ISFM Distinctives

The International Society for Frontier Missiology (ISFM) has chosen to focus upon the remaining task in the world today still requiring the earlier type of “pioneer” work—for example, the initial-breakthrough type of mission activity. Its annual dues, $18, include a subscription to the International Journal of Frontier Missiology. Send that amount to: IJFM, 1539 E Howard St., Pasadena, CA 91104. (For more information about the IJFM, see

The ISFM reflects two major novelties. First, from the beginning it has intentionally not only attempted to attract both professors and executives but even more significantly to maintain its sponsorship from both younger and older people. That is, it is determined to be “intergenerational.” Ever since it was founded in 1986, this emphasis has been quite successful.

Another novelty of the ISFM is the very specific focus of the society. The scholarly field of missiology, broadly defined nowadays, includes not just going “where Christ is not named” but includes—and maybe even majors on—what happens in the mission fields after the church has been well established. That is, the field of domestic mission (albeit overseas, it is still domestic) from what used to be a pioneer mission focus.

In fact, both ASM and the EMS primarily focus on issues related to what most missionaries nowadays are actually doing—namely, working with national churches that were established “yesterday.” For most missions the period of consolidation following a pioneer phase has become so absorbing that many mission agencies in 1970 did not have even one missionary working in a field where there was not yet an established church movement. In the past few years, however, new focus on frontier peoples has become a movement reflected in the outreach of almost all missions.

Meanwhile, however, the various schools of missiology still mainly focus on the study of what could be called “follow through” missionary work, or what could be considered “interchurch missiology”