CHAPTER 2. -- A HISTORY OF NATIONAL MISSIONS

12/22/16


A.                INTRODUCTION

The history of missions in the United States began with the founding of the country. In fact, there were those in England who promoted the colonization of the New World as a missionary project. Perhaps for some this was but pious fraud. However, it is clear from the record that the Pilgrims, on arrival, immediately charged one of their number with the responsibility of converting the Indians, and soon it was mandated by law that two would be given that responsibility each year. Thus, “when the Mayflower dropped anchor off Plymouth Rock, there began the most momentous missionary enterprise since the days of the Apostles.” 

Even the charters of some of the colonies stipulated that one of the primary purposes of the community would be the conversion of the Indians. Who could have predicted that from those meager beginnings National Missions were destined to become the harbinger of a larger missionary enterprise to reach around the world? 

John Eliot was clearly a national missionary in 1646. He learned the language of the Indians and translated the Scriptures into their language. He should not only be remembered as the apostle to the North American Indians but also as the morning star of the British and American missionary movement. His work and that of his son preceded by half a century the founding of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in 1701 in England. Herbert Kane suggests this is the "oldest missionary society in the English-speaking world." 

It may be further noted that David Brainerd in 1744, a century after Eliot, was also preaching to the Indians as a National Missionary. That was fifty years before William Carey, the father of modern missions, and Henry Martyn were sent to India and before the founding of the first American foreign mission board, which sponsored Adoniram Judson as a missionary to Burma. 

Between 1607 and 1732 the major Reformation Churches were all planted in the United States. However, it was not until the 1800s that those same churches developed national and foreign mission departments. Why it took nearly two centuries for them to develop organized efforts in missionary endeavor is not clear. Without question the missionary spirit of the colonial period was primarily focused on church extension and Indian missions. There appears to have been very little effort expended in evangelizing the blacks or sailors. 

The early American church was not unaware of the spiritual needs of others around them, for they sought to evangelize the fishermen of the coastal regions. Then, as the frontiers moved westward, the churches sent their missionaries to plant Sunday schools, sell gospel portions, and plant churches. 

B.                 COLONIAL CHURCH MISSIONARY ACTIVITY 

The colonial church brought over from the Old World was clearly an established or state church in most of the colonies. A long and hard-fought battle took place before the disassociation of church and state. The leaders of the churches in the Old World were in most instances very much in control of the New World churches. That may give some insight into the limited involvement in missions of the Anglican church as originally established in Jamestown, Virginia, and then throughout the South. 

Although there is record of some early education of the Indians in Virginia, after the massacre of 1622 the attitude of the colonists completely changed toward the Indians. It was not until a century after the founding of Jamestown that the Church of England formed its foreign mission board, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and proceeded to send 300 missionaries to the colonies. As Kane points out, all but 79 of those missionaries were foreign born. Their concern seemed to be primarily directed toward church planting among the colonists, but some activity was directed to the Indians and still less toward the blacks. 

The Congregational church dominated the northern colonies. Although loyal to the Church of England, the colonists' love of liberty was clearly expressed in their church government and in their missionary activity. They were not tolerant of other religious ideas but were concerned about their rights to freely live and express their own convictions. They were aware of the British fishermen who frequented the Massachusetts coast and set about to find ways to care for the moral welfare of these transients. 

Although John Eliot was not a typical New Englander of his time, he did emulate the attitude of the Congregational Church toward missions. Eliot studied the Indian language by befriending one who had been captured and who had decided to stay with the colony. This Indian accompanied Eliot on numerous preaching tours to the villages. Within six years that team was responsible for 3,600 Indian converts who were settled in fourteen villages called "Praying Towns." Eliot also translated the entire Bible into their language. This Bible became the first to be printed in the United States. 

Eliot wished to alert the church at large about the need for evangelizing the Indians. He wrote tracts that found their way to Parliament, which was impressed to form the President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England. This Society was charged with the responsibility of holding land and raising money to evangelize the Indians. The administrators of this company were the commissioners of several New England colonies 

The islands off the coast of Massachusetts were also a concern of the church. Five generations of Mayhews gave themselves to the evangelization of the Indians on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Whole families came to Christ, and by 1674 there were 1,800 Christian Indians. 

National missions were successful in eastern Massachusetts among the weaker tribes, but over a period of time the Christian Indians intermarried with the blacks and were absorbed into the larger culture of New England. The work dwindled after 1675 as a period of lethargy set in, and the end of an era came with the death of Eliot in 1690. Indian work was not revived until after the Great Awakening [1734].

C.                PRE-CIVIL WAR MISSIONARY ACTIVITY AND THE GREAT AWAKENING 

Prior to the Civil War there was a period of increased missionary activity, which had two sources. The Moravians were well known for their intense missionary activity. They came to the United States from Germany when the state Lutheran church began to persecute them for forming their own separate church. Upon arrival they immediately established industries to fund their missionary efforts among the colonists and the Indians. One historian indicates that "the prime reason why they came to America was to evangelize the Indians whose spiritual destitution had given them great concern." 

In 1741 Nicholas Zinzendorf arrived in Philadelphia to organize the various German peoples into a united church. After failing at this, he turned his attention to nurturing a most successful missionary effort among the various Indian tribes. 

Although the French and Indian War of 1755 disrupted the work, men like David Zeisberger, the best-known Moravian missionary leader, moved a group to eastern Ohio and continued to establish Christian communities. The efforts were so successful that the "churches were unable to accommodate the great numbers of Indian worshippers." Those noble efforts were almost totally destroyed by the opposing forces of the Revolutionary War. This history is preserved in an outdoor drama, "Trumpet in the Land," which plays each summer near Dover, Ohio. 

Another source of pre-Civil War missionary activity was the Great Awakening (1734). It stirred the church to again notice the spiritual needs of those who were not included in her ministry. George Whitefield accepted the burden of Charles Wesley to establish an orphanage in Georgia in 1740. The next year Henry Barclay began a work among the Indian tribes of New York. One of his congregations grew to number 500 Indians and included most of that tribe. Barclay was the most successful of sixteen Anglican missionaries working among the Indians. 

Perhaps David Brainerd is the best known of the Indian missionaries of this time. Although his ministry was short, his dedication was total. The publication of his diary was used of the Lord to encourage many to go into Christian service. It has been suggested that "Brainerd dead was a more potent influence for Indian missions and the missionary cause in general than was Brainerd alive." 

Jonathan Edwards was not only a great intellectual preacher and writer but also a successful missionary to the Indians among whom he worked at the settlement called Stockbridge. It was to his daughter that David Brainerd was engaged when he died, and it was Jonathan who had Brainerd's diary published. 

Dartmouth College was another outgrowth of the Great Awakening. Eleazer Wheelock, a revival preacher, established the college as Moor's Indian Charity School in Connecticut to train Indians and colonists for missionary service. As the Charity School developed into a college, its primary purpose was enshrined on its seal in the words "Vox Clamantis in Deserto," the "voice of one crying in the wilderness." It meant that the school was dedicated to train whites for missionary service among the Indians; however, it was not very successful in its avowed purpose. 

As the revival fires spread, concern for missions grew. In 1761 the Presbyterians fielded Samuel Kirkland, James Davenport, and Simon Horton among others to work with the Indians and blacks. The Quakers developed an extensive work with the Indians and began to voice opposition to slavery. 

D.                POST-CIVIL WAR MISSIONARY ACTIVITY AND THE 1800s 

It was not until the Second Awakening in 1786 that the nation renewed its interest in missions, and then a "great wave of enthusiasm for missions swept across the American Church." The church began to reorganize its programs. Mid-week prayer meetings were added as a stimulus to prayer, and the Sunday school was instituted for instruction in the Word of God. Numerous colleges and seminaries were established for the instruction of church leaders, and an organized missions program was initiated to reach out into the larger community. 

E.                 DENOMINATIONAL MISSIONS 

The Missionary Society of Connecticut was organized in 1798 by the state church "to Christianize the heathen of North America and to support and promote Christian knowledge in the new settlements." One by one the New England states followed this example and established their own mission organizations. Thus, New England became "the fountainhead of the broad river of national home missions." 

These mission societies took great interest in the Indians. They were given financial assistance by the federal government through its Bureau of Indian Affairs. Amazing thought in the light of current Washington speak.

Throughout the 1800s the churches developed departments of missions. At first they were national missions charged with extending the church's outreach to those who were either near by or on the frontiers. Some mission departments were responsible for both national and foreign efforts. In many churches separate boards for national and foreign activities were established. Moody Church maintained two missons conferences to keep their people informed about the total mission outreach: One for National Missionary activitiy and the other for Foreign Missionary outreach.

The Presbyterians sent Shelby Jackson to the Rocky Mountains under their home mission board to plant churches among the whites and Indians. After a successful ministry there, he was sent to Alaska. While evangelizing the Eskimos, he became aware of their dwindling food supply and was instrumental in introducing the reindeer. 

F.                 INTERDENOMINATIONAL MISSIONS 

A new innovation in missions was expanded as the nineteenth century dawned. The churches had been experimenting with interdenominational cooperation in several areas of ministry including missions. As the country grew, the churches expanded their mission programs. For instance, various denominations had founded over 100 Bible societies. In 1816 many of those were united into the American Bible Society. ABS was the first to put Bibles in hotels, a pocket version for the military and publish a Bible in an American Indian language. They also sought to "put Bibles in the hands of the destitute of all classes and conditions". ABS continues to publish the Bible in many languages mostly overseas but ceased to print Bibles in 1922. They have contracted with ICANN to operate .BIBLE domain to "accelerate global online Bible engagement". In 2015 they moved their headquarters from NYC to Philadelphia, in which is housed "the largest collection of Bibles in the Western Hemisphere".

A similar plethora of tract societies were amalgamated into the American Tract Society in 1825. Those organizations sought to produce Bibles and literature for the growing population that had almost no Christian literature. In 2012 ATS made a joint publishing contract with Good News Publishing, a division of Crossway. They are headqauartered in Garland, TX. ATS print partners provide tracts in 100 languages; thus a source for tract distribution here in other languages.

Both the ABS and ATS used Colporteurs to travel the country selling the literature and evangelizing everyone including Roman Catholics and immigrants.

D. L. Moody founded the Bible Institue Colportage Association [BICA] in 1984, sending out over 100 colporteurs at any one time, porviding inexspensive Christian literture. BICA became Mood Press in 1941.

By 1826 the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians determined to form the American Home Mission Society for church planting in New England and on the western frontier. This missionary effort was hailed as the "most important home missionary agency among Protestants in the U.S. before the Civil War in the cooperative conduct of missions." 

Another cooperative venture was the American Sunday School Union founded in 1824. It was an outgrowth of the First Day Society of Philadelphia [1790].National Missionaries from several denominations worked together to fulfill the objectives of establishing Sunday schools in every neighborhood and preparing literature to be used in them. Missionaries were sent to visit the Sunday schools and make the literature available. The name changed to the American Missionary Fellowship in 1974, as the oldest National Mission society, primarily involved in church planting, including ministries among migrants, blacks and Hispanics. In 2011 the name changed again to InFaith, with headquarters in Exton, PA.

G.                FAITH MISSIONS 

By the end of the century the missionary enterprise had undergone another change. Interdenominational missions became known as faith missions as opposed to denominational missions. Several factors were influential in causing this change. By 1825 the antimission Baptists were deeply concerned about interdenominational missions and not only boycotted them but spoke adamantly against them and insisted that they were unscriptural. The issue was essentially one of doctrinal interpretation dictated by a strong Calvinism, but the controversy helped to undermine the interdenominational concept of missions. Another force for change was the growing liberalization of theology within the denominations. Third, the slavery issue and the Civil War (1861-65) deeply divided the churches and the country. Thus, the churches were embroiled in issues that did not encourage a missionary vision that focused on the lost. 

Faith missions developed as a reaction to the declining interest in missions in the various denominations. Individuals within the churches saw the spiritual need of those not being reached and established 'parachurch' [versus denominational] missions to assist in reaching them. Where church leaders once directed the evangelistic efforts of the missionary outreach of the church, now mission societies, with their separate leadership, gave oversight to this ministry. By default the church transferred its God-given responsibility to parachurch organizations that did a Herculean job. 

The missions that developed, both national and foreign, became the main source of information concerning missionary needs. The obvious needs at home were the expanding frontier, alcoholism, lumber camps, and the growing number of immigrants [ethnics], including Jews, Catholics, and Hispanics. The American Sunday School Union [1824] {became American Missionary Fellowshiip 1974, then InFaith 2011} worked the frontiers, and the American Rescue Workers Mission (1896) [now American Rescue Workers] seeks to help alcoholics & homeless. Lumberjacks were the concern of the Shantyman's Christian Association in Canada (1908), and Christ's Mission, burdened for the Catholics and Spanish, was formed in 1891. About the turn of the century the American Board of Missions to the Jews (1894) now Chosen People Ministries [1924] and the Cleveland Hebrew Mission (1904) were founded. [CHM absorbed by Friends of Israel Gospel Ministries]

Foreign mission boards were also developing. They included the China Inland Mission [Hudson Taylor 1865, Overseas Missionaary Fellowship 1964,now OMF International 1990], the Scandanavian Alliance Mission of North America [Franson 1890; The Evangelical Alliance Mission, now TEAM), Sudan Interior Mission [1893, SIM USA], and Africa Inland Mission Intl. (1895). Both national and foreign missions were receiving their candidates from Christian colleges and the fledgling Bible college movement, spearheaded by Nyack Missionary College [A. B. Simpson, Missionary Training Institute 1882, Nyack Missionary College 1956, Nyack College 1972 now seminary & grad. school] and Moody Bible Institute [D. L. Moody1886 Chicago Evangelization Society,1899 Moody Bible Institute {MBI}, Moody Magazine, Correspondence School, two campuses: added Spokane, WA, which includes the Moody Aviation Program, two Graduate School locations: 2009 Moody Theological Semiary & Graduate School, 2010 Michigan Theological Seminary became Moody Thogical Seminary-Michigan, Moody Broadcasting commercial free with satelite & Publications were added.

Missions was a growing concern on the campuses. On Williams College campus Samuel Mills and several friends met frequently for prayer. These friends, the Haystack Group, vowed to become America's first foreign missionaries. In 1810, through their efforts, the Congregational church formed America's first mission board, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The board sent several of these friends to foreign fields, but "From the beginning the board was concerned for national as well as foreign missions.“ At its second meeting it expressed the hope that 'this board will not lose sight to the heathen tribes on this continent.' They sent many missionaries to the American Indians   . 

Samuel Mills traveled widely on the United States frontier between 1812 and 1815 and was "deeply impressed everywhere with the famine of the Word." He helped organize numerous Bible societies, including the American Bible Society mentioned earlier. By 1886 the Student Volunteer Movement was focusing the attention of collegians on the needs of the developing missions overseas. John R. Mott became a prime mover in the organization and coined the phrase, "The Evangelization of the World in This Generation." That concept fired the hearts of "100,000 students to dedicate their lives to Christ's global cause" on 600 campuses. Within fifteen years 5,000 had been sent to foreign fields.  

National Missions were thus eclipsed and grew at a much slower rate. There was no campus organization for the students for national missions as there was for foreign missions. Missionary interest on the Wheaton College campuse was encouraged by the Foreign Missions Fellowship [FMF 1936, which became the largest student organization]. However the name changed to: Student Missions Fellowship and Student Missions Forum {SMF}, William Carey Fellowship and World Christian Fellowship {WCF}. On some campuses groups seeking to maintain a balanced  emphasis in missions called themselves Mission Prayer Bands or Warriors. In 2009 & 2010 students in several State Universities in Wisconsin established 24/7 prayer for missions emphases.

The regular emphasis on foreign missions in the colleges and churches helped turn the attention of pastors, churches, and missionary candidates toward the needs abroad and away from those neglected at home. Even so, National Mission organizations and staff quietly grew in numbers during the twentieth century. 

H.                THE TWENTIETH  CENTURY

The twentieth century may well be remembered as the century of missions. American churches alone spawned over 1,000 mission organizations to continue what Kane calls "the Herculean effort" begun the century before to herald the gospel to the ends of the earth. Over 500 agencies are working the fields at home, thus underscoring Stephen Neill's observation that this is the American century of missions. 

The history of the development of National Missions in the twentieth century is only sparsely recorded. The Bureau of Missions published "The Blue Book of Missions for 1905." It was intended to include "in outline some of these works, classed in America as Home Missions, because without remembrance of these the term 'missions' is not half defined."  When the book was readied for publication, it was noted that "after collecting a considerable number of records it became evident...that the great difference in forms used by these societies...made this matter one of peculiar difficulty...requiring study and time...The scheme has been regretfully given up for this year." 

A few years later the Interchurch World Movement of North America published a two-volume "World Survey of Missions." One volume gave detailed information about National Missionary efforts of thirty denominations. A great amount of time and money was expended surveying cities, town and country, blacks, new Americans, migrants, Indians, Hispanics, Orientals, Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Indies. The encyclopedic knowledge gathered about the great need for more missionaries was carefully preserved in detailed charts produced in color. The studied conclusion of the investigators was: 

If you are sincerely interested in the spiritual condition of America, you cannot fail to be impressed, even if you are not appalled, by these disclosures of the religious condition of your land. There is no phase of American religious life that is functioning as completely or efficiently as it should...(remember) as you read: This is my country that I am reading about. This is my church that is failing in its duty...Here is the chance to "lose yourself" in some absolutely compelling task that cannot be denied. 

The investigators gathered much information about the many national mission opportunities, but they gave almost no information about what was being done to meet the need. 

In 1963 the first survey of national missionary effort undertaken by the faith missions was published. Leaders in the various fields compiled valuable information about the needs in their areas, but little information was given about the history of missions and the development of faith missions. 

I.                   TWENTY FIRST CENTURY 

 Mission Handbook 2007-9 lists 800 mission agencies working overseas. Their objective is clearly stated: "It must be noted that although many of the agencies are involved in ministries in the U.S. & Canada, due to space concerns, this information is not included. The Handbook is concernd with what these agencies are doing overseas". Thus the importance of this current work. It includes the National Mission Handbook of Missions.

Major shifts are taking place in National Missions as well as global ministries. Much more emphasis is now placed on teaching nationals overseas to do evangelism/church planting while expats [expatriates] are teaching the nationals to do the work of evangelism and church planting. Foreign Mission organizations are now commonly incorporating foreign nationals in their missionary family. Churches are now considering "contract missionary support", instead of long term support. The massive movement of refugees and pourous borders into USA has refocused the need of National Missions to evangelize New Commers [NCs] who have not learned English or only poorly. They [NCs] have gathered largely in Metropolitan areas. Churches will become more and more dependent on parachurch organizataions to meet the need of "evangelism" by "National Missions". The widespread use of opiates [Narcotics, drugs, alcohol], prostitution,human trafficking, moral disentegration of society will of necessity be open doors for National Missionaries. Many churches still have an antipathy for those recovering being absorbed into their congregation. The greater trajedy is the growth of the "Emerging Church Movement". With the dumbing down of Biblically based theological/ethical preaching [II Timothy 4:3], there is a decline in annual Missions Conferences and Faith Promise Giving for missions. Concomitant especially is the neglect of the Book of Genesis, and Biblical Creationism both in churches, & Christian Educational Institutions. It seems that mission recruiters are beginning to focus more on Secular Universities rather than Evangelical Churches or Christian College campuses for new recruits for missionary service. Pastors should take note of what is happening in our churches and great country spiritually. Published research is alarming.

The digital revoluition, Social Media Networking, Internet, Smart Phones, Apps, widespread acceptance of Evolution [mankind is but an errant animal who is nothing special], live-ins, abortion on demand, LGBT revolution, transsexual sex reassignment or gender confirmation surgery, have all focused everyone's attention on oneself, as the ultimate Narcissit, who obviously thinks he doesn't need God. After all, scientists have been able to decipher the human genome and force stem cells to create human organs. But they still have not found a cure for AIDS or the common cold.

However, Wycliffe Tranlators have captured the digital revolution to speed up Bible Translation from a lifetime to just a few years. They hope to start 400 new tranlations in 2017. They plan to finish the job that everyone can have the Word of God in his own heart language. The MAST workshops [Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation] use BTAKS [Bible Translation Accelerattion Kits] to do the job. So, National Missionaries here have access to the heart language Bibles for those who are moving to the USA in ever increasing numbers. The Mission Fields of the world are here! Foreign Mission Boards are now becoming aware of the spritriual needs here at home, but there is yet a growing need for National Missions to fill the spiritual void in foreignors living among us.

J.                  NATIONAL MISSION SURVEY 

In an effort to preserve some of the above information, a list of National Missions was compiled and an instrument distributed by Dr. Earl Parvin, while teaching at Appalachian Bible College. A fifty-nine percent return yielded the following incomplete but revealing information. 

Nearly 400 missions were working in the United States. They were primarily national missions; however, a few also maintain a work overseas. This number includes forty missions that are known as foreign missions but also have some work in America. A few of the foreign missions have a substantial work here, but for the majority it is a small, growing ministry. 

Most national missions (62 percent) were founded in the thirty-year period following 1930. During the nineteenth century a few missions (5 percent) began. Two of those were foreign missions that started their National Mission work much later. In the first three decades of this century 8 percent of the agencies were born. Most of those were established after World War I (1914-1920). 

The growth of national mission societies paralleled the growth of the Bible institute or Bible college and the independent church movement. The Scopes trial (1925) galvanized the attention of the fundamentalists on the Word of God. The depression caused people to think about spiritual values. Preaching included a large emphasis on personal evangelism and helped Christians to become aware of the unsaved around them. 

It is time for a new survey to update what is happening in National Missions in the 21st C. Perhaps Doug Clark, director of ANAM, The Association of North American Missions, can help develope the larger picture of this movement. The development, growth, transformation, name changes and in some cases atrophy of Foreign Missions is much clearer. The amalgamation of Associations of mission agencies, ie: IFMA / EFMA now Missio Nexus is one such indicator of what is happening. The decline of 'week long' church mission conferences to 'mission emphasis' Sundays. The change of support of missionaries from long term to 'contracts' of a year or so. The cost of doing missions overseas is a concern.

On the National Scene, Washington has sent some very disturbing vibrations with 'political correctness' sapping the vitality out of Truthfulness and hyperconcern for 'plurality in the marketplace' and the Constitution being a Living Document, subject to interpretation with the times, by the Supreme Court. These certainly are dynamic times with radical changes taking place nationally, locally and in the Church affecting National Missions.

K.                NUMBER OF NATIONAL MISSIONARIES 

Exactly how many missionaries are involved in National Missions in the new Millennium is difficult to ascertain. Results from a survey taken in 1980 revealed that 12,000 were working under the auspices of the responding societies. It is not clear how many were working under the other 157 missions. A rough estimate suggests that there are 9,000 independent missionaries working in the US and a similar number of denominational missionaries, for a total approaching 20,000 missionaries working in national missions here at home. 

There are other missions and their respective staffs that are not easy to accurately tabulate. First, almost every major city has its gospel or rescue mission. The Grandfather of them all was: The McAuley Water Street Mission [1872] which gave rise to International Union Gospel Missions [1913], which lists 300 missions. 

Jewish missions present another complex picture. A 1985 Handbook of Jewish Mission Agencies [now defunct] listed 46 agencies and other independent missionaries totaling 470. They worked in 118 locations in the larger cities of twenty-eight states. It is difficult to determine the exact number of independent missionaries ministering to Jewish people. Two large Messianic Jewish Movements claim 80 and 438 Messianic Congregations USA. [see chapter 7]

Third, dozens of children's homes are constituted as missions. They do not have a fellowship organization that maintains a listing of the various homes or the number of their workers. Some of the homes are members of either or both the IUGM and the National Association of Homes for Children. Governmental agencies have gained amazing control over these children's home which once were primarily staffed by National Missionaries.

Fourth, the Christian Camping & Conference Association [1963] is a member of Christian Camping International which lists 900 camps and conferences that represent 5,000 leaders, many of whom are missionaries. In 2016 they indicate 5.5 million are involved in Christian Camping programs, serving 130,000 churches USA. They further indicate that 400,000 adults are now in full-time service as a result of decisions made at camp.

Finally, only the larger denominational national mission figures are available. Denominational interest in missions varies widely. For example, the home mission board of the Southern Baptist Convention lists 2,800 personnel and the Assemblies of God have 660 missionaries. Both of those denominations have highly developed programs deploying missionaries in the many national mission fields. They also publish excellent national mission magazines. An article in Wall Street Journal, suggests that some denominations are relocating their foreign missionaries to the home fields as National Missionaries, because of budget crunches.

L.                 GROWTH PROBLEMS 

Numerical growth of national mission agencies has been slow. The overwhelming majority of agencies are small, for 94 percent have fewer than 100 missionaries. Twenty-six percent of all missions have fewer than 10 workers. Only 6 percent have more than 100 missionaries, but these twenty-two missions represent 87 percent of the missionaries. Two missions with over 1,000 staff members are Cui [2011] formerly Campus Crusade for Christ [1952] & Youth For Christ. Child Evangelism Fellowship has 733 full-time members. 

A number of factors have contributed to this phenomenon. First, the leaders of the early missions were often strong individualists who established very independent works. Little thought was given to cooperation with other ministries or the sharing of ideas among missions. The ministry consumed all the leader's time so that almost no time was left for administration. One observer reports that leadership was in many instances ineffective.

Second, there was minimal organization. The board of directors often lived some distance from the field and, therefore, found it difficult to be directly involved with the work. Clear-cut goals for expansion of the work were generally missing. Little time was available for deputation or recruitment. Literature explaining the work and personnel needs had not developed, nor was a mission organ produced to keep the churches informed. Although missionaries regularly reported to their supporting churches, only a few recruits were inspired to join them in the work. New leadership personnel was not readily available. In short, in the words of an oral historian, "The missions were often unorganized." 

Another factor was the continual shortage of funds. Most of the missionaries went to the fields of service under-supported, with only a limited clientele that was aware of and praying for the work, although those in the know were faithful in prayer and financilly involved in scrificial giving. There was, and still is, a much greater inclination on the part of churches to support overseas missionaries. However, only limited effort was expended in informing the larger public about the need for expansion of the work at home. Without proper funds for supplies and equipment, the work suffered. Then time took it toll of those early stalwerts homegoing.

Fourth, at times the mission work was established in an isolated place apart from population centers. Difficulty in communication and travel further separated the missionary from large groups of people. In rural areas the ministry often took the form of school visitation, daily vacation Bible schools, and summer camps. It was difficult for a self-supporting church to develop under those conditions. 

Finally, a sufficient number of men was seldom available. In some instances missions were established by women and were predominantly staffed by them. They found it difficult to attract men to expand their ministry. Further, it was difficult to find male leadership for founding local churches. This was especially true in the mountain areas. 

In more recent years that image has radically changed. National Mission leaders have learned much from the more sophisticated foreign mission organizations. A national organization has developed to encourage organizational growth and the sharing of ideas and expertise. 

M.               THE ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICAN MISSIONS   

It was Harry Ironside who said in 1941, "Give us a home mission organization that will compare to foreign missions." He was suggesting an organization that would be comparable to the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association [IFMA] organized in 1917 [then Cross Global Link 2007, now Mission Nexus 2011] as an association of missions which had met certain requirements for membership. 

At this time there were groups of individuals meeting for fellowship in areas of the country where they were serving. The Mountain Gospel Fellowship (MGF) was such a group meeting in the Kentucky mountains. They met for the first time in 1932 in the home of Elmer Wagler, founder of Southern Highland Evangel Mission. Later, as the group grew to more than 100, they met at Camp Nathaniel of the Scripture Memory Mountain Mission (SMMM). Garland Franklin, the founder of the SMMM and president of the MGF, was one of those who heard Ironside's challenge for a national mission organization. Several mission leaders and pastors organized the National Home Missions Fellowship (NHMF) at Moody Memorial Church in 1942. The NHMF continued for more than thirty years to have its annual meetings in conjunction with the home missions conference of Moody Church, where the missionaries met for fellowship. 

The name of the fellowship was changed to the Association of North American Missions in 1980, when it was determined that the organization should be more than a fellowship of missionaries and become an association of missions as Ironside had originally suggested. Member missions must adhere to strict guidelines to maintain their accreditation. Every five years each mission is reviewed to determine that it is indeed fulfilling its purpose statement. 

Dr. Earl Parvin was executive director from 1994-1999, Dr. Roy Anderson from 1999-2004 and Rev. Doug Clark currently serves, to promote the cause of national missions among leaders and missionaries. The Association maintains two regions: Appalachian in KY and Southwest in AZ and each conducts an annual gathering to share expertise and fellowship. There is a Leadership Forum which meets annually.  ANAM maintains a national headquarters in TX.The Web site lists 10 Member Missions, 3 Associate Missions and 6 Affiliate Missions. They maintain a website www.anamissions.org.

Dr. Parvin conducts research on matters about national missions. The publication of the book, MISSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA is one result of that research. Another research project is a database of missions working in North America entitled the NORTH AMERICAN MISSION HANDBOOK, which may be found on the WEB. Dr. Parvin may be contact at earlparv@wvconnect.com.

N.                THE THIRD ERA OF MISSIONS 

National Missions, like the rest of world missions, has entered into what Ralph Winters calls the "third era" in modern missions. During the first era (1792-1910) missionaries evangelized the coastlands of the countries. Then came a major thrust into the interior areas (1865-1980). That second era overlapped the first with forty-five transitional years. Finally, Winters suggests that in 1980, after a forty-six year transition, missions began to be concerned about those who had been bypassed, called "hidden people." Although there is an established church in most countries of the world, these hidden peoples are more often being reached by National cross-cultural ministries. Most churches will be best served by National Missionary effort. For the rest of the world, churches will call upon foreign mission assistance. 

The same stages can be recognized in National Missions. Colonial missions to the Indians and Seamen would be equated with the first era. During the second era there was the western advance into the interior with the successful planting of thousands of churches. National Missions also stand on the threshold of a new era that began in the 1930s with the founding of scores of missions ready to assist the church in reaching those who have been bypassed in the great thrust to plant new churches at home, especially ampng ethnics in the cities. 

The National Mission agencies that stand ready to assist the church are essentially what Kane calls "specialized missions." They minister to people who are isolated from the message because of certain characteristics such as religion, ethnicity, challenged [handicap], institutionalization, geographical identity, or a combination of those. Many people are hidden from the gospel by linguistic and cultural barriers. Even in America "we now realize that subtle cultural differences, being invisible, make even city sub-spheres hidden peoples.” 

Hidden peoples are to be found in every American community. They are those segments of society that are not Christian and not involved in local Bible-believing churches. If the members of the local churches cannot effectively reach them, then the expertise of a National Mission may well be the answer. 

The greatest single problem that National Missions face in this 21st  century is not the de-Christianization of American society, although Kenneth Latourette the church historian contends that National Missions are helping stem that tide, but a sleeping church, unaware of the spiritual needs of those in its community. It can be said that "America is missionary territory...and the great majority of church members in this country have not become alive to this fact." Without the church's being aware of the needs, the mission society cannot help the church accomplish its task. 

In rural West Virginia, south of Wheeling, a Hare Krishna temple has been built at a cost of half a million dollars. Not ten miles away is a fundamental church. Should this church consider contacting International Missions to help them determine how to reach the practitioners of that Hindu cult? It should be self-evident that the only way those cultists will hear is for those who know the truth to arrange for the gospel to be given to them. National Missionary perhaps?

The church in America today must regard itself as being in a characteristically missionary situation. What we call "National Missions" is not an eccentric, marginal or optional activity. It is the main business of every local church, every church school, every Christian institution and program. It is the business of every Christian. For the church in America, as everywhere else in the world, is called to further the Christian movement in a society whose dominant presuppositions, standards, and goals are frequently in direct and massive opposition to those of Christianity. In a far more radical sense than has been understood, the church in America must be a missionary church or it will die.

As the American church faces 2017 and the inauguration of the 45th President, Ann Miller on Mission Network News 20/12/2016 posed a challenging question: "What Does Inauguration Mean for the Global Church" Inauguration means to "dedicate or separate for a sacred purpose"; therefore, in thinking about that special inauguration of the Presidency, she suggests for the Church it is "an opportunityy of a lifetime for the body of Christ in America to be the hands and feet of Christ". She illustrates, according to Wally Kullakoff of Mission Eurasia, Christians in Eurasia [which are mostly Muslim countries, I add] are excited about the US election, that "God is preparing the country today in the US to impact the world globally". It is most heartning that those Christians are aware of and excited about American politics, which do seriously affect our churches and their concern for missions abroad as well as at home. Mission Eurasia is the old Russian Ministries of Peter Deyneka fame. With the breakup of the old Russian Empire, many from these countries came to America, in need of the Gospel through National Missions.

O.                 CHURCH PLANTING 

There are currently some 350,000 churches in North America. In 1900 there were 27 churches per ten thousand population. This would mean that each church would have a potential congregation of 370. One hundred years later, there are twelve churches per ten thousand population. This would translate into potential congregations of 833 per church. This would indicate that church plants are not keeping up with the growth of the nation. [Note: there are 1200 non-Christian mosques, temples etc]

At the present time it is necessary to plant 12,000 churches annually. Fact is, there are not enough seats for current church membership to be accommodated if they all decided to go to church on a given Sunday. To accommodate the annual natural growth of 2 million, plus the 1 million legal immigrants, divide the total by 250 [twice the average sized church] = 12,000. 

Denominational churches are doing extensive church planting. Denominational churches developed headquarters and assigned leaders responsible for directing world missions outreach and establishing ‘church extension departments’ to develop new churches at home. Denominational leaders determine where a new church is needed. They can dispatch church builders to construct a building and then proceed to gather a group of believers to fill the building. Today, much new church planting is in urban areas and among ethnics. Several language congregations may occupy the same building, each with its own language pastor.  

The Southern Baptists are a prime example of a denomination making a concerted effort to plant churches among ethnic groups. A high percentage of the denomination’s growth is among ethnic church plants. In one year, they mounted a church planting theme of “Celebrate Jesus 2000 National Initiative Mission America,” In the fifty years up to 1995, they planted 278 churches per year. In the one hundred and fifty years up to 1995, they planted 240 churches per year. We need to calculate an estimated figure for denominational church planting. It would also be informative to know how many Independent church plants are taking place.

The independent church movement has no central hierarchy to direct the missions outreach nor to plant new churches at home. Thus, faith missions developed to fill this need. Mission leadership determined mission fields and enlightened the churches about various needs. Thus, church planting missions developed to establish new congregations. The missionaries must raise their support from local congregations, which are of ‘like precious faith’. All too often, the missionary goes to the field without full support and must work secular jobs to supplement his income as bivocational.  

Associations of churches have their affiliated church planting organizations. The Independent Fundamental Churches of America[1930] now IFCA International [1996], lists on their Web, 9 Church Extension Organizations such as the Northwest Independent Church Extension [NICE].  Each organization is independently incorporated and has its own unique name.. IFCA International has 1000 independent churches and 1100 individual members. The American Council Christian Churches was founded in1941.

Associations of mission organizations:

Cross Global Link [formerly IFMA], The Mission Exchange [formerly EFMA, now merged into Mission Nexus.

Fellowship of Missions is an organization of 30 separatist agencies fielding 2000 missionaries on all 6 cntinents, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich. Check with these missions concerniong their work in North America, such as IBM Global which has ministry in Minneapolis, MN among Somalis.

 

P.                 MISSION BOARDS DOING CHURCH PLANTING

 

ADVANCING NATIVE MISSIONS

AMERICAN ASSOC-LUTHERAN CHURCHES COM

AMERICAN BAPTIST ASSOCIATION /Missionary Committee

AMERICAN MISSION FOR OPENING CHURCHES

AMERICAN MISSIONARY FELLOWSHIP--- NOW: InFaith

AMERICAN MISSIONARY FELLOWSHIP

APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF PENTECOST OF CANADA, INC

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD HOME MISSIONS

WORLD WITNESS -The Bd of Witness (Assoc Reformed)

ASSOC. OF BAPT FOR WORLD EVANGELISM, INC

BAPTIST CHURCH PLANTERS

BAPTIST HOME MISSIONS

BAPTIST HOME MISSION BOARD

BAPTIST INTL MISSIONS,INC

BAPTIST MID-MISSIONS

BAPTIST MISSION TO FORGOTTEN PEOPLE

BARNABAS INTERNATIONAL MISSION

BCM INTERNATIONAL

BETHEL MINISTRIES [Bible Mission of Southwest Virginia]

BIBLE MISSIONARY CHURCH- Home Missions Dept

BIBLICAL MINISTRIES WORLDWIDE

BILL RICE RANCH

BRETHREN CHURCH MISSIONARY BOARD

BRETHREN HOME MISSIONS COUNCIL, INC

BRETHREN IN CHRIST WORLD MISSIONS

CAM INTERNATIONAL

CEDINE BIBLE MISSIONINC

CENTRAL BIBLE MISSION, INC

CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE MISSION

CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD ASSOCI, WORLD/ CHRIST

CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST) IN U.S. & C

CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP UNION, INC

CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY FELLOWSHIP

CHURCH OF GOD OF PROPHECY MISSION

CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE, World Mission Division

CHURCH PLANTERS OF AMERICA

CHURCH PLANTERS TO AMERICA

CHURCH PLANTING PARTNERS The Bible League]

CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN CHRISTIAN UNION:

CONGREGATIONAL METHODIST CHURCH,

CONTINENTAL BAPTISTMISSION

CUTSHIN BIBLE MISSION

DOMESTIC & FOREIGN SOCIETY FOR PROTESTANTS

EASTERN INDEPENDENT CHURCH MISSION

EASTERN MENNONITE MISSIONS

ELIM FELLOWSHIP - U.S. DIV

EMMANUEL GOSPEL CENTER

EMMANUEL MISSION

EVANGELICAL BAPTIST MISSIONS

EVANGELICAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

EVANGELISTIC FAITH MISSION

EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA,

EVANGELICAL HOME MISSIONARY ASSOC/ AoG

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF AMERICA,

EVANGELICAL METHODIST CHURCH-Bd ofMissions

FAITH GOSPEL WITNESS

FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS

FELLOWSHIP OF BAPTIST FOR HOME MISSIONS

FINAL FRONTIERS FOUNDATION

FOUNDATION FOR HIS MINISTRY

FREE METHODIST WORLD MISSIONS

FULL GOSPEL GRACE FELLOWSHIP

FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST HOME MISSION

FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST HOME MISSIONS

FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST WORLDWIDE MISSION

COMMISION ON MINISTRIES, GEN CONF MENNONITE C

GLOBAL BAPTIST MINISTRIESINC

GLOBAL OUTREACH OF PEOPLES CHURCH

GLOBALINK MINISTRIES

GO YE MISSION,INC

GO-YE FELLOWSHIP

GOOD NEWS MISSION

GOOD NEWS MISSION

GOSPEL OUTREACH

GRACE BRETHREN HOME MISSIONS COUNCIL, INC

GRACE MINISTRIES, INC

GLOBAL STRATEGY MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION

HARVEST MINISTRIES

HOPE BIBLE MISSION, INC

IMPACT INTERNATIONAL INC

IMPACT NORTH MINISTRIES

INDEPENDENT BIBLE MISSION

INDEPENDENT FAITH MISSION INC

INDIANA BIBLE CHURCH MISSION

INFAITH -- SEE AMERICAN MISSIOANRY FELLOWSHIP

INNER CITY IMPACT

INTERACT MINISTRIES

INTERNATIONAL GOSPEL OUTREACH

INTERNATIONAL URBAN ASSOCIATES

ISLAND MISSIONARY SOCIETY

KENTUCKY EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP, INC

KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN MISSION, INC

LATIN AMERICAN MISSION INC

LATIN EVANGELICAL OUTREACH, INC.

LUTHERAN CHURCH-MISSOURI SYNOD- No Am Missions

MACEDONIA WORLD BAPTIST MISSIONS INC

MAINE RURAL MISSION ASSOCIATION, INC

MENNONITE BOARD OF MISSIONS

MENNONITE BRETHREN MISSIONS/SERVICES

MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE -Canada

MEXICAN GOSPEL MISSION INC

MID AMERICA MISSION

MISSION BOARD CHURCH OF GOD

MISSION TO NORTH AMERICA-Presbyterian Ch in Americ

MISSION TO THE AMERICAS

MISSIONARY BOARD OF THE CHURCH OF GOD

NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION. USA

NEW TRIBES MISSION

NORTH AMERICAN BAPTIST CONFERENCE

NORTH ARKANSAS GOSPEL MISSION

NORTHWEST INDEPENDENT CHURCH EXTENSION

NORTHWEST MOUNTAIN MISSION

OAK HILLS BIBLE FELLOWSHIP INC

OPERATION MOBILIZATION, INC

PACIFIC NORTHWEST MENNONITE CONFERENCE

PAN AMERICAN EVANGELISTIC MISSION INC

PENTECOSTAL HOLINESS CHURCH WORLD MISSIONS

PEOPLE FOR MISSIONS

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA) GLOBAL MISSIONS

PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELISTIC FELLOWSHIP INC

RBM MINISTRIES INC

RESURRECTION CHURCHES & MINISTRIES

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIBLE MISSION

RURAL AMERICAN MISSION SOCIETY

RURAL BIBLE CRUSADE

RURAL EVANGEL MISSION INC

RURAL HOME MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION

SANDERS BIBLE MISSION

SCRIPTURE MEMORY MOUNTAIN MISSION

SEND INTERNATIONAL

SLAVIC GOSPEL ASSOCIATION

North American Mission Board of SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION

SOUTHERN HIGHLAND EVANGEL

SOUTHWEST BIBLE CHURCH MISSION

TEAM [The Evangelical Alliance Mission]

THE WORLD WITNESS THE PENTECOSTAL FREE WIL

TITUS 2:4 MINISTRIES INC - KRAFT

TMM MINISTRIES, INC

UNION GOSPEL MISSION, INC

VILLAGE MISSIONS

WEC INTERNATIONAL

WEC INTERNATIONAL (Canada)

WESLEYAN WORLD MISSIONS

WESTERN INDIAN MINISTRIES,INC 

WISCONSIN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNOD

WORLD BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP

WORLD INDIGENOUS MISSION

WORLD MISSIONARY OUTREACH

WORLD MISSIONS FAR CORNERS INC

WORLD PARTNERS OF THE MISSIONARY CHURCH

WORLD SALT FOUNDATION

WORLDTEAM INC