On June 18, 1888, the synod of what would later be known as the Christian Reformed Church in North America appointed a five-member committee to lead the denomination in cross-cultural missions. For a Dutch-speaking church barely thirty years old with just ten thousand members, this was a very big step.
There were false starts and severe struggles. Some of the attitudes expressed and methodologies used in the early years make us cringe today. Still, there was and is a passion to share Christ with those who have not yet found salvation in Him.
Christian Reformed World Missions, through several name changes, has led the Christian Reformed Church in obedience to the Great Commission for more than 125 years. For most of those years, CRWM has focused on sending people who brought with them a personal commitment to Christ. In 1900 more than 80 percent of the world's Christians lived in Europe and North America. Missionaries could be sent to most of the world and find few, if any, Christians.
However, through the work of missionaries from many churches and those who came to faith through their message, the Church of Jesus Christ has grown in amazing ways. Inf Africa alone, the Church has grown from nine million people in 1900 to over 350 million today. As a result, much of CRWM's work now consists of resourcing and partnering with others who are doing the front-line evangelism and church planting work so that the Church of Jesus Christ and the values of God's Kingdom can grow.
Yet despite the Church's exponential growth, more than 1.5 billion people still have not heard the Gospel. There are more than seven thousand unreached people groups, and cross-cultural missions remains absolutely essential. CRWM continues to do its part by sending missionaries and partnering with others to reach the least reached.