OMF International

OMF International
Founded 25 June 1865
Founder Hudson Taylor
Type Evangelical Missions Agency
Focus Unreached People Groups, discipleship, church planting
Origins China Inland Mission (till 1964)
Area served
East Asia & East Asians globally
Key people
Hudson Taylor, DE Hoste, JO Fraser, A.J. Broomhall, Patrick Fung, Cambridge Seven,
Slogan Heart for Asia. Hope for Billions.

OMF International (formerly Overseas Missionary Fellowship and before 1964 the China Inland Mission) is an international and interdenominational Protestant Christian missionary society with an international centre in Singapore. It was founded in Britain by Hudson Taylor on 25 June 1865.


The non-sectarian China Inland Mission was founded on principles of faith and prayer. From the beginning it recruited missionaries from the working class as well as single women, which was a new practice for a large agency. Even today, no appeals for funds are made, instead a reliance upon God is practiced to move people through prayer alone. The goal of the mission that began dedicated to China has grown to include bringing the Gospel to the millions of inhabitants of East Asia who have never heard or had access to the message of Jesus Christ. Reluctantly, along with the departure of all foreign Christian workers in the early 1950s, the China Inland Mission redirected all of its missionaries to other parts of east Asia, to continue the work and maintain a ministry to China and the Chinese. The name was officially changed to Overseas Missionary Fellowship in 1964 and to OMF International in the 1990s. A quote from the OMF website summarizes the current organization:

We are OMF International (formerly the China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship), founded by James Hudson Taylor in 1865. We serve the church and bring the gospel to many of the countries in East Asia, and we have a pioneering ministry in the rest. We help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide.

OMF's Mission:

We share the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness with East Asia's peoples to the glory of God.



Missiological Distinctives of the CIM

1. Priority is given to unreached inland provinces while seeking to evangelize the whole of China.

2. No solicitation of finance, or indebtedness; looking to God alone; pooling support in life of corporate faith
3. Identification with Chinese by wearing Chinese dress and queue (pigtail), worshipping in Chinese houses
4. Indigenization through training Chinese co-workers in self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating principles
5. Recruitment of missionaries not based on education or ecclesiastical ordination, but spiritual qualification; deployment of single women in the interior and Christian professionals
6. Interdenominational-International Membership
7. Headquarters on the field, director rule; leaders and workers serving shoulder to shoulder


"We wish to see churches and Christian Chinese presided over by pastors and officers of their own countrymen, worshipping the true God in the land of their fathers, in the costume of their fathers, in their own tongue wherein they were born, and in edifices of a thoroughly Chinese style of architecture." (-J. Hudson Taylor)


Taking Root

Hudson Taylor circa 1865

Hudson Taylor made the first decision to found the China Inland Mission at Brighton, England during his first furlough from China. Like his missionary forebear Karl Gützlaff and contemporary William Chalmers Burns, Taylor was convinced that Chinese clothing should be worn when engaged in missionary work in inland China. On 3 October 1865, Taylor sent John and Anne Stevenson and George Stott to China, where they arrived on February 6, 1866. Including the five missionaries previously sent to Ningbo -James Joseph Meadows, Jean Notman, Stephen Paul Barchet, and George and Anne Crombie, these eight were already in China when Taylor returned in 1866. On 26 May of that year, Taylor accompanied the largest group of missionaries that had ever sailed to China on the Lammermuir. There were 16 missionaries as well as Hudson, his wife, Maria and their 4 children that became known as the Lammermuir Party. This journey took 4 months.

The Lammermuir Party sailed on 26 May 1866.

Inland pioneering

In 1872, the China Inland Mission's London council was formed. In 1875, it began to evangelise China systematically. Taylor requested 18 missionaries from God for the nine provinces which were still unreached. In 1881, he requested a further 70 missionaries, and, in 1886, 100 missionaries. In 1887 "The Hundred missionaries" were sent to China. Taylor travelled across several continents to recruit for the China Inland Mission. By the end of the nineteenth century, the CIM was well known around the world. Richard Lovett wrote about the practices of the missionaries in 1899:

1. They have an excellent spirit, – self-denying, with singleness of aim; devotional, with a spirit of faith, of love, of humility.

2. Their operations are carried on with great efficiency and economy.
3. They are able and willing to bring themselves into close contact with the people, by living in their houses, using their dress, and living for the most part on their food; in short, "becoming all things unto all men, that they may save some."
4. They are widely scattered, but one or two families in a city.
5. They are having good success; many are doing a great amount of preaching and praying, and souls are "added to the Church," and are, I trust, truly converted.
6. They are not generally educated men, but men from humble labouring classes, converted and brought out by the revivals in England, Ireland and Scotland, and showing zeal and aptness to preach and labour for the salvation of souls. Hence they will not be very likely to fritter away foolishly their time in reading dusty old Chinese tomes, and in making books and tracts that nobody will read.
7. They are willing to "rough it."


Boxer Crisis of 1900

Missionary preaching in China using The Wordless Book

In 1900, attacks took place across China in connection with the Boxer Rebellion which targeted Christians and foreigners. The China Inland Mission lost more members than any other agency: 58 adults and 21 children were killed. However, in 1901, when the allied nations were demanding compensation from the Chinese government, Hudson Taylor refused to accept payment for loss of property or life in order to demonstrate the meekness of Christ to the Chinese. In the same year, Dixon Edward Hoste was appointed to the directorship of the mission.

Growth amid war and revolution

The early 1900s saw great expansion of missionary activity in China following the Boxer Rebellion and during the Revolution of 1912 and the establishment of the Chinese Republic. William Whiting Borden, wealthy heir of the Borden, Inc. family, who graduated from Yale in 1909, left behind a comfortable life in America to respond to the call for workers with the Muslims of northwest China. He died in Egypt while still in training.

A musician and an engineer named James O. Fraser was the first to bring the Gospel message to the Lisu tribes of Yunnan in southwest China. This resulted in phenomenal church growth among the various tribes in the area that endured to the 21st century.

The Warlord period brought widespread lawlessness to China and missionary work was often dangerous or deadly. John and Betty Stam were a young couple who were murdered in 1934 by Communist soldiers. Their biography "The Triumph of John and Betty Stam" inspired a generation of missionaries to follow in the same steps of service despite the trials of war and persecution that raged in China in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Japanese invasion further complicated efforts as the Japanese distrusted anyone with British or American Nationalities. When the Japanese invaded China in World War II, the China Inland Mission moved its headquarters up the Yangzi River to Chongqing. Many missionaries were put into concentration camps until the end of the war. One such camp was at Weifang. The entire Chefoo School run by the mission at Yantai was imprisoned at a concentration camp. As the children and teachers were marched off they sang:

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…. The Lord of Hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:1,7)

The students were separated from their parents for more than 5 years.

In 1900 there were an estimated 100,000 Christians in China. It multiplied to seven times that number by 1950 (700,000). The Chinese church began to be an indigenous movement helped by strong leaders such as John Sung, Wang Ming-Dao, Watchman Nee and Andrew Gih.

From CIM to OMF

Phyllis Thompson wrote that between 1949 and 1952, after the victory of the Communist armies, there was a "reluctant exodus" of all of the members of the China Inland Mission. The leaders met at Bournemouth, England to discuss the situation and the decision was made to redeploy all of the missionaries into the rest of East Asia. Headquarters were moved to Singapore, and work commenced in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. In addition to reducing some languages to written form, the Bible was translated, and basic theological education was given to neglected tribal groups. The publication and distribution of Christian literature were prioritized among both the rural tribes people and the urban working classes and students. The goal remained for every community to have a church in East Asia and thereby the Gospel would be preached "to every creature". The proclamation of the Christian message also included medical work. Three hospitals were opened in rural Thailand as well as a leprosy control programme. Many of the patients were refugees. In the Philippines, community development programs were launched. Alcoholic rehabilitation began in Japan, and rehabilitation work among prostitutes was begun in Taipei and Bangkok.

In 1980, Hudson Taylor's great grandson, James Hudson Taylor III, became General Director of the mission work. According to Taylor in 1989,

"The fellowship has no desire to re-establish itself there (in China) in the form it used to have", but he also affirmed that "OMF is still deeply committed to the Chinese people. We can never forget that we came into existence as the China Inland Mission. Ever since our ‘reluctant exodus’ we have called the church worldwide to prayer for our brothers and sisters in China, and to share in proclaiming the gospel and nurturing millions of new believers through radio broadcasts and the provision of Bibles and Christian literature."


Dr. Patrick Fung, a Chinese Christian appointed in 2006, is the first Asian to lead the mission. The work continues to the present day.

The old London headquarters building

Impressive headquarters were built on Newington Green, in North London. By the late nineteenth century, when the CIM building was commissioned, what was once a rural village had long been subsumed into the metropolis. Newington Green had grown up around a core of English Dissenters and their famous academies. The CIM headquarters sit between two other listed buildings on the green, Newington Green Unitarian Church (1708), and the oldest brick terrace in London, 52-55 the Green, where the most famous minister, Richard Price, lived.

The building was refurbished by Haworth Tompkins.[5] Now known as Alliance House, it is run by Sanctuary Students as accommodation for City University.[6]



Taylors and missionary candidates in 1865.
A map showing the nine Chinese provinces in black that were considered unreached by the Gospel message in 1865.


Cover of the Occasional Paper of the China Inland Mission in 1875.
Dixon Edward Hoste and fellow China Inland Mission missionaries in native dress.


Cover of China's Millions for 1885
First Party of Americans to join the CIM in 1888.


The China Inland Mission Headquarters in Shanghai. Late 1800s.
First Party of Australians to join the CIM in 1890.


CIM missions as of 1902












See also


The papers of the China Inland Mission are held by SOAS Archives and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College .


  1. "About OMF International". OMF International. External link in |website= (help);
  2. Taylor (2005), reference to Daniel W. Bacon, "From Faith to Faith" 1983
  3. Broomhall (1984), 356
  4. Lovett (1899), 74
  5. "Newington Green". Haworth Tompkins. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  6. "Alliance House". Sanctuary Students. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  7. "Re-occupation of the Field, June 1929, Page 86". China's Millions. China Inland Mission.
  8. "Editorial Notes, China's Millions, 1929, Page 79.". China's Millions. China Inland Mission.
  9. "Article by W.H.Aldis ' The completion of the 200'. China's Millions Jan 1932, Page 3". China's Millions. China Inland Mission.



Further reading

  • Armitage, Carolyn (1993). Reaching for the Goal: The Life Story of David Adney, Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Mission. Singapore: OMF International. 
  • Austin, Alvyn (2007). China's Millions: The China Inland Mission and Late Qing Society. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 
  • Bacon, Daniel W. (1984). From Faith to Faith: The Influence of Hudson Taylor on the Faith Missions Movement. Singapore: OMF. 
  • Bray, Jenny (1971). Longhouse of faith. Borneo Evangelical Mission. 
  • Bray, Jenny. Longhouse of fear. Borneo Evangelical Mission. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1982). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century Volume. One: Barbarians at the Gates. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1982). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Two: Over the Treaty Wall. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1982). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Three: If I Had a Thousand Lives. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1983). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Four: Survivors’ Pact. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1984). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Five: Refiner’s Fire. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1988). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Six: Assault on the Nine. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Alfred James (1989). Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century. Seven: It Is Not Death to Die. Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Broomhall, Benjamin (1882). The Truth about Opium Smoking. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1901). Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission, with a Record of the Perils and Suffering of Some Who Escaped. London: Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1905). In Memoriam: Hudson Taylor's Legacy. London: Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1906). Pioneer Work in Hunan by Adam C. Dorward and Other Missionaries of the China Inland Mission. London: Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1907). The Chinese Empire: A General and Missionary Survey. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1909). Faith and Facts, as Illustrated in the History of the China Inland Mission (Marshall, Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1918). Islam in China, A Neglected Problem. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1915). The Jubilee Story of the China Inland Mission; Morgan & Scott. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1918). Heirs Together of the Grace of Life: Benjamin Broomhall and Amelia Hudson Broomhall. London: Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1919). John Whiteford Stevenson, One of Christ's Stalwarts. London: Morgan & Scott and CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. Selling All to Buy The Field. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1923). F. W. Baller, a Master of the Pencil. London: CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1923). Marshall Feng: A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ. London: CIM and Religious Tract Society. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1924). Robert Morrison, A Master Builder. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1926). W. W. Cassells, First Bishop in Western China. London: CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1929). Hudson Taylor, the Man Who Believed God. London: CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1930). Archibald Orr Ewing, That Faithful and Wise Steward. London: CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1931). Hudson Taylor's Legacy. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1933). Our Seal: The Witness of the China Inland Mission to the Faithfulness of God. London: CIM and Religious Tract Society. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1933). To What Purpose?. London: CIM. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1934). The Bible in China. London: CIM and Religious Tract Society. 
  • Broomhall, Marshall B. (1936). By Love Compelled: The Call of the China Inland Mission. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Hudson Taylor's Choice Sayings. China Inland Mission. 
  • Clements, Ronald (2007). Point Me to the Skies:the amazing story of Joan Wales. Monarch. 
  • Clements, Ronald (2010). In Japan the Crickets Cry (Biography of Steve Metcalf). Monarch. 
  • Cliff, Norman (1998). A Flame of Sacred Love. OM Publishing. 
  • Cole, R. Alan (1961). Emerging pattern. CIM work in the Diocese of Singapore and Malaya. London: China Inland Mission / Overseas Missionary Fellowship. p. 48. 
  • Cromarty, Jim (2001). It Is Not Death to Die. Christian Focus. 
  • Crossman, Eileen (1982). Mountain Rain – A New Biography of James O. Fraser. OMF. 
  • Day, Phyllis (1968). Sold twice. the story of a girl in West Malaysia. (Illustrator) Nancy Harding, (Original story) Norah Rowe. London: OMF. p. 31. 
  • Glover, Archibald E. (2000). A Thousand Miles of Miracle. Sevenoaks: OMF Publishing. 
  • Griffiths, Valerie (2004). Not Less Than Everything. Oxford: Monarch Books & OMF International. 
  • Guinness, Mary Geraldine (1889). In the Far East. 
  • Guinness, Mary Geraldine (1894). The Story of the China Inland Mission. I. Morgan & Scott. 
  • Guinness, Mary Geraldine (1894). The Story of the China Inland Mission. II. Morgan & Scott. 
  • Houghton, Stanley, Edith B. Harman, and Margaret Pyle (1931). Chefoo. London: CIM. 
  • Hunt, Gillian (1987). All the pieces fit. Singapore: OMF. pp. 28–157. 
  • Hunter, Edward (1956). The Story of Mary Liu. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Kuhn, Isobel (2001). Green Leaf In Drought: The Story of the Escape of the Last CIM Missionaries from Communist China. Littleton, Colorado: OMF International. 
  • Kuhn, Isobel (1960). In The Arena. Chicago: Moody Press. 
  • Lees, Shirley (1979). Drunk before dawn. OMF. ISBN 0-85363-128-X. 
  • Lees, Shirley P. (1964). Jungle Fire. Oliphants. p. 94. 
  • Lees, Shirley and Bill (1987). Is it sacrifice?. OMF/IVP/STL. p. 192. ISBN 9971-972-53-0. 
  • Lyall, Leslie T. (1956). Come Wind, Come Weather. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Lyall, Leslie T. (1965). A Passion for the Impossible: The Continuing Story of the Mission Hudson Taylor Began. London: OMF Books. 
  • Lyall, Leslie T. (1961). Red Sky at Night. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Martin, Gordon (1990). Chefoo School, 1881-1951: A History and a Memoir. Braunton Devon, UK: Merlin Books Ltd. 
  • Michell, David (1988). A Boy's War. Singapore: Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Newton, Brian William (1988). A new dawn over Sarawak: the church and its mission in Sarawak, East Malaysia. MA theses. Fuller Theological Seminary. p. 198. 
  • Nightingale, Ken (1970). One way through the jungle. OMF/BEM. 
  • Peterson, Robert (1970) [1968]. Roaring Lion. Spiritism in Borneo challenged by the power of Christ. Overseas Missionary Fellowship. 
  • Pollock, John (1965). Hudson & Maria; Pioneers In China. 
  • The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company. 1911. 
  • Rusha, Gladys (1969). Truth to tell in Borneo. Oliphants. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1865). China, Its Spiritual Need and Claims : with Brief Notices of Missionary Effort, Past and Present. London: J. Nisbet. 
  • Taylor, Dr. & Mrs. Howard (1932). Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. London: China Inland Mission. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1865–1895). After Thirty Years. London: CIM. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1893). Union and Communion. London: CIM. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1894). A Retrospect. London: CIM. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1898). Separation and Service. London: CIM. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (1899). A Ribband of Blue. London: CIM. 
  • Taylor, James Hudson (2006). The Collected Works of J. Hudson Taylor. Dust & Ashes Publications. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1902). One of China's Christians. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1913). Borden of Yale '09. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (c. 1920). Pearl's Secret. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1922). With P’u and His Brigands. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1930). Guinness of Honan. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1932). Faith's Venture. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1935). The Triumph of John and Betty Stam. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1938). By Faith: biography of Henry Frost. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1941). Sirs, Be of Good Cheer. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1934). Margaret King’s Vision. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard. A Story Without End. 
  • Taylor, Mrs. Howard (1942). Behind The Ranges : Fraser of Lisuland S.W. China. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis (2000). M. E. Tewksbury, ed. China: The Reluctant Exodus. Littleton, Colorado: OMF International. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis (1982). Each to Her Post: Six Women of the China Inland Mission. Sevenoaks: Hodder and Stoughton. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Proving God. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. They Seek A City. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Beaten Gold. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. D. E. Hoste "A Prince With God". 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Minka and Margaret. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Within A Yard of Hell. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. The Midnight Patrol. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Mister Leprosy. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. Capturing Voices. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. The Rainbow or the Thunder. 
  • Thompson, Phyllis. To the Heart of the City. 
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.