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Historical Timeline of Christian Missions

A timeline of notable people and events in Christian mission work.
by

Emily Hardy

on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of Historical Timeline of Christian Missions

By Emily Hardy Historical Timeline
of Christian Missions Philip Spener John Calvin 1631-1705 390-460 St. Patrick 1792 William Carey Specific Date Unavailable Women in Mission 1534 "How would you defend the idea that God uses historical figures and events to accomplish His mission in the world?" Each person that has contributed to the history of missions has helped to lead those who are currently serving in the right direction. Whether it be through learning from mistakes or using the strengths they had to help us in mission. Saying that these historical events and people aren't helping God to do His mission in the world would be like saying that God can't use people at all. We learn from history so that we can improve and do an even better job at serving God and fulfilling His will. Edinburgh 1910 John Wycliffe 1380 St. Patrick was born in approximately 390. His contributions to missions include reaching out to the entire Irish nation after being kidnapped and working as a slave in Ireland. He could be considered one of the first major missionaries in history. His creative approach to ministry in the Celtic culture is notable in learning how to reach out to different cultures in ways they are responsive to. He is also known for having incredible faith and optimism in his ministry especially after being kidnapped and living in slavery. His life and ministry are an encouragement to all denominations and races striving to share the gospel. Considered the greatest biblical scholar of his day, John Wycliffe was an important contributor to the Church and missions movement. He believed that God had ultimate authority and not the Church or state (Pope). His greatest accomplishment would be the translation of the Bible into English. This translation led to a focus on vernacular language which eventually led to distribution of the Bible in many other languages (at the time was a very radical idea). Calvin could be given much credit for the success of Pentecostalism. He emphasized encouraging people to find their spiritual gifts and use them in ministry. The movement of Calvinism also created church governance including laymen and pastors. He was considered to be more aggressive than Luther in mission work and made a huge contribution to educational academies. He was also the author of "The Institutes of the Christian Religion" which is still regarded as an influential piece of writing. Philip Spener was the leader of the Puritanism movement. He drew importance to catechetical instruction for youth and started group meetings for those looking to grow in their faith. This was the beginning of the idea of "small group" meetings to informally discuss Scripture. These small groups also encouraged people and genders of all different social classes and standings to come together to grow in Christ. Spener also focused on the separation of Church and State and provoked thoughts about whether it was good to put the two together or not. William Carey is called the "Father of the Protestant Missionary Movement" because of the role he played in modern missions. He was an intellectual who taught himself Hebrew, Greek, Latin and taught school all while holding a job mending shoes. Carey wrote his Enquiry which used the phrase "use means" to mean "form a mission society" which is exactly what he did. Most noted would be his creation of "The Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Heathen." "Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God." Pierson calls the conference in Edinburgh "one of the great landmarks in missionary movement." Held in Edinburgh, Scotland over 1200 delegates from both denominational and multi-denominational mission structures were present. This conference was very "visional" and included a large diversity of attendees. It led to several missions movements including the International Missionary Council (mission), the Life and Work Movement (social concerns), and Faith and Order (theology). Eventually the Life and Work Movement and Faith and Order resolved to become the World Council of Churches. Although this isn't regarded as a specific person or movement, I felt that it was important to mention the role that women played in the history of missions. Some earlier influential women were Ruth Tucker ("Guardians of the Great Commission" 1988), Mary Webb, R. Pierce Beaver (first significant written work on women in mission 1968), Dana Robert ("American Women in Mission" 1996), Hannah Stillman, Ann Hasseltine Judson, Harriet Newell, and many others. Each of these women led incredible movements in mission or made significant contributions in sharing the Gospel.
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