Hidden Biographical Facts

There is a biographical page about Dr. Ralph D. Winter that was written in 1978 to introduce him to the public following his founding of the United States Center for World Mission.  It is entitled “Meet the Director.”  A few sentences could be identified as lesser known facts about Dr. Winter that do not appear in the major biographical sketches about him.  He was involved in Youth for Christ as a youngster.  After graduating from college with his B.S. in Engineering, he taught at Westmont College for one year.  As a result of him attending the first Urbana meeting in Toronto, “he helped organize a pioneer non-professional missionary effort to Afghanistan.”

When Dr. Winter was serving on the mission field in western Guatemala among the Mayan Indians, he was the Executive Secretary of the Latin American Association of Theological Schools, Northern Region.  In 1967 Dr. Donald McGavran invited him to join the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission and he was one of only three professors then, with Dr. McGavran (the founding dean) and Dr. Alan Tippett originally from Australia.  He founded the American Society of Missiology during his Fuller years and it was the first society in the United States devoted to the study of missions.  Dr. Winter contributed articles regularly to Christian magazines like Eternity and Christianity Today.  He also participated in founding groups like the Association of Church Mission Committees (later known as Advancing Churches in Mission Commitment) and the Order for World Evangelization.

During the Fuller years also, Dr. Winter was doing intensive statistical research on the state of world missions and made some disturbing conclusions from it.  He discovered that 2.4 billion people, more than 84% of the world’s non-Christians in 1974, were being by-passed by then current Christian outreach.  Worse than this, no one had active plans to reach them.  These “accusing statistics” led Dr. Winter to found the U.S. Center for World Mission, which is “seeking to focus missions strategy and resources to reach these 2.4 billion forgotten people.”

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