Author: Rev Phil Simpson, Asia Director for CMS (Britain).
A brief history of CMS
CMS was formed in 1799 out of the evangelical, pietistic & abolitionist movements, with notable reformers like Wilberforce, Newton, Shaftesbury. The mandate was abolitionist (anti-slavery); creating civil society (‘reformation of manners)’ – as well as evangelistic (‘conversion of the heathen’ in ‘Africa and the East’). A former General Secretary of CMS, Max Warren, (1957) identified 3 main stages of CMS history, each of 50 years:
1. Fly-casting – ‘pioneering’ of individuals trying out new places, often the missionaries following in the wake of military and merchants
2. Scaffolding – ‘planting’ as missionaries developed mission stations in mission fields.
3. Institutional – ‘professional’ phase, when the 3 big mission institutions were the backbone of mission work – Churches, Hospitals and Schools
This was followed by
4. Independence – ‘partnering’ when the churches became independent and started running their own institutions and a new relationship of partnership was established.
So the question remains what is the next stage all about
5. Networks – ‘participating’ I would suggest that it is about Network Mission, a more global co—created reality, where the key word is participation .
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