A giant of Missions work and thinking, Ralph Winter, recently passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 84. Time Magazine listed him among the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America in 2005. He has been a huge influence on my life, ministry, and thinking. Much of my understanding concerning world missions and unreached people groups has come from his ministry vision. We also share the experience of both being US Navy veterans.
His story is an amazing one. According to his autobiography, he started the US Center for World Missions without backers, no denomination, not even a single congregation, no mailing list, and only about $100 in cash. They went from this to a $40 million dollar set of properties that are free and clear and a global impact that will never fully be understood this side of eternity. The university he founded enrolls in various programs over 6,000 new students a year, drawing upon over 900 teachers/professors all over the country, teaching in over 130 places in the U.S. alone, are active in many languages with half of the staff either at regional centers in the USA or in similar activities around the world!
I am so thankful for his heart which has been transferred to a younger generation like me. The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course reader was one of the books created by the USCWM that captivated by thinking and helped me to understand God’s mission from Genesis to Revelation. I chose to take that information and do something with it and that’s why I am here in Northeast Thailand today among the Isaan people.
The passing of Ralph Winter represents the passing of a generation. We, my generation, is now responsible to take the torch and run with it to the nations. My prayer is that Ralph Winter see more spiritual fruit in death than he ever saw in his lifetime through those of us who have been impacted by the force of his message and life. His influence will not be missed for it will continue through the countless lives that his vision has touched.
Here are some quotes from other leaders about Ralph Winter
“Nobody in the area of missions had a greater impact on me.”-John Piper (Renowed Mission Mobilizer, Author, and Pastor)
“This is like one big star disappearing. It is doubtful whether a prophetic missiologist scholar like him can ever appear again.” –Pastor David Cho (Pastor of the Largest Congregation in the World)
“History will record Ralph Winter as one of the half-dozen men who did most to affect world evangelism in the twentieth century.”-C. Peter Wagner (World Famous Missiologist, Author, and Mobilizer)
“The death of Dr. Ralph Winter marks the passing of a giant from the scene of missions and GFA owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his influence on our ministry.”–Dr. K.P. Yohannan (founder and president of Gospel for Asia which serves multitudes of native missionaries in Asia)
Here is a video where he recently talked about unreached peoples