Welcome to the Ralph D. Winter Research Center Website
The Ralph D. Winter Research Center has just launched a new website! Check it out at: rdwrc.wciu.edu. The website is specifically designed for two things:
First, we will be a source of current missiological reflection to serve both the newest globally interested believers, as well as mission leaders and engaged practitioners around the world.
We are working hard to find or create cutting-edge, frontier-focused reflections to advance the Gospel globally. We also are curating materials posted or published by others. We are excited to point to great resources deemed helpful for mission at the edges of the Gospel. We are encouraging others to write for our blog or post book briefs, or full book reviews. You can sign up at the website to be notified when we add new posts.
In the process of exploring and seeing how God is working today, we also want to:
Second, keep in sight the lessons the mission movement learned in the past.
One way the new website does this is through posting a range of ideas and reflections from key mission leaders in the past, such as those by Ralph D. Winter and Donald A. McGavran.
This is an outgrowth of my own experience. I was interested in missions and was helping mobilize at my church while in college back in the 1970s. I had a copy of Operation World from 1976 when it was only 208 pages (it is almost 1,000 now!). Later that year, I first heard Ralph Winter speak at a student mobilization event and I was shocked by the information he shared about peoples and places without any Gospel witness!
A few years later, after seminary, I joined the USCWM (now Frontier Ventures). That was 41 years ago. Until his death in 2009, Ralph was part of my daily routine. Most of us on staff saw, and usually heard from him, Monday through Friday in our Bible study and prayer times. When he asked me to become the Director in March 1990, my time with him increased.
But the thing that most staff remember were our weekly meetings, especially the ones each Thursday evening, when Winter would “wrap-up” after missionary speakers would share from a certain part of the world or a particular kind of ministry. His sharing usually did not last more than 10 minutes, but was very insightful. Over the coming months, we are planning on posting as many of those as we can. Right now, you can listen to one of those “wrap-ups,” an audio recording of Ralph’s now-famous plenary address from the Lausanne Congress in 1974 or a video recording of his reflections on Isaiah 49…just to mention a few.
Ralph carefully kept records of his writings, letters, events he attended, and organizations he was tracking. After his death, we found additional materials from the time he and Roberta served in Guatemala. This includes audio recordings from the 1960s. We also were given Donald A. McGavran’s library and the archives from later in his life.
In 2009, with all this information in hand, it was only natural to establish the Ralph D. Winter Research Center. It was started to encourage a creative approach to solving problems with the global spread of the whole Gospel. That was his focus.
The Research Center includes materials that illustrate and document the thinking that captured a generation of mission leaders. We are regularly adding digitized documents and audio and video recordings to the new website. We have a trea- sure trove of materials, including:
ï Ralph Winter’s archives (165 Bankers Boxes) and 8,500 volume library.
ï A portion of Donald A McGavran’s archives (58 Bankers Boxes) and library—about 2,000 books.1
ï A unique, focused South Asian collection (8,000 volumes) on Christianity and other faiths in that region.
ï A specialized missions collection (10,000 volumes).
ï Already, we have had researchers visit from the University of Notre Dame, Cambridge University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and from India, Korea, and the U.S.
Ways you can get involved:
ï Visit the site at: rdwrc.wciu.edu
ï Sign up so you can download materials and engage in the discussion on new posts.
ï You can search all four book collections here: https://latourette.on.worldcat.org/discovery.
ï Researchers can come to see specific books and archives at the Research Center. Write to us through the website to see if your research focus is a fit for us.
ï Volunteer—in Pasadena or virtually. We have digital work that can be done anywhere.