chart it says “Resources.”) Two other supporting divisions are Training (academic—where our university ﬁts in) and Services (technical).
You have only one life to live. Why not choose something most others can’t or won’t do? Almost half of our families are not in Pasadena, California, but are in various regional centers in the USA and in several countries around the world assisting in likeminded centers, working behind the scenes in the promotion of the global cause of mission. We operate two major projects, the U. S. Center for World Mission and the William Carey International University. We need people over a very wide range of knowledge and skills. Will you pray about this opportunity?
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