William Carey Library Publishers
Founded in 1969, William Carey Library (WCL) celebrates this year its 40th anniversary of ministry. In the late 1960s, the faculty at Fuller Seminary’s School of World Mission saw the need to start a publishing function, in order to make the school’s steady stream of theses available to a wider audience. They asked Ralph Winter to figure out how to do that. Dr. Allen Swanson, one of Dr. Winter’s students, recalled: “One day he [Dr. Winter] came into class waving a thesis manuscript in hand (mine) and announced what a tragedy it is to leave such writings to collect dust in library archives, and thus was born “mini-publishing” and the William Carey Library….”
The School of World Mission became a model for dozens of graduate-level missions programs around the world, and William Carey Library played an important role in getting out into the hands of missionaries and missiologists the incredible research and new insights that the school was producing. Students (who were called “associates” at that time) were instructed to prepare their dissertations in “print-ready” format so they could be immediately ready for publishing through WCL.
Before long, the whole Winter family was running a publishing house, which evolved into a major contributor to the global church growth and frontier mission movements. Scott Moreau, professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College and editor of the Evangelical Missions Quarterly, commented, “They have been instrumental in keeping things in print that otherwise would have gone out of print, because the heartbeat was a missions framework.”
Over the last 40 years, WCL has published some 700 titles and sold over one million mission-related books. Today, WCL carries on the vision of its founder to “publish, at reasonable cost, the best in current thinking on world mission.” It continues to produce in short print runs, valuable books that other publishers might not find feasible. It especially seeks to assist the work of mission executives, the field missionary and his or her home church, and the student of world mission.
Ralph Winter once made the observation that WCL is not in the book publishing business but in the information business. In that regard, over the years it has become the major distributor for a variety of resources produced by the U.S. Center for World Mission and its collaborating organizations. From the influential unreached peoples “pie-chart” poster, to short booklets and pamphlets, to video curricula, WCL has sought—and will continue to seek—to be on the forefront of disseminating the essential knowledge the global Church requires to finish the task of world evangelization.