Simpson’s Top Ten


For years a popular late-night television host has featured a “top-10 list” of observations about current events. His remarks are not only humorous but also provoke us to think about serious issues from an unusual perspective. While viewers may not relate to everything on the list, they usually resonate with at least one item.

In January 1882 A. B. Simpson compiled a top-10 list of his own. His young publication, The Word, The Work and The World, issued a call for “a new missionary movement.” In a brief article Simpson proclaimed the urgent need for “a new missionary organization for the special purpose of evangelizing, within the present generation, the unoccupied fields of the world.”

Simpson outlined 10 special features and aims of this movement (_The Word, The Work and The World,_ January 1882, p. 34):

  1. To send the Gospel to the unoccupied fields of the world.
  2. To evangelize the heathen masses everywhere by itinerant preaching and missionary journeys.
  3. To employ men called of the Holy Ghost and consecrated to this work.
  4. To employ not only ministers, but all humble devoted men and women who possess the requisite qualifications.
  5. To open a missionary training school for the specific preparation of the laborers before they go out.
  6. To work on the most economical principles, and combine the principle of self-support wherever practicable.
  7. To depend upon God in faith and prayer to give all needed power and success, and to supply the resources through the voluntary contributions of Christians and otherwise as He chooses.
  8. To unite members of all evangelical Churches, and to bear no denominational name but only that of Jesus.
  9. To recognize and proclaim to the world the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as the hope of the Church and the age; and to labor for the preparation of the world for that approaching event.
  1. To claim a mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost “upon all flesh” and the full endowment and gifts promised to the Church for the confirmation of the Word and the work of the Gospel, according to the special promise given in the Scriptures for these last days.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance grew out of this vision, and today The Alliance is working in 81 countries. Simpson recognized the challenges that come with a God-sized vision and the importance of preparing workers for service both overseas and at home. His call for a school where men and women could receive “a simple specific missionary training of one or two years” was the beginning of yet another movement in North America—the Bible college movement.

Throughout Alliance history, our institutions of higher education have been the backbone of ministry preparation. Today we have 125 Bible schools and seminaries around the world training men and women to serve in God’s Kingdom. All our colleges have adapted to changes in our culture and society, but they still hold to the main mission of academic excellence and spiritual formation.

Today our higher-education institutions prepare men and women not only for careers in ministry but also for a variety of other professions. We want to develop healthy, godly leaders with a Christian worldview who will glorify Christ in whatever avenue the Lord leads them.

During my time as a college president, I was blessed by the high caliber and passion of our students. Now, in my new role, I have the honor of visiting many who have been trained at Alliance schools and are serving around the world. Whether in ministry or the marketplace, these men and women are making an impact for the Kingdom, just as Simpson hoped for more than 125 years ago.

Simpson was impressed by the need and urgency to equip men and women—both clergy and laypeople—to live godly lives and reach lost people everywhere with the good news about Jesus Christ. His top-10 list probably won’t be quoted on our television shows, but its influence is still being felt as healthy leaders are serving in healthy churches around the world, resulting in a bountiful harvest to the glory of God.

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