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Strengthening Christian world mission

Posted by on in General Secretary's Blog
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Many religious groups have been severely affected by the Great Recession of 2008. Since the onset of the financial meltdown that precipitated that recession, many religious institutions are still trying to recover from the undesired harmful effects of that experience.

Around the world, thousands of churches are closing their doors each year for reasons including   their inability to service their mortgage and noteworthy decline in church attendance. These developments remind us that our vaunted self-reliance and our aptitude for developing effective strategic responses are nothing but a sham. Hardly do we have a choice but to work together to maintain certain institutional arrangements that serve the interests of the kingdom of God by advancing the mission of the church and the well-being of others.

Some organizations contribute immensely to our understanding of the connection between the mission of God and the mission of the church. They also help form us for faithfulness in Christian mission and service. The Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC), which operates from its base in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, is one such organization.

The story of the OMSC ministry may be traced to 1922 which saw an initiative that resulted in the establishment of apartments for missionaries on furlough. Since that time, OMSC’s ministry has expanded. Today, the organization is perhaps best known for its quarterly research publication, the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (IBMR), which first appeared in 1977 as the Occasional Bulletin of Missionary Research. Leading missiologists and mission theologians appear in IBMR, which is on many church leader’s “must read” list.  

Over the years, the journal has drawn praise from students, pastors, mission scholars, and others.

Celebrated missiologist Lammin Sanneh of Yale University accurately describes OMSC as “a major force in mission and world Christianity” and affirms that IBMR is “widely acclaimed.” Distinguished mission scholar Dana Robert of Boston University School of Theology claims OMSC “feeds mind and spirit,” offering “Christian fellowship and worship combined with serious exploration of essential mission issues.”

OMSC’s offerings include a residential program that provides opportunity for “the spiritual and professional renewal of missionaries, church leaders, scholars, artists and others.” OMSC also runs a study program for church leaders, mission committee members and the general public. In Spring 2017, this continuing education program includes seminars on Biblical Fund-Raising for Mission; Family on Mission; Healing the Wounds of Trauma; and Nurturing and Educating Trans-Cultural Kids.

Recently, I visited the modest surroundings from which OMSC carries out much of its ministry. While there, I called to mind a long list of mission scholars who have gone there to share insights from their research and experience – a list that includes Lesslie Newbigin, Gerald Anderson, Andrew Walls, and other well known scholars. Past OMSC directors include R. Pierce Beaver, Gerald Anderson, Jonathan Bonk and J. Nelson Jennings. The trustees of the organization include Lamin Sanneh, Tite Tiénou, Edith Blumhofer and Joel Carpenter.

Today, Thomas Hastings, Daniel Nicholas and their colleagues continue the tradition of outstanding leadership and service at OMSC. Baptists and other Christians will not only support the excellent OMSC work, but will also endeavor to benefit from OMSC’s program offerings. If they do, they will understand why Princeton Theological Seminary’s Darrell Guder said, “No one goes away unchanged from the encounter at OMSC.”

Neville George Callam, a Jamaican, has been serving as general secretary and chief executive officer of the Baptist World Alliance since his election in Accra, Ghana in 2007.


  • Guest
    Vonnie James Thursday, 18 May 2017

    Thank Rev'd Dr.Call for your usual compelling post.

    Pastor Vonnie James
    Grenada Baptist Association

  • Guest
    Dr SURAJIT Sahu, Tuesday, 02 May 2017

    Church is universal in character. It's the body of Christ who Himself is the Head. It's Our Lord Jesus Christ who will definitely take care of the body that is the Church. The churches around the world that are closing down are not the part of the Universal church, the body of Christ. They should be closed down. This is my belief and Faith
    I am a member of the BWA nd a member of the Ethics com

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Guest Tuesday, 07 July 2020