The History of IAMS

In November 1966 a small international group of missiologists met in Hamburg to explore the possibilities of cooperation.  After hearing a series of position papers the Swedish bishop and professor Bengt Sundkler took the floor and asked with characteristic impatience: "Did we come here to count professorships?" This was the cue for a discussion of fundamental issues that led to the founding of the 'International Association for Mission Studies' two years later. Later, in 1968, preliminary meetings of European and North American missiologists at Birmingham, England , and Oslo, Norway, in 1970. At last IAMS was inaugurated in 1972 at Driebergen, the Netherlands. Since then nine international conferences have been held on five continents.

For further information see:

IAMS history by Joachim Wietzke
List of IAMS Assemblies
List of IAMS Presidents and Secretaries
List of IAMS Executive Members
List of IAMS Executive Meetings

Do you have memories of IAMS Conferences and Study Group Meetings?

Gerald Anderson and John Roxborogh are compiling historical material. Please email if you have stories, photographs, or observations you would like to share.



As of 2003 approximately 500 individuals and 100 institutions are members of IAMS

Individual scholars and institutions desiring to advance the cause of missiology in keeping with the aims of the association may apply for membership. Associate membership for doctoral students is open for not longer than four years. 

Applications for membership are considered annually by the Executive Committee, which is empowered to act on behalf of the Association. 

Since membership fees have been set as low as possible, in view of the widely varying resources of our international membership, additional contributions from those with the ability to pay will be gratefully received. Any members who have difficulty in payment or transfer of funds for membership fees should inform the Treasury.

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Study Groups / Special Interest Groups
Within IAMS Mission Study Groups have been established which bring together mission scholars for research and exchange of ideas. Other Interest Groups may develop projects of research, publication or consultation.

International Conferences

The executive committee arranges a general meeting of the association every three or four years in different parts of the world. These meetings are designed for intensive study of a particular missiological theme, with maximum participation in forums, discussions groups, bible study, workshops and exposure experiences.

The IAMS journal, Mission Studies, is sent without charge to all IAMS members twice each year. It contains scholarly articles and information about the association and the activities of its members, along with news and notes on missiological conferences, research projects, and publications. It is also available for subscription to non members.

Through the IAMS Membership/research Interests database, IAMS provides a global networking tool for members and other missiologists looking for peers with similar research interests.