Mission Research & Archives

Mission Research



OMF Mission Research publishes the Mission Round Table journal, organizes a mission research consultation every three years, interacts with field and sending centers about important missiological issues, networks with worldwide archives.

If you have questions for the Mission Research Department, please submit them using the contact form below.

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Collecting our past today, preserving it for tomorrow

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The OMF Journal for Reflective Practitioners


Book reviews and bibliographies

OMF Archives

Collecting our past today and preserving it for tomorrow

The materials preserved give insight into the past and provide historical information relating to the growth of Christ’s church in East Asia.

 The archives hold many stories of what God has done. Telling the story gives God the glory.

CIM-OMF archive materials are held in various OMF centers as well as the institutions listed below.

Researchers who wish to access materials at the OMF International Center Archives can apply to do so by submitting the contact form below.  The form must be received at least one month before a proposed visit.

We welcome donations of materials of historical interest related to CIM/OMF.

If you wish to donate materials, please tell us more about the items by submitting the contact form to our archives.

International Center Archives

The holdings at OMF International Center include collections of CIM-OMF books, public and internal publications, audio-visual materials produced by CIM-OMF, and microfilm of CIM holdings in the Billy Graham Center. Documents held relate to CIM, most of which are post-1950 relating to the operations of OMF International Headquarters.

OMF UK Archives

The holdings at OMF UK include extensive collections of photos, books, periodicals, prayer letters, maps and other records, some dating from the foundation of CIM, and some relating to mission in China generally, pre-dating CIM. There is also an archive of individual CIM/OMF missionaries’ documents, both paper and electronic. There are also audio-visual materials relating to OMF.

OMF US Archives

The OMF USA archives is composed primarily of books and periodicals relating to the history and work of CIM/OMF in East Asia, as well as information relating to various American missionaries affiliated with the organization; material specific to the US offices (previously located in Pennsylvania); and post-1950s operations and administrative documentation.

Archives of CIM Publications

China Inland Mission published the first edition of its monthly magazine China’s Millions in London in July 1875. Publication of the North American and Australisian editions of China’s Millions began in 1893. Scanned copies of the British and North American editions of China’s Millions (1875-1935) can be downloaded from the Internet Archives and Yale University.

Other CIM publications, including books and reports are also available for download from the Internet Archives.

There are also archive holdings of CIM-OMF materials in:

SOAS Library, Archives & Special Collections, London

Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College, USA

Hong Kong Baptist University Library, Hong Kong

SOAS University of London

The holdings are mainly pre-1950s: CIM-OMF records, including London Council minutes; CIM China Council minutes; James Hudson Taylor papers; personal and private papers of missionaries; records relating to Chefoo Schools; CIM photographs; CIM-OMF publications (directories of missionaries and mission stations, field bulletins, China Millions/East Asia Millions, etc).

Billy Graham Center

The holdings are mainly pre-1950s: correspondence, minutes, directories, newsletters, brochures, photographs, book manuscripts, slides, audio tapes, photo albums, and materials documenting the origins of the CIM North American branch; church planting, evangelistic, medical, educational and literature work in China up to 1951; CIM’s reorganization into OMF.

Hong Kong Baptist University

The holdings are microform materials from SOAS. Its section on Digitization Projects includes a “China Through the Eyes of CIM Missionaries” database that contains 225 lantern slide and glass plate negative images of portraits, landscapes, scenery and architecture in China as well as shots documenting the socio-economic activities of the Chinese from the 1900s to the 1930s.

Mission Round Table

The OMF journal for Reflective Practitioners

Mission Round Table focuses on contemporary mission in Asia viewed from the perspective of reflective practitioners. Articles are designed to provide biblical, theological, and missiological foundations for thinking about mission and real-life examples that anchor the theory in practice.

Latest Issue

MRT 14.3 (Sep-Dec 2019) To the ends of the earth

Volume 14 no. 3 (Sep-Dec 2019) To the Ends of the Earth

In the first verse of the book of Acts, Dr. Luke reminded Theophilus that he had written his previous book—his Gospel— to record “that which Jesus began to do and to teach.” Though unstated, his purpose for this second book was to record that which Jesus continued to do and teach through his apostles. Their job was not to speculate about when Jesus might restore the kingdom to Israel, but to wait for the Spirit to empower them so that “you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in all of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

But Luke’s second account does not conclude with the work Jesus began to do and teach being completed; “the ends of the earth” was not reached when Paul arrived in Rome. Each generation of Christians must receive power from the Spirit and bear witness of Jesus. The desire to see the story of Jesus proclaimed throughout the world lies behind this issue of Mission Round Table. All but the opening article were originally produced for the June 2019 OMF Mission Research Consultation that focused on sharing the gospel.

Browse Back Issues

MRT 14.2 (May-Aug 2019) Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in all its Fullness

May – Aug 2019

Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness

MRT 14.1 (Jan-Apr 2019) As the Father has sent me

Jan – Apr 2019

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

MRT 13.3 (Sep-Dec 2018) The Church in Mission and the World

Sep – Dec 2018

The Church in Mission and the World

MRT 13.2 The Bible in Mission and the World

May – Aug 2018

The Bible in Mission and in the World

MRT 13.1 (Jan-Apr 2018) Thinking Christianly in a Pluralistic world

Jan – Apr 2018

Thinking Christianly in a Pluralistic World

MRT 12.3 (Sep-Dec 2017) Suffering and the Church

Sep – Dec 2017

Take Up Your Cross: Suffering and the Church

MRT 12.2 (May-Aug 2017) Strangers in a strange land

May – Aug 2017

Ministry to Diaspora and Sojourning Peoples

MRT 12.1 (Jan-Apr 2017) Mission Agencies in the 21st Century

Jan – Apr 2017

Mission Agencies in the 21st Century

MRT 11.3 (Sep-Dec 2016) Mission from the Majority World

Sep – Dec 2016

Mission from the Majority World

MRT v11.2 (May-Aug2016) Journeys with Jesus

May – Aug 2016

Journeys with Jesus

MRT v11.1 (Jan 2016) Tell them the old old story

Jan 2016

Tell them the Old, Old Story

MRT v10.3 (Sept 2015) Christ Meets Culture

September 2015

Christ and Culture

MRT 10.2 Who am I

May 2015

Identity in Christ and in the World

MRT 10.1 Fellowship and Partnership

January 2015

Fellowship & Partnership in Mission & in the Church

MRT 9.2 Discipleship in East Asia

September 2014

Discipleship in East Asia

MRT 9.1 Creation care

May 2014

Missional Creation Care

Browse by Topic

Mission Round Table—Vol. 14 No.3 Sep-Dec 2019

To the Ends of the Earth “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 In the first verse of the book of Acts, Dr. Luke reminded Theophilus that he had written his previous book—his Gospel— to record “that which Jesus [...]

How Indigenous Are the OMF Asian Home Councils? Tracing the History of their Establishment.[1]

This paper recounts the birth and development of OMF’s Asian Home Councils, points out the key issues faced by these councils, identifies changes that have emerged over the years, and considers whether Asian Home Councils can be legitimately considered indigenous. Koyuki Sami joined OMF in 1992. She worked among the urban and rural poor in [...]

One Kingdom Theology as a Paradigm for Gospel Ministry: A Commendation of the Thoughts of J. H. Bavinck

Synopsis: This paper examines the mission theology of the Dutch missionary, Johan Herman Bavinck. Special focus is given to Bavinck’s conception of missions in light of the theme of the kingdom of God, the interplay between general and special revelation, and the relationship between missions, church, and the world. Song Tsai Song Tsai is an [...]

God’s Mission, the Messianic Kingdom, and the Calling of the Church

Synopsis: Responding to Song Tsai’s reflections on Bavinck in "One Kingdom Theology as a Paradigm for Gospel Ministry", Michael Widmer examines some of the writings of Bavinck and presents a wider investigation into the nature and purposes of God’s mission and how this relates to his kingdom and the commissioning of the church. Michael Widmer [...]

The Gospel and the Cross-Cultural Gospel Messengers: Issues of Identity and Platform in Bringing the Good News

Synopsis: This paper addresses key questions related to platforms and distinguishes between missionary calling and the professional vocation which many have found helpful. It includes a scale that attempts to capture some of the issues in how these two callings intersect for different people and discusses the key question of effectiveness. Ian C. H. Prescott [...]

The Gospel Expressed Through Ritual Materiality for Discipleship in the Context of Thai Folk Buddhism

Synopsis: This paper begins with a brief presentation on the basic religious outlook of Thai folk Buddhists followed by a discussion of how ritual materiality reflects vital expressions of spirituality that reveal the way Thai folk Buddhists see the world. The paper looks at possible redemptive expressions in the realm of ritual materiality through which [...]

Books & Resources

A foot wide on the edge of nowhere

Book review – A Foot Wide on the Edge of Nowhere: Olive and Theo Simpkin—Sharing Good News in China by Majorie Helen Joynt

Book cover - Canoeing the mountains

Book review – Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger

Book cover - Building bridges to oral cultures

Book review – Building Bridges to Oral Cultures: Journeys to the Least-reached by K. Carla Bowman with James Bowman

Seeking A City With Foundations

Book review – Seeking a City with Foundations: Theology for an Urban World by David W. Smith

Insider Jesus

Book review – Insider Jesus: Theological Reflections on New Christian Movement by William Dyrness

Book cover - Planting an indigenous church

Book review – Planting an Indigenous Church: The Case of the Borneo Evangelical Mission by Jin Huat Tan

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Books and Resources for ministry to diaspora