140 Years of OMF: Faith for the Future

Through Taylor’s leadership, the CIM became a template for the formation of other “faith missions,” which took the gospel to many parts of the world.
( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2005 09:02 AM EDT

This summer marks two important CIM anniversaries – the 100th anniversary of Hudson Taylor’s death on June 3 and the 140th anniversary of the China Inland Mission - now OMF International – on June 25.

The passing of time helps us to see some of the lasting achievements of Hudson Taylor.. While Taylor always knew that he was beginning something new in world mission, he couldn’t have anticipated the effect that the CIM would continue to have on missions 140 years later.

Radical evangelism vision

First and foremost, Taylor’s desire to evangelize the inland of China in places where Protestant missionaries had never worked before challenged the whole Christian world. The CIM provided a model for mission that put the proclamation of the gospel in its highest place.

Radical organizational faith

Taylor applied to CIM an aspect of mission that until the formation of the CIM had only been applied to the individual missionary. This was the organizational reliance on God for money and laborers to do the work. A bilingual sign that adorns the front of the OMF International offices in Singapore sums up his move: “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

Radical prayer support

Taylor cemented the place of prayer in mission. Taylor solicited prayer for each stage of a missionary’s life in China, from pre-departure in England right through the vagaries of language learning to establishment at a station inland.

He was concerned that there should be prayer for Chinese Christians, the students and those in the opium refuges. For Taylor, prayer was a vital part of the work, enabling those who could not go to China to join in the work of the CIM, thus widening the scope of prayer for world mission.

Radical administration

Taylor was also radical in locating the center of the organization in China rather than in London, developing an administrative and leadership structure that would keep decision making as close to the missionary as possible.

Radical ministry approach

Taylor believed that the work of mission was the responsibility of ordinary lay Christians. This widespread recruiting had an enormous impact. It was seen as a new method of ministry.

Related to this, Taylor pioneered a new approach to women in mission. Taylor saw how essential it was for women to be able to reach Chinese women, inadvertently contributing to women’s liberation without challenging the theology that prevented women participating fully in church life.

Radical communication

Taylor invigorated communication about mission, making use of maps and other tools in his meetings, in addition to regular reports in the Occasional Papers and in China’s Millions.

Through such means, Taylor was able to broaden the mission-supporting constituency. He managed to tap into other constituencies who shared his values. China was of major interest to many who had been awakened through the revivals of the preceding years and Taylor would build any relationship that would enhance mission to China.

Through Taylor’s leadership, the CIM became a template for the formation of other “faith missions,” which took the gospel to many parts of the world along similar lines.

Article from www.us.omf.org