Skip to main content

Collection 218 Records of the Evangelical Missions Information Service

Identifier: CN 218

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, press releases, minutes, financial statements, reports, and photographs documenting the activities of the Evangelical Mission Information Service (EMIS), the publications arm of both the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association and the Interdenominational Foreign Missions Association. Activities documented include the publication of several mission periodicals, including Evangelical Missions Quarterly and Missionary News Service; organization of missionary conferences and workshops, including Missions in Creative Tension (1971) and Think Conference (1967); and Affinity Travel, a charter flight service; and interaction with various mission boards working in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.


  • Created: 1964-1981


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

Evangelical Missions Information Service, Inc. (EMIS) is described in the twelfth edition of MARC's Mission Handbook as an "interdenominational specialized service agency of evangelical tradition providing information service to mission executives, missionaries, professors, pastors, laymen, church and school libraries and overseas church leaders through publications, consultations, and workshops."

EMIS's history can be traced back to 1917 when the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA) was founded as a confederation of faith missions. In 1945, a similar organization for denominational as well as nondenominational missions was established in the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA). In 1980, IFMA listed some fifty member missions while the EFMA included eighty in its membership. Both organizations stated the sharing of information as a primary objective, and in 1954 each launched a digest of missionary news/prayer requests/reports/etc.: IFMA News and the EFMA's Missionary News Service.

In 1962, the idea of "a missionary digest magazine"--to quote IFMA minutes--was brought forward at the IFMA annual meeting. The following year, IFMA and EFMA approved a joint committee charged with the task of founding this magazine. On December 4, 1963, the Joint EFMA-IFMA Committee on Missions Quarterly" held its first meeting at the Christian Literature Crusade headquarters in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. This meeting was attended by EFMA representatives Horace L. Fenton, Jr., Kenneth Adams, and Wade T. Coggins; and IFMA representatives Edwin L. Frizen, Jr., Ralph B. Odman, and James W. Reapsome. This meeting established a Board of Directors of eight members (four from each association) and a stated purpose of the embryonic journal: "to glorify God through the encouragement and inspiration of evangelical Christians who are dedicated in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ to the proclamation of the Gospel of the Son of God to the whole world." The committee members christened the journal The Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ).

The Board of Directors in charge of EMQ formed a nonprofit corporation, which filed its Articles of Incorporation under District of Columbia law on March 26, 1964, and took the name Evangelical Missions Information Service. A 48-page pilot project was authorized on a budget for the first year of $8,600.00 (although no salaries were figured into this amount; fifteen years later, EMIS's budget was $79,000). James Reapsome was appointed as managing editor. By September 1964 a total of 2,747 subscriptions had been received, and the first issue of EMQ was published at four thousand copies in October.

In the words of EMIS itself, "In its long-range planning, the EMIS Board envisioned the launching of the Quarterly as the first step toward ultimate establishment of an evangelical information center for the gather and disseminating of strategic data and information which would benefit their member missions and missionaries." Although incorporated in 1964, it remained for several years only as the publisher of EMQ. The twenty-one mission executive delegates to the 1967 "Think Conference" at Glen Eyrie, Colorado, according to its report, "recommended that [EMIS] be charged to study the establishing of a research center, or to otherwise provide research services for evangelical missions..." The Conference sketched out the parameters of this Center and recommended action in order to achieve the goal. Osborne Buchanan was appointed Acting Director. In 1969, offices were moved to Wheaton, Illinois, and Vergil Gerber became the first Executive Director of the new EMIS Information Center. He was succeeded upon his retirement in 1981 by Associate Executive Director David A. Hoffer, who was in turn succeeded by James W. Reapsome in 1982.

With the establishment of the Information Center in 1969, EMIS grew rapidly as it took over the publication of other periodicals and developed further ones. In 1967, the first issue of Latin American Pulse appeared, under the auspices of the joint IFMA-EFMA Evangelical Committee on Latin America (ECLA); in 1970, EMIS assumed responsibility for this journal and that same year launched PULSE editions for Africa, Asia, and Europe. In 1972, Muslim World Pulse was added, as was Chinese World Pulse in 1977. In 1970, the reference periodical Emissary began publication and the same year the EFMA transferred Missionary News Service to EMIS production. In 1967, EMIS received another responsibility when it absorbed the functions of the Congress Continuing Committee--an outgrowth of the 1966 Congress on the Church's Worldwide mission held in Wheaton, Illinois.

Another concern of EMIS was the planning of consultations and workshops on mission-related topics. In 1970, EMIS coordinated two such affairs (actually sponsored by ECLA): the Elburn Consultation on Latin America (Elburn, Illinois) and the Haitian Consultation (Miami, Florida). The following year, EMIS directed a Major Study Conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin, involved with the single topic of church-mission relationships. This conference produced a comprehensive report of 384 pages published by William Carey Library, Missions in Creative Tension; The Green Lake '71 Compendium. Between 1972 and 1980, EMIS sponsored 73 evangelism/church growth workshops in fifty nations, beginning with a pilot experiment in Venezuela.

From 1972 to 1976, EMIS provided charter flight service for missionaries with Affinity Travel under the direction of former China missionary J. Morris Rockness, who was loaned by Overseas Missionary Fellowship for the project.


8 Boxes

2 Photograph Files

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement description, the notation, "folder 1-1" means box 1, folder 1]

The EMIS records are comprised of office files which reflect the activity of the organization, including its publication, conference-arrangement, and travel-arrangement functions. The filing system used by EMIS produced folders concerning various Evangelical organizations and events, each of which can be studied as a unit of material unto itself, or in relation to the collection as a whole.

Three loose-leaf notebooks (folders 6-15, 7-1, and 7-2) comprise the core of EMIS "official" documentation. Included here are copies of all meeting minutes, reports, etc., pertaining to the corporation known as EMIS. They are filed chronologically; however, nothing was entered between late 1964 and 1967. Folders 1-9 and 1-10 contain annual and semiannual reports of the director.

The initial focus of EMIS was the publication of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). Folders 3-19 to 4-10 cover a series of quarterly meetings of the editorial board, winter 1969 to winter 1972. These files contain manuscripts of submitted articles and correspondence about those articles. Some topics dealt with are:

Folder Topics

3-19 IFMA meeting's keynote address Missionaries and the Peace Corps Missionaries and the local church Faith mission financing Adult education in the Latin American church Church planting World Relief Commission

3-20 Carl McIntire Training of national workers in Malaysia Career vs. short-term mission service Religious freedom in Burma Mental health of missionaries

3-21 Lay ministry in churches Missionary recruitment Career vs. short-term missionaries Pastoral care of missionaries Mission strategy for the 1970's Buddhism

4-1 Middle class evangelism in Latin America Witnessing to Muslims Missionary health

4-2 Africa; Philippines; France Pentecostals in Italy Church growth Christian unity

4-3 Latin America; India; Africa; Middle East Western missionary impact on other cultures

4-4 Africa; Philippines; East Germany Pentecostals in Italy Radio work in Honduras Christian women in Africa Dance and drama in Asia

4-5 Medical missions Latin America

4-6 Belgium; Chile

4-7 Indonesia; Taiwan Mission-church relations Discipling Indians in South America The Barbadoes Declaration

4-8 Mission-church relations Seminary training Africa Inland Mission nationalized in Kenya Japan Dichotomy between evangelism and social action

4-9 Cross-cultural communications West Indies Conflict management

4-10 Communications Christian education in the Philippines Black American contribution to foreign missions Reprints of various articles from EMQ produced en masse for separate distribution can be found in folder 1-11. Most were authored by Vergil Gerber or James Reapsome.

Missionary News Service (MNS), a sorting house for evangelical mission news global in scope, was first published in 1954 and taken over by EMIS in 1970. Collection 218 includes a complete run of MMS, 1975-1980 (folders 6-4 to 6-9), lacking 1976 issues 9, 20, and 21, and 1980 issue 5. Folders 8-2 to 8-5 concern issues of Pulse, edited by C. Peter Wagner and published since 1967, which were being put together in 1972-1973. These files roughly parallel the EMQ editorial board series, described above, in content. Folder 3-10 contains extensive correspondence with editor Wagner, 1967-1969. A further set of publications of EMIS were the "Special Reports" produced for distribution to missionaries and organizations. See Container List, folders 8-10 to 8-22, for a list of the topics of these reports.

Records for two conferences sponsored by EMIS are included in Collection 218. The 1971 "Missions in Creative Tension" study conference (held September 27 to October 1 in Green Lake, Wisconsin) is thoroughly documented in folders 5-4 to 5-14. Vergil Gerber coordinated the assembly of 406 delegates from 106 missions; eighteen key national leaders from fourteen countries served as resource personnel for this intensive inspection of "the problems and possible solutions of church-mission tensions." Folder 5-15 contains information about the 1970 consultation on Haitian missions. Another conference, not sponsored by EMIS but heavily influenced by it, was the 1967 "Think Conference" held in Glen Eyrie, Colorado (folder 8-27). This file includes texts of papers delivered at the meetings. See also folder 6-10, National Liberty Foundation, which was a sponsor of the Think Conference. There are also several files on the 1966 Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission (folders 2-15 through 3-4). Folder 4-17 contains the 1970 "Frankfurt Declaration on the Fundamental Crisis in Christian Mission," which was written in the style of the 1966 Wheaton Declaration prepared by the Congress just mentioned. Included in the folder are worldwide reactions to the declaration.

Folders 1-2 to 1-7 detail EMIS involvement with "Affinity Travel" charter flight service, which in its years of operation (1972-1976) realized a savings of thousands of dollars to EFMA/IFMA member missions. This set of files offers a complete documentation on the function of Affinity Travel. Folder 1-6, "Records Prior to Charter Program," is actually several individual files which were bound together with this note of explanation: "Virgil [Gerber]: I think for your records (at least for a year or two more) you will want to keep these files. They give the background to EMIS beginnings in the charter program. J. M[oris] R[ockness]." For reasons of provenance, these files have been catalogued as a unit.

General correspondence (folders 4-18 to 5-3) is available for 1970 to 1977. The 1971-1974 correspondence has circulation records interfiled within it. Circulation files for 1975 were not present in the accessioned material; those for 1976 and 1978 were discarded and the files for 1977 retained (folders 2-1 to 2-4) as representative of this type of material. In the unprocessed accession, there was general correspondence 1975 to 1977 for L-Z only; folders for A-K were received, but empty.

The "organizations" series (folders 7-3 to 7-31) contains correspondence, publications, and other information concerning various mission boards with whom EMIS had dealings--see Container List for names of boards. A comprehensive view of Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society work is found in folder 3-5. Collection 218 also contains several files on organizations concerned with Latin American mission work. Difusiones InterAmericanas (folder 3-12) discusses Evangelical electronic communications--radio and television; folder 8-7, Servicio Evangelico de Infomacion, contains scattered issues, numbers 5 through 35, of the information bulletin by that name, published in Uruguay by Unidad Evangelica Latino Americano de Evangelismo held in San Antonio, Texas. EMIS interest in Latin America is reflected in the number of folders whose contents are substantially in Spanish, including 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 3-8, 3-12, 5-26, 8-7, 8-8, and 8-28. Folder 5-30 has information about relief work done in Nicaragua when its capitol city, Managua, was leveled by an earthquake late in 1972. The Catholic Inter-American Cooperation Program (CICOP), sponsored by the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Latin America, in cooperation with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Episcopal Council of Latin america is documented in folders concerning two successive annual meetings. The theme of the fourth annual meetings (1967, folder 1-3) was "The Integration of Man and Society in Latin America: A Christian View." The theme of the fifth (1968, folder 1-14) was "Cultural Factors in Inter-American Relationships: Bond or Barrier?" A thick file of correspondence, addresses, and articles to, from, and about James and Margaret Goff (folder 3-9) discusses United States missionary effort viewed as an extension of American imperialism, supporting vicious "rightest regimes" in Latin America under the mask of anti-communism. Countries covered include Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and Uruguay. There is extensive material on liberation theology. The Goffs were associated with Latinamerica Press, the English language publication of Noticlas Aliadas, in Lima, Peru.

Folder 8-24, "Strictly Confidential," includes material about the joint EFMA/ IFMA Evangelical Committee on Latin America, Oral Roberts' evangelistic work in Chile, and communist infiltration in Colombia.

In 1971, Vergil Gerber traveled through South America. Folder 8-9 documents this tour and provides material on the Andes Evangelical Mission in Bolivia, Liberia "El Inca" in Peru, and Evangelical Literature Overseas (ELO). A 1972 tour of Europe and Africa is detailed in folder 3-13, which includes information on the Evangelical Alliance in Great Britain, the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, Evangeliums Rundfunk (German voice of Trans World Radio), church mission relations in Germany, the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar, and the International Institute of Christian Communications (in Nairobi, Kenya).

Folder 6-2, "Miscellaneous papers," includes the following articles in typescript and mimeograph form: Andreas Kirk, "El Hombre en el Debate Entre el Christianism y el Marxismo," 1974. Felipe Guerena Arajho, "Breve Estudio de la Filosofia Historica de Marx," 1974. George Patterson, "Practical Steps to Apply Biblical Extension Principles," n.d. "Basis for Change in Theological Education," n.d. "Case Studies on Evangelism and Church Planting," 1978. Ralph D. Winter, "Seeing the Task Geographically," 1974. Charles B. Elkje, "The Launching Pad: The Local Church Can Evangelize the World," 1975. Harvie M. Conn, "Bibliography on Black Theology," 1975. Vergil Gerber, Review of So That's What Missions Is All About by Wade Coggins, 1975. C. Peter Wagner, "Sharpening Issues in Church Growth," 1974.

Folder 6-3, "Miscellaneous Publications," includes single and in some cases two or three issues of various evangelical periodicals. Among the publishing organizations are: Advent Christian Missions Ambassadors for Christ, Inc. Asia Information Office Asia Theological Association Asian Outreach Assembly of God Foreign Missions Association of Evangelical Bible Institutes and Colleges of Africa and Madagascar Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar Coordinating Office for Asian Evangelism Ecumenical Press Service Full Gospel Central Church (Korea) Good News Crusades Institute of Church Growth Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association InterVarsity Christian Fellowship La Biblia en Americana Latina Latin American Theological Fraternity Sudan Interior Mission Theological Education by Extension Thomas More Association United Presbyterian Center for Mission Studies West Indian Mission World Evangelical Fellowship World Vision, International Youth Today Folder 5-16 contains eleven scattered issues of the secular British-published weekly Himmat: Asia's Voice, an Asian news digest.

Communications, specifically in the electronic media, was the topic of the 1978 "First European Evangelical Communication Conference" (folder 4-15). The file includes texts of papers presented at the conference and packets of materials for seven seminars covering: communication in music and art, radio, television, counseling and follow-up, technical considerations, management of communication organizations, and dissemination of news and information.

A few miscellaneous folders merit some explanation of their contents:

Folder Description

1-8 News releases about the Agape Movement, directed by Larry Poland, and founded in 1973 under the auspices of Campus Crusade for Christ.

1-15 A small body of material documenting a 1975 project undertaken by a missions class at Westminster Seminary, studying church growth among the Orthodox Presbyterian Congregations of New Jersey.

3-11 C. Peter Wagner's dictionary of evangelical acronyms in organizations' names.

6-13 File on OCEAN, "Organization of Continuing Education for American Nurses."

8-29 Robert Vajko's thesis, "A History and Analysis of the Church--Planting Ministry of the Evangelical Alliance Mission in France from 1952 to 1974," Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1975.

Researchers should read the Container List in this guide for folder titles, of a self-explanatory nature, to complete a comprehensive overview of the material in this collection.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from EMIS between September, 1980 and June, 1982.

September 13, 1982

Galen R. Wilson

J. Nasgowitz

Revised: March 24, 1988

J. Nasgowitz

D. Shorey

Separated Materials

The following items have been given to the Evangelism & Missions Collection, Buswell Library:

Conservation Baptist Association of America. Directory of Churches, 1978.

Ethnologue. Richard S. Pittman, Editor. Santa Ana, CA: Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc., 1969.

Key 73: Congregational Resource Book. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, [1973].

The Missionary Manual. Springfield, MO: Assemblies of God Division of Foreign Missions, n.d.

Collection 218 Records of the Evangelical Missions Information Service
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US