Models of missional engagement in Asia: A case study of OMF International

Author: Revd Dr Warren R. Beattie, Director for Mission Research, OMF International


The purpose of this case study is to look at the process of internationalisation undertaken by OMF International (OMF) and how it has partnered with Asian mission movements in the course of its history. OMF International is the current name of an organization which started as the China Inland Mission and later became the China Inland Mission Overseas Missionary Fellowship (CIMOMF). The case study will consider three main periods: 1) the early history of CIM from the 1860s onwards; 2) the period of CIMOMF following the departure from China to the centennial year 1965; and 3) OMF in the 21st century.
OMF has emphasized partnering with Asian churches and developing Asian leaders – principally within the OMF orbit but sometimes beyond it. This has led to a largely Anglo-Saxon agency focussed on China becoming a multi-cultural international agency focussed on East Asia with between 30 – 40 % of its members having an Asian ethnic origin. During the 1950s and 1960s a conscious decision was taken that OMF would work with Asians in its own spheres and not intervene in the development of emerging Asian missions movements. [1] In recent years this stance has been revised.

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