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HQ Trivial?

Ministries find a central hub is less and less essential to taking the gospel global.
HQ Trivial?
Image: Mike Ellis

When the owners of Ralph D. Winter’s missions mecca opted to sell much of it, they weren’t just parting from the California campus that long housed the late missiologist’s US Center for World Mission (now Frontier Ventures).

Frontier Ventures and the affiliated William Carey International University (WCIU) were also saying goodbye to the traditional notion of a single headquarters for their global ministry—instead adapting, like many missions groups have, to base more of their efforts outside the United States.

“We’re envisioning multiple collaboration points globally—closer to where the Global South sending movements are, closer to where the unreached people groups are—in order to disperse the DNA this place is known for,” said WCIU president Kevin Higgins.

He and Frontier Ventures president Fran Patt believe the move to decentralize best positions their organizations to carry on Winter’s call to minister to the world’s unreached people groups. That’s how they explained their decision to sell to the disappointed alumni and supporters who donated decades ago to secure the then-$15 million Pasadena property as the mission center’s permanent home.

Critics aren’t buying it and have spoken out against a deal announced in April with EF Education First, a global education company that plans to turn the missions headquarters into a boarding school in 2020. “They are secular, they are focused on business and government, and they are focused on preparing people to work in those realms in a global market,” said David Clancy, a former employee involved in the hundreds-strong Save the Campus campaign. “This is not at all about the gospel. ...

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