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International Association for Mission Studies Records

Call Number: RG 199

Scope and Contents

The "Archives Index" used by IAMS lists the following categories: 0. Manual, 1. Conferences, 2. Members, 3. Executive Committee, 4. Groups, 5. Administration, 6. Publications, 7. Liaison, 8. Projects, 9. Miscellaneous. Of these categories, numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 were received in 2005. Materials added in 2012 bring much of the documentation up to date. Some of the more recent materials spread across the series listed here are held exclusively in electronic form. See: Administration, Secretariat, Document Record.

The Conference records of Series I include records for all of the IAMS conferences, including some photos. Density of material archived varies widely from conference to conference. Records related to Members in Series II include correspondence, applications for membership, address lists, membership directories, and questionnaires. The Executive Committee and other organizational records in Series III include meeting minutes, correspondence and papers dating from 1955 to 2012, including early memos and reports proposing the formation of the organization.

Documentation of Special Interest Groups in Series IV includes material related to the Documentation, Archives, and Bibliography group (DAB), Women in Mission, Biblical Studies and Mission (BISAM).

Administration records in Series V are divided into two broad categories. One part dates from 1976 to 1990 and is primarily financial in nature. In a second part, there are records relating to changes in the organization's constitution as well as documentation of the transfer of the secretariat and organizational records dating from 1970-2012.

Series VI, Publications, consists of correspondence relating to subscription to the IAMS periodical, Missions Studies, volumes of this periodical, IAMS brochures, issues of the IAM News Letter, and issues of IAMS Matters. The collection includes a complete run of Missions Studies through 2012 in addition to the holdings of Missions Studies held in the Yale Divinity School's regular cataloged collection.


  • 1955-2014


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the International Association for Mission Studies, 2005-2012, and Gerald Anderson, 2012


  1. I. Conferences
  2. II. Membership Records
  3. III. Organizational and Policy Records
  4. IV. Special Interest Groups
  5. V. Administration
  6. VI. Publications


20 Linear Feet (49 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


These materials represent the official archives of the International Association for Mission Studies from its formation through 2012. IAMS is an international, inter-confessional, and interdisciplinary professional society for the scholarly study of Christian witness and its impact in the world. The association was inaugurated in 1972 at Driebergen, the Netherlands. From 1972 to 2012, IAMS held thirteen international conferences on five continents.

Biographical / Historical

For a full history of the International Association for MIssion Studies, see Witness to World Christianity : the international association for mission studies, 1972-2012, by Gerald H. Anderson (New Haven, CT : OMSC Publications, 2012.)

In a 1993 historical essay on the International Association for Mission Studies, Joachim Wietzke wrote, "The idea of IAMS was born at the Egede Institute in Oslo, Norway. As early as 1951 its director, Olav Guttorm Myklebust, published a booklet "An International Institute of Scientific Missionary Research". In this the author proposed to set up an institute with the following three objectives: 1) to establish and "international association of missiologists; 2) to organize international conferences for the discussion of missionary subjects" in a strictly scientific spirit"; 3) to publish a "scholarly review of high standards." The argument, hardly to be debated, was: Missionary research by its very nature is global in scope and thus needs an international structure.

The proposal met with a positive response from various outstanding missiologists, both Roman Catholics and Protestants like T. Ohm, J. Beckmann, K. S. Latourette, R. P. Beaver, E. A. Payne, and S. Neill. Others, e.g. Charles W. Ranson and W. Freytag, supported the idea of a flexible instrument like regular conferences, but saw no need for a permanent structure like an institute or an association.

In spite of further attempts by O. G. Myklebust to establish an "International Association for the Scientific Study of the Christian World Mission" nothing actually moved towards the implementation of this idea for more than a decade. Considerable opposition seems to have come from German scholars who showed little interest in dialogue with Anglo-Saxon and with American missiology in particular.

However the proposal to create some kind of "a worldwide interconfessional missiological society" was taken up by the "European Consultation on Mission Studies" in 1968 at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. This led to a conference in Oslo in 1970, where the unanimous decision was taken to establish the International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS) with the objectives "to promote the scholarly study of theological, historical, social and practical questions relating to mission, to promote fellowship, co-operation and mutual assistance in its study, and to relate studies in mission to studies in theological and other fields". The first President elected was H-W. Gensichen with A. Camps OFM being the Vice President and O. G. Myklebust serving as the first Secretary and Treasurer."

Other individuals who have served as Secretary of the association are A.F. Walls, F. J. Verstraelen, J. Wietzke, K. Schafer, B. Nygaard, F. Dokman, J. Van Butselaar and C. Ross. The secretariat of the organization has moved around to the home cities of the secretaries.

IAMS has held the following major assemblies since its formation:

  1. 1972 - I. Driebergen, Netherlands
  2. 1974 - II. Frankfurt, Germany :"Mission and Movements of Innovation"
  3. 1976 - III. San Jose;, Costa Rica:"Tradition and Reconstruction in Mission: Where are We in Mission Today?"
  4. 1978 - IV. Maryknoll, New York, USA:"Credibility and Spirituality in Mission"
  5. 1982 - V. Bangalore, India:"Christ's Mission to the Multitudes: Salvation, Suffering and Struggle"
  6. 1985 - VI. Harare, Zimbabwe:"Christian and Human Transformation"
  7. 1988 - VII. Rome, Italy:"Christian Mission Towards the Third Millenium: The Gospel of Hope"
  8. 1992 - VIII. Kaneohe, Hawaii: "New World New Creation: Mission in Power and Faith".
  9. 1996 - IX. Buenos Aires, Argentina: "God and Mammon: Economies in Conflict"
  10. 2000 - X. Hammanskraall, South Africa:"Reflecting Jesus Christ: Crucified and Living in a Broken World".
  11. 2004 - XI. Port Dickson, Malaysia: "Mission and Movements of Innovation"
  12. 2008 - XII. Lake Balaton, Hungary: “Human Identity and the Gospel of Reconciliation: Agenda for Mission Studies and Praxis in the 21st Century”
  13. 2012 - XIII. Toronto, Canada: "Migration, Human Dislocation, and the Good News: Margins as the Centre in Christian Mission"
Guide to the International Association for Mission Studies Records
Compiled by Jon Kara Shields and Martha Lund Smalley
2005, 2010, 2012, 2017
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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