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.
The OMF Journal for Reflective Practitioners
Collecting our past today, preserving it for tomorrow
Book reviews and bibliographies
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.
The picture on the cover is a painting by an unknown Japanese recording the death of the Nagasaki martyrs (5 February 1597). Jesuit missionaries began a work in the country in the 1540s that resulted in a church of perhaps 100,000–300,000. By 1614 Christianity was officially banned by the Tokugawa shogunate. From 1597, several waves of persecution swept over the church resulting in many deaths and forcing the remaining members to disappear underground.
Volume 15 no. 1 (Jan-Apr 2020) The Bad News about the Good News
The gospel is good news. In fact, it’s great news. It is the wonderful story that tells how the God who created the heavens and the earth intervened so that people who had been separated from him by sin could be restored to a living relationship with God by believing that his Son Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice in their place. But though it is good news, the euangelion has a dark side. There is bad news in the good news.
The difficult side of the gospel was experienced by the Apostle Paul who, in addition to being imprisoned, beaten, whipped, and shipwrecked, set out on journeys resulting “in dangers from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers” along with “the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor 11:23–28). Clearly, gospel ministry can be a lot tougher than most of us desire. The Bible and church history let us know that many Christian witnesses were killed for their faith.
This “bad side” of the gospel is brought to light in the article on William Fleming—the first CIM martyr. Not everyone who shares the good news about Jesus faces death, imprisonment, or beatings. Even so, many, as Andy Smith’s research indicates, find sharing the gospel to be a scary experience for any number of reasons. Christians who desire to share the gospel with others frequently pick up tools that they hope will help them do a better job, little knowing that these tools may inadvertently become barriers to its being properly understood or rightly accepted. If we work through the issues we face biblically and theologically, the bad news of the good news will not disappear, but it will certainly change form, as it will stem from the very nature of the gospel rather than the actions of those who proclaim it.
Browse Back Issues
Sep – Dec 2019
To the Ends of the Earth
May – Aug 2019
Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness
Jan – Apr 2019
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Sep – Dec 2018
The Church in Mission and the World
May – Aug 2018
The Bible in Mission and in the World
Jan – Apr 2018
Thinking Christianly in a Pluralistic World
Sep – Dec 2017
Take Up Your Cross: Suffering and the Church
May – Aug 2017
Ministry to Diaspora and Sojourning Peoples
Jan – Apr 2017
Mission Agencies in the 21st Century
Sep – Dec 2016
Mission from the Majority World
May – Aug 2016
Journeys with Jesus
Tell them the Old, Old Story
Christ and Culture
Identity in Christ and in the World
Fellowship & Partnership in Mission & in the Church
Discipleship in East Asia
Missional Creation Care
Browse by Topic
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.