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The Host Organization - World Mission Centre

World Mission Centre, which will be hosting the Global Consultation on World Evangelisation (GCOWE '97) in Pretoria, was established in South Africa in 1989 to mobilize local churches to heed the call to missions and to alert Christians from all race groups to the need and potentialities of the hour.

Willie and Lydia Crew began World Mission Centre in their home in Brooklyn, Pretoria, in 1989. A year later WMC moved to more spacious premises next to the Railway Station in Pretoria. A few months later, a mission school was launched. The students' training involved both theory and a great deal of "hands on" involvement. Daily they moved out into the streets to share the gospel. Soon the students and staff were also actively involved in distributing soup, bread and clothing to the needy people around them. Thus their Ministry to the Poor was born.

God also gave the World Mission Centre team a vision to reach taxi drivers with the gospel and then through them to reach the thousands of passengers who daily use this means of transport. In 1990 the team began visiting taxi ranks and distributing tapes containing gospel preaching and music to the taxi drivers. They found this to be an extremely effective form of evangelism as approximately 4.5 million South Africans commute by taxi every day. The vision mushroomed as more and more people across the country got involved. At present there are approximately 50 ongoing Gospel Taxi Club ministries across the country.

In April, 1991, World Mission Centre moved its base to the outskirts of Pretoria in order to provide accommodation for the increasing number of staff. It also functioned as a base from which relevant models in a changing South Africa could be sent.

During this time, World Mission Centre developed a successful project for the upliftment of local communities at Mmakaunyane, a settlement of destitute refugees north-west of Pretoria. This project aimed to uplift people physically and spiritually through training and teaching in various areas (e.g. skills training, job creation, church planting). This model was designed to serve as an inspiration to others and to be duplicated throughout South Africa and Africa.

Approximately 6000 people of all race groups and denominations attended the LSA Conference held in Pretoria, the capital city, from the 4th to the 9th of July 1995. 25 Nations were represented. Jointly hosted by the World Mission Centre and the Christian Students' Association, it was the largest missions conference Africa has ever seen !

During this celebration, 2800 people were commissioned for 1 - 3 week outreaches to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the Southern African nations. Then 17 000 Christians, gathered at a central place in the city, made a resounding declaration that the church in South Africa would take up the challenge of world missions. This has been the most potent statement ever made in South Africa concerning missions - a statement that will have eternal spiritual consequences.

In 1995, World Mission Centre decided to purchase its own building to cope with missions momentum in South Africa and to make allowances for the growth anticipated in the future. The new building, which is located in the centre of Pretoria, opposite the offices of the State President (the Union Buildings), provides offices and housing for the WMC staff.

With its non-racial leadership and its unique focus on the local church, World Mission Centre has set out to build a comprehensive, global, "local church-driven network" which focuses on the following areas :

It facilitates the networking of groups of local churches around a common missions strategy. The goal is to form "hubs" to facilitate missions activities in each of the 24 Southern African countries and 11 world regions by the year 2000.

The World Mission Centre has divided the world into 12 world regions. By means of the Gateway Project, it intends to open "gateways" in strategic cities in these world regions through which missionaries from Southern Africa can be channelled to reach the unreached people groups worldwide. Through the Bridges into Africa Project, WMC attempts to network with churches in the various Southern African countries (from the equator to Cape Town).

The Research Department launched an initiative during Love Southern Africa '95 to recruit people to do on-site research on the 100 most unreached or least reached people groups in the Southern and Central African region. Based on this research, the first 38 profiles were published in July this year.

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02/24/97