Brief history of NMI

Norris Fitkin, first missions organization president

Susan Fitkin

NMI holds an international convention in conjunction with the quadrennial (once every four years) Nazarene General Assembly. While the NMI has its own global council composed of representatives from all world regions, it operates within the World Mission Office structure of the General Board.

  • 1899 - Women's Foreign Missionary Society organized in Providence, Rhode Island. Susan Fitkin (whose biography and story of a call to missions can be found on this web site) was one of the eight charter members. They raised $6.05 for missions that first year.

    Fitkin biography |  Fitkin's call to missions

  • 1915 - General Missionary Committee authorized by Nazarene General Assembly. Susan Fitkin was one of the three original members. The others were Ada Bresee from Los Angeles and Mrs. J.T. Benson from Nashville./
  • 1919 - Susan Fitkin elected general president
    Relief and Retirement Fund (now Medical Plan) offering instituted
    Memorial Roll begun to honored deceased loved ones and friends
  • 1921 - Box Work (now called LINKS) initiated to get local churches to ship personal items and ministry supplies to missionaries [ more on LINKS ]
    First Nazarene missionary picture set produced
  • 1923 - Women's Missionary Society Constitution placed in Nazarene Manual.
    General Budget (now called World Evangelism Fund) set up to unify denominational fund-raising efforts
  • 1924 - Prayer and Fasting League launched with an article in the April Other Sheep. Members were asked to give 25 cents per week.
    Requirements for Standard and Superior societies established
  • 1925 - Board of General Superintendents ask that the Prayer and Fasting League be devoted specifically to missions
  • 1927 - First adult missionary study book, Latin Americans, Our Southern Neighbors, published
  • 1928 - First General Convention. Name changed to Women's Foreign Missionary Society
  • Indian Head penny and nickel offering begun
  • 1934 - Missionary Training Course launched (forerunner of current annual NMI mission books)
  • 1936 - Foreign added to name to distinguish area of interest
  • 1940 - Emma Word named first full-time general secretary
    25th Anniversary Offering for Reynolds Memorial Bible School
    Louise Robinson Chapman, General NMI president

    Louise Robinson Chapman

    Mary Scott, NMI executive

    Mary Scott

    Wanda Knox, NMI

    Wanda Knox

    Phyllis Perkins, NMI

    Phyllis Perkins

  • 1946 - First issue of General Council Tidings (now called Focus)
  • 1948 - Louise Chapman Robinson succeeds Susan Fitkin as general president
  •    brief biography

  • 1949 - Alabaster Offering and "10%" emphasis launched [ Alabaster info ] [ more on 10% giving ]
  • 1950 - Former missionary (and prisoner of war in China during World War II) Mary Scott becomes executive secretary
  • 1952 - Name changed to Nazarene Foreign Missionary Society. Men invited to join.
    Star Society emphasis begun (replacing Standard Society)
  • 1953 - Spanish radio broadcast offering begun (now World Evangelism broadcast offering)
    Prayer Chart introduced with requests being written on a printed chart posted in local churches and then answers noted when news is received
  • 1954 - Denomination-wide offering to open work in Papua New Guinea
  • 1958 - Saturday night SKYWATCH promoted during denomination's 50th anniversary year. People were encouraged to pray one hour on Saturday night: 30 minutes for work on mission fields and 30 minutes for an unsaved loved one.
    Children's missionary lessons appear in Junior Topics
  • 1959 - Denomination-wide children's offering to open work in Samoa
  • 1964 - Name changed to Nazarene World Missionary Society
    50th Anniversary Offering to build Papua New Guinea hospital
  • 1965 - Recordings of mission book sets appear for first time
  • 1966 - Denomination's first-ever construction mission trip (from Southern Nazarene University to Muzquiz, Mexico)
  • 1975 - Wanda Knox succeeds Mary Scott [ Knox biography ]
  • 1972 - First male, Paul Gamertsfelder, elected to what is now the General NMI council
  • 1974 - Men in Missions (now called Work & Witness) program introduced
  • 1975 - The Other Sheep changed to World Mission magazine
  • 1976 - Distinguished Service Award introduced
    Star Society program changed to Mission Award
    Number of international representatives on General Council expanded
  • 1980 - Name changed to Nazarene World Mission Society
    Phyllis Hartley Brown Perkins succeeds Wanda Knox
  • 1981 - Telephone Prayer Mobilization Line inaugurated
  • 1982 - Denomination-wide offering to begin work in Venezuela
  • 1986 - Nina Gunter named to succeed Phyllis Hartley Brown Perkins as general director [ photo and passion statement ]
    First issue of HeartLine
    Compassionate Ministries added to calendar of emphases
  • 1989 - One Million Hours of prayer plan for General Assembly and Conventions
  • 1990 - Denomination-wide offering for evangelism in Hong Kong / Chinese communities world-wide in celebration of NMI's 75th anniversary
    Global Glimpses, a Sunday bulletin insert, introduced
  • 1991 - First Youth Mission Commitment Day sponsored jointly by NMI and NYI
    Award of Excellence for World Evangelism Fund overpayment launched
    Bibles for Russia project
  • 1992 - Special World Mission Radio offering in honor of Louise Chapman Robinson's 100th birthday
  • 1994 - MedCare Pak program formed with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, first shipment goes to Mozambique
  • 1995 - World Mission Video Magazine begins production
    Prayer Mobilization Line expands to e-mail delivery
    Casa Robles 50th Anniversary Project
  • 1996 - Nazarene World Week of prayer begun annually in March
  • 1997 - Children's "Wings for the Gospel" project to purchase an airplane
    General Budget changed to World Evangelism Fund
    Bev Borbe elected as general president [ photo ]
    Denominational participation in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
  • 2001 - Organization name change to Nazarene Missions International; Former missionary Eunice Brubaker elected as General President
  • 2005 - Following the election of Nina Gunter as a Nazarene General Superintendent, missionary Dan Ketchum is elected as NMI General Director

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658

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