What is The Christian and Missionary Alliance?
The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) is an evangelical denomination with a major emphasis on world evangelization. It maintains a “big tent” stance in reference to many doctrinal matters, encouraging believers of diverse backgrounds and theological traditions to unite in an alliance to know and exalt Jesus Christ and to complete His Great Commission.
How did the C&MA come to be?
It began as a missionary movement initiated by Dr. Albert B. Simpson in 1887 to mobilize the under-utilized lay forces and resources of the churches to “take the whole Bible to the whole world.” The founder was reluctant to establish churches, preferring to call together Christians with a vision to evangelize the world but who remained in their local churches. However, the Christ-centered emphasis in teaching and the priority on missions made many people unwelcome in their denominations,
causing them to form groups that for years were called “branches,” not churches. By the mid-1970s, it became clear that the Alliance was a denomination in all but name, so with revised bylaws and constitution that reality was formalized in 1974.
What is the C&MA doing overseas?
Beginning in 1884, the C&MA gradually expanded from a five-member team in Congo to more than 1,100 missionaries in 49 nations and churches in 66 countries and territories. With emphasis on establishing churches among unreached people groups and responsive populations worldwide, the C&MA is involved also in many types of specialized missions such as communications, medical work, translation, and relief and development aid. While most workers come from the United States, others are supported by churches in Canada and other nations. Many of the overseas national churches belong to The Alliance World Fellowship, a fraternal group with 2.5 million members in over 40 nations.
What is the C&MA doing in the United States?
With churches in every state of the Union, the denomination totals about 350,000 believers in nearly 2,000 churches. One quarter of these congregations is intercultural in character, attracting immigrants and minority groups with strong cultural heritages. Services are conducted each Sunday in 19 languages. Affiliated institutions include four colleges, a seminary, a publishing house, four retirement centers and two development/investment organizations.
What of the future?
Under the banner, “Completing Christ’s Commission,” and the leadership of Dr. Peter N. Nanfelt, president, the C&MA is streamlining its ministries to regain a movement spirit in the framework of a denomination, refocusing resources on unreached people groups overseas and underevangelized communities in the United States.