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Why support OCMS?

OCMS was founded in 1983 by visionary Christian leaders from Latin America, Africa and Asia who saw the need both to equip leaders from the majority world and help them understand the fullness of God’s mission in their contexts, often very different from the Western ones in which mission and theology have been developed. Today the world is different, with the West in as much need of spiritual renewal as other parts of the world. We are, therefore, a truly global institution serving the needs of the church worldwide.

Our vision is:

The global church equipped to participate in the realisation of God’s transforming mission through research and applied scholarship. 

In other words, we want to bring the best of mission research and scholarship and make it available to the church so that it can be more faithful and fruitful in mission.

With this in mind, our Mission is:

To advance study, education and research in God’s mission and to convene practitioners, scholars and leaders in creative and prophetic dialogue.

We believe that deep reflection, study and understanding of both the Scriptures and the contexts we live in is necessary if we are to be faithful to God in our generation. The challenges of mission include not just reaching those who live in places where the church is very weak and fragile but a whole range of challenges such as the ‘prosperity gospel’, corruption, violence and persecution, the impact of technology and social media on society, issues of human sexuality and medical ethics as well as gospel witness in a secular context. OCMS is concerned to develop Christian leaders able to grapple with these issues and help others do the same.

We advance our mission by focusing on five main areas:

  • equipping individuals, leaders, churches and institutions, prioritising those on the cutting edge of God’s transforming mission.

    At present we do this primarily through our PhD programme. Around 130 have already graduated and are serving God in an incredible range of ministries and church contexts around the world. Currently around 110 students from over 40 countries are studying with us. Because most come from the Global South or are working as cross-cultural missionaries, we need to raise scholarships to enable them to serve with us. You could ‘Adopt a scholar’.

    In 2018 we are exploring starting a Certificate in Professional Practice in Organisational Development, Leadership and Mission. While there are many courses that focus on leadership development including some for people working in mission, at present no programme brings these three strands together.

    Help us develop this programme into an effective tool to serve leaders in mission.

  • responding to issues identified by the church with timely, strategic and rigorous research.

    Most research takes place through our PhD students or the research pursued by our faculty. In 2018 we are launching a major project aimed at analysing all the mission research done by evangelical mission institutes around the world. With this data we will convene a consultation in early 2019 to look at the data and discern where current strengths and gaps lie and then see how to facilitate collaboration to prioritise neglected areas.

    To help us, you could ‘adopt a faculty member’. 

  • fostering spaces where scholarship and practice interface for mutual learning.

    This is critically important. One danger with much scholarship is that it stays within the academy and does not impact the day to day work of mission practitioners. We create opportunities for practitioners and scholars to meet and share learning together.

    In 2018 we will run consultations focused on: theological resources for enabling the church to deal with corruption; Pentecostal responses to secularism in Europe; the church’s role in peace building in contexts of political violence. 

    You could help get the right people to these consultations.

  • Dissemination of knowledge: ensuring that the fruit of scholarship is accessible to reflective mission practitioners.

    We publish the journal Transformation four times a year.

    We have our own publishing house, Regnum Books, which produces around 15 quality academic books per year.

    In 2018 we wish to develop our publishing further by introducing two new series with the intention of making scholarship more accessible. The first series will take the work of a number of Latin American mission thinkers, translating and publishing around 10 books in English. The second series will take research and make it available to the lay person as mini-books, easily read in one or two sittings.

    You could help fund these important series.

  • seeking to hear and give voice to reflective practitioners who might otherwise not be heard. 

    This is a general principle guiding all we do at OCMS. We want to give priority to those Christian thinkers, researchers and writers who live and work in places where it is more difficult to study and publish. This is why most of our scholars come either from the majority world or are working as cross-cultural mission workers.

The late John Stott was a great supporter and advocate of OCMS. He wrote in 2009,

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) is an organization with which I have been involved since its inception in 1983, and I have watched its development with great satisfaction. I am delighted to have this opportunity to commend its work to you for your prayerful and financial support. It is the conviction of OCMS, which I share, that during this century many of the influential leaders in the church will come from the global south. The ongoing work of OCMS in preparing many of them for leadership, through its postgraduate and research programmes, will be a key part of this process.

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