Serving In Mission
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2012)|
|Founded||1893 by Walter Gowans and Rowland Bingham (Canada) and Thomas Kent (United States)|
|Method(s)||Christian Missionary Outreach|
|Members||1,800 missionaries serving in more than 43 countries on 5 continents (2008)|
SIM is an international, interdenominational Christian mission organization. It was established in 1893 by its three founders, Walter Gowans and Rowland Bingham of Canada and Thomas Kent of the United States. The initials originally stood for "Soudan Interior Mission," Soudan being an older spelling of the Sudan region of West Africa. After various name changes and mergers, the mission simply goes by "SIM" today. In French-speaking countries it is known as "Société Internationale Missionnaire." It is made up of united organizations that began more than 100 years ago, including Africa Evangelical Fellowship, Andes Evangelical Mission, International Christian Fellowship and Sudan Interior Mission.
In 2008 SIM had about 1,800 active missionaries, from 37 countries serving in over 43 countries in 5 continents (principally South America, Africa and Asia).
SIM's international headquarters are located in Fort Mill, South Carolina (just outside Charlotte, North Carolina). Sending offices are located in Australia, Canada, France, South Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, Belgium, Singapore, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States.
In 1893 Walter Gowans, Rowland Bingham and Thomas Kent landed in Lagos, Nigeria. Their aim was to evangelize the 'Soudan' region of Africa. Though Gowans and Kent died of malaria, Bingham survived and returned to his home in Canada. He came down with fever on his second attempt and returned home, but he sent out a third team which finally established a base 500 miles inland in 1902. After a base was eventually set up, the mission branched out into other countries in West Africa, and then in the 1920s, to East Africa. Until 1998, SIM had worked in Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Togo.
The work of AEM (Andes Evangelical Mission) began in 1907, when a couple from New Zealand began to work in Bolivia. AEM joined with SIM in 1982, and the work expanded to a new continent, South America, in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
In the 1890s, two other small missions were formed to work in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), South India, and in the Philippines.
They later joined forces and became the International Christian Fellowship (ICF). In 1989, ICF merged with SIM. Today SIM works in Bangladesh, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines and Pakistan.
In 1998, AEF merged with SIM. AEF (Africa Evangelical Fellowship) began in 1879, when a wealthy South African-born widow living in England read of the plight of soldiers in military camps in her home country, and went to Cape Town to open a soldiers' home there.
From this root, a mission was formed, and in 1889, the Cape General Mission began. After the Boer War, the Mission, now known as the South African General Mission, began to expand into parts of southern Africa, and then to islands in the Indian Ocean.
In 1965, the mission became known as the Africa Evangelical Fellowship. In 1998, AEF joined with SIM, and the work of the newly merged Mission embraced Angola, Botswana, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, bringing the total of countries in which SIM is active to more than 43.
The purpose of SIM includes planting, strengthening and partnering with churches around the world in order to:
- Minister to human needs
- Disciple Christians into churches
- Train and Equip churches in ministry and outreach