Although 1987 marks the year when INFEMIT officially formed as the International Fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians, 1980 claims its true beginnings at the Lausanne-sponsored gathering in Pattaya, Thailand. Feeling the dire need to grow in the integration of evangelism and social justice, as well as to give voice to churches in the non-Western world, an international group of evangelical theologians resolved to organize together in order to advance holistic, contextual mission theology not only for the worldwide evangelical community, but for the whole church. This holistic, contextual theology did its part to define “Mission as Transformation,” as it inspired the development of several structures, including the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Regnum Books International, and the journal Transformation, which continue their influence to this day. Early leaders of INFEMIT include the late Orlando Costas, Vinay Samuel, Rene Padilla, Chris Sugden, Melba Maggay, Ron Sider, David Gitari, Kwame Bediako, Tito Paredes and Tom Sine. INFEMIT’s first three gatherings were in Bangkok, Thailand in 1982, Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1984 and Kabare, Kenya in 1987 respectively.
Building on the solid foundation of INFEMIT’s accomplishments, today’s effort to revitalize its work seeks to make “Mission as Transformation” relevant for the 21st century.
Dr. Luis Bush provides a brief history of INFEMIT, its phases, and the role the fellowship has played in shaping current global theology.
For a more detailed account, see Chris Sugden, “Mission as Transformation: It’s Journey among Evangelicals since Lausanne I,” in Holistic Mission: God’s Plan for God’s People, eds. Brian Woolnough and Wonsuk Ma (Oxford et al.: Regnum, 2010), 31-36; Al Tizon, Transformation after Lausanne (Oxford et al.: Regnum, 2008), especially pp. 71-97.