There were no balloons, no champagne. Instead, the birth of Crosslinks was a quiet affair.
In October 1922, a group of believers met ‘with sadness of heart’ as they clung in faith to their deepest held convictions. It was time to leave an older, more established organisation, one they regarded ‘with affectionate or even passionate devotion’.
Just over a hundred years before, two-dozen men had met to found the Church Missionary Society (CMS). This society sent out men and women across the globe, taking the gospel of Christ to those who had yet to hear the good news. William Wilberforce, one of those involved from the start, pushed for the new missionaries to hold fast to the authority of Scripture and point to the saving work of Christ.
However, a century on and the society hit rocky ground. Theological liberalism took hold in England and CMS leaders pushed for a loosening in requirements regarding the faith beliefs and practices of missionaries.
Determined that the society must not scrap its original principles and purposes, a group of CMS members realised that they had to make a decisive break. So, in 1922, Crosslinks was born (then known as the Bible Churchman’s Missionary Society). With fresh energy and determination, men and women were sent off to new ground and the new society became a strong voice in strengthening Anglican churches at home and abroad.
Some of the first Crosslinks missionaries were sent to China, India, Burma, the Arctic and Iran. A few years later, work extended in Asia and into Africa, Europe and, more recently, South America and Australia. Since those early days, men and women have proclaimed the gospel of salvation in Christ in a variety of contexts in over 50 countries. On top of this, local and national churches have been resourced and encouraged for mission through a range of projects and training courses.
As we approach the Crosslinks centenary, we can say that God has been faithful to that small group who decided to break from CMS. Today Crosslinks continues to retain the vision it started with, to bring God’s word to God’s world, ‘on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus’ (Revelation 1:9). We pray for that same sense of purpose and uncompromising determination to be faithful in our day and generation.