We are a professional academic society with several hundred members comprised of missiologists, mission administrators, teachers, pastors with strategic missiological interests, and students of missiology, based primarily in North America but inclusive of members globally.
The Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) exists to advance the cause of world evangelization. We do this through study and evaluation of mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective with a view to commending sound mission theory and practice to churches, mission agencies, and schools of missionary training around the world. Annually, we hold a National Conference and eight regional meetings throughout the USA and Canada.
We are Evangelical…that is, we are committed to the doctrinal foundations that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, more fully explicated in The Lausanne Covenant.
We are Missiological…that is, we facilitate the discussion of cross-cultural and theological concerns growing out of the mandate of the Church to disciple the nations and are committed to theological integration within all of missionary work and thinking.
We are an academic Society…that is, we exist to promote fellowship and professional stimulation among active and retired professors/authors of missiology, anthropology, and closely allied disciplines, with missionaries, mission administrators, pastors with strategic missiological interests, and students of missiology. Emphasis is also given to the preparation and dissemination of information, books, and practical tools designed to assist members in missionary training, missionary service, and mission-related administration.
In 1967 at Urbana, Illinois, a few professors of mission met together to discuss the need for dialogue, fellowship, and cooperation among evangelicals devoted to researching, publishing, and instructing in areas related to the mission of the Church.
On October 3, 1968, at a meeting of the EFMA (the Evangelical Foreign Mission Association, now known as The Mission Exchange) and IFMA (the Interdenominational Foreign Missionary Association of North America, now known as CrossGlobal Link) in Winona Lake, Indiana, professors present officially formed the Association of Evangelical Professors of Missions (AEPM), an organization which effectively served the purposes of mission instructors for over 20 years.
As the 1970s and 1980s progressed there was an upsurge of interest in mission studies, or missiology, as it came to be known. As it was gaining more visibility and credibility, Christian mission itself was being reviewed and redefined by some scholars in ways that seemed incompatible to biblical mission. An increasing number of missiologists both inside and outside of the AEPM came to believe that a scholarly society committed to the Great Commission(s) (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:4-8) was becoming more and more necessary. Many felt that an organization composed only of classroom teachers was too restrictive in light of the growing number of mission scholars within the churches and mission organizations.
In 1988, the late esteemed professor Donald A. McGavran wrote:
I want to lay before you . . . a very important item. The evangelical professors of missions have an organization which is not really called missiology. I think that is a grave mistake. . . . What is really needed in North America and around the world is a society of missiology that says quite frankly that the purpose of missiology is to carry out the Great Commission. (Personal letter to David Hesselgrave dated April 7, 1988)
Dr. McGavran’s concern being widely shared, the AEPM was reorganized in November, 1990, as the Evangelical Missiological Society.
The Constitution of the EMS outlines important features of the Society:
PURPOSE: The purpose of the Evangelical Missiological Society is to advance the cause of world evangelization through study and evaluation of mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective with a view to commending sound mission theory and practice to churches, mission agencies, and the schools of missionary training around the world.
PROGRAM: The program of the EMS exists to foster fellowship and professional stimulation among active and retired professors/authors of missiology and closely allied disciplines, with missionary/missiologists, mission administrators, pastors with strategic missiological interests, and students of missiology, all of whom subscribe to an approved evangelical doctrinal position.
This fellowship exists as a platform for the discussion of missiological and theological concerns growing out of the mandate of the Church to “disciple the nations.” Emphasis is also given to the preparation and dissemination of information, books, journals, and practical tools (such as web apps) designed to assist members in missionary training, missionary service, and mission-related administration.
ORGANIZATION: Organizationally, provision is made for the election of national and regional officers with annual meetings to be held both at national and regional levels in the U.S. and Canada.
The EMS currently has over 400 full and associate members throughout the U.S. and Canada. They meet annually in Spring in a number of regional meetings. The national meeting is held each Fall at Dallas International University. EMS has also met jointly with The Mission Exchange, CrossGlobal Link, and the International Society for Frontier Missions, with which it has a close working relationship. Everyone benefits from the synergism these shared venues provide.
The EMS publishes the Journal of the Evangelical Missiological Society (formerly the Occasional Bulletin) twice a year. A subscription to the JEMS and a copy of each year’s EMS Series book is included as a benefit to all members whose dues are up to date. Each volume in the series is devoted to the analysis of a current theme of importance to Christian mission/missiology. The books have great value as a classroom resource and a means of keeping members of the missions community on the cutting edge of missions strategy and thinking.
Statement of Faith
All members shall affirm the evangelical tenets of the Christian faith as set forth in the Lausanne Covenant.