This is an article from the June 1982 issue: Cameron Townsend

The U.S. Center for World Mission

The U.S. Center for World Mission


It is 100 buildings on 35 acres about equally divided between 85 residential properties and a campus (cafeteria, auditorium, library, dormitories, classroom buildings, administration buildings). Located in northeast Pasadena, it is on the former campus of the Pasadena (Nazarene) College.


Our task is primarily to serve U.S. evangelicals as a center for 1) strategy and 2) mobilization, focused on the final frontiers of world mission. By "frontiers" we refer to roughly 16,750 unreached "people groups" that are as yet without a strong, indigenous church movement These may be urban or rural, in the U.S. or abroad. By "strategy" we mean field strategy, that is, what are these people groups we yet need to reach with the Gospel, and how can they be reached? By "mobilization" we mean stirring up to frontier awareness the Christian resources within this country   the different strata of evangelicals within denominations and independent churches. We also maintain contact with a growing network of 25 other offices worldwide that are similarly concerned about pushing on into these "people group" frontiers.


Even though we are set up to serve mission agencies, we are ourselves a mission agency, affiliated with the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association. Like almost all other mission agencies, we make no distinctions of pay other than those based upon differences of need. Our director receives no more than the newest member of our staff. We are a community which seeks to minister one to another. We encourage work study combinations rather than all work or all study cycles for an extended period of time. Partly for this reason, we operate our own university, the William Carey International University.


We have always operated on a "self sustaining" basis, but we do need to pay for the property. Our policy beyond our first year of existence has been to seek a million one¬timeonly $15.95 gifts as a means to found this Center. What we now own is worth close to $20 million, while we still owe about $10 million. Our net worth is thus at least $9 million, up from a net worth of less than $100 in January of 1977.


You won't believe it, but this is a cooperative center where over 40 mission agencies send people to work! It is the largest single piece of property ever to be set aside as a nerve center for the cause of missions in this country. Yet, this is only a single point in the worldwide network just mentioned. We are now developing regional offices in this country, too.


We are over 200 full time people working here daily, two thirds of whom are in member organizations. Our central staff has grown to nearly 80 people today. Because of the predominance of youthful staff, we are part of the spearhead of new youthful leadership in the world of mission agencies today and tomorrow. Close to 50 of our former staff are now overseas.

You may wonder about our strange and scary "one time small gift" approach ... here are the fascinating reasons:

  1. Knowing that we will never ask people for a second gift, more churches will cooperate. The cooperation of local congregations is essential if we are to help awaken 1,000,000 Christians in the United States to these frontier people groups.
  2. Meanwhile, the more churches that cooperate, the more people who will gain a vision of the final frontiers and begin to give (through their normal channels) new and additional money for frontier mission activities.
  3. Furthermore (this was our original reason) with this policy, mission agencies do not sense competition, but reinforcement. We are not winning away their steady supporters, but encouraging them and adding thousands of new ones. The effect is an urgently necessary "broadening of the base" of mission awareness and giving in the U.S.
  4. Our approach does not employ fund raisers or direct mail methods, but almost entirely relies upon the amazing and wonderful grapevine of personal recommendations from pastor topastor, from people to people. This is the method by which the Gospel has spread since the first century. There is no more economical means.

Enter the Little Man from Burma

In the spring of 1981 God, through a tribal pastor, gave us the Frontier Fellowship program. Our goal now is 400,000 people by September 1983, a million by December 1984. Many organizations who want to see this project succeed are now cooperating. As they give us $15 out of the first $100 any one individual gives we will be able to pay our largest single payment ($6,000,000 in September 1983).

In addition the cooperating organizations will receive $34,000,000 for their own work! The $6 million and the $34 million (total $40 million) is the very minimum expected from 400,000people praying and saving loose change daily for a year. Cooperating congregations, denominations, agencies, schools are encouraged (not required) to give us the first $15 coming in from any one person they enlist. The $6 million we need comes from that source (400,000 x $15 = $6 million).

We will instantly agree with you that this is not likely to be the easiest way to pay off this property! But we think you will agree that the value of this goal is monumental.

Just think for a moment about the result of the daily reading of the Frontier Fellowship prayer guide by 400,000 people. The new vision, let alone the new money produced could be the beginning of turning our nation around. Yes, our survival as a nation hangs on our obedience to the Great Commission!

Similarly, we believe our survival as a Center depends upon our faithfulness to the vision God has given us. We have two verses which we feel can by specifically rephrased for our case: Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and all these small gifts will be added unto you." Also Mark 8:35, "If you wish merely to save the campus you'll lose it, but if you are willing to lose it as you seek to give frontier vision to others, you'll save it."

Dear friend of the USCWM, follower of Jesus Christ, even if you don't at first see how we could have arrived at these conclusions, you can begin to help us reach out to these 400,000 people.

How? That's 8,000 congregations with 50 Frontier prayer partners in each one. How about your church, to begin with? Every individual you reach with new. vision will give a little to us and much more  to his church or mission. Please seek to help others begin to use the Frontier Fellowship Daily Prayer Guide. Partly because our property depends on it. But mainly because this is for the Lord, and for those thousands of mission beachheads that have not been made and for those precious creatures of God who still sit in darkness while we have the light.


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