World Impact is a Christian missions organization committed to planting churches among America’s unchurched urban poor.
That’s the mission of this great ministry I am proud to present to you this monday. I have had the great pleasure of attending a couple of conferences where Dr. Keith Phillips, (the founder of World Impact) has spoken. I have spoken with him personally and have gotten to hear from his mouth his passion for the urban poor. This passion of his is evident in the books he writes and the messages he speaks. I have read three of Dr. Phillips books, They Dare to Love the Ghetto, Out of Ashes (A personal Favorite), and The Making of a Disciple. His heart cries out in these books strongly and I recommend them to you if you are at all feeling called to minster in an urban setting. This ministry has ignited in me a passion to see the city and more importantly the inner city come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Please click on their logo to visit their website and see where God has touched many lives through this ministry which dares to go where few people do. Following is a timeline of their growth over the years.
Our Growth Over the Years
Our initial thrust was to children living in federal housing projects; hundreds accepted Christ. Soon, career missionaries moved into the inner city to make disciples and expanded our outreach to teenagers and adults.
World Impact was incorporated in March, 1971.
By 1972, we had opened ministries in Los Angeles, Wichita, Portland, Omaha and San Diego.
In 1975, Keith wrote, “They Dare to Love the Ghetto.”
In 1976, World Impact began ministries in St. Louis and Newark, and moved into our National Headquarters in Los Angeles. World Impact of Canada was incorporated.
In 1977, our Fresno ministry began.
In 1981, Morning Star Ranch in Kansas established a two‑year discipleship program for young men from the city. Keith wrote, “The Making of a Disciple.”
In 1982, we opened the Los Angeles Christian Elementary School, which emphasizes academic competence, Christ‑like character and self‑confidence to prepare our students for a lifetime of discipleship.
In 1984, we started Inner City Enterprises, a job‑training program which taught young people how to work.
In 1985, Keith wrote, “No Quick Fix.” World Impact started the Newark Christian School and thrift stores in several cities (Sonshine Shops). In Newark, we renovated abandoned row‑houses and rented them to families involved with our ministry. Later, many of those families bought these homes.
In 1986, the former‑St. Louis YMCA building was remodeled into a Ministry Center with the help of thousands of volunteers and inner‑city workers. An 11‑acre, 88‑unit apartment complex (The Village) was acquired in Wichita for use as a worship center and the Good Samaritan Clinic. We acquired a 172‑acre camp, The Oaks, 65 miles north of Los Angeles and built a prayer chapel.
In 1987, a 10,000‑square‑foot gymnasium was built for our Los Angeles ministry and Christian School.
In 1988, Ministry Centers in Fresno and San Diego were acquired for worship and job training. Our Chester, Pennsylvania ministry opened. We acquired a school building in Chester to start the Frederick Douglass Christian School. We started Saturday‑night Celebrations across the country for urban believers.
Massive immigration took place in our cities during the 80s. Millions came in from Latin America and Asia. Our Los Angeles Celebration Church went from English-speaking, to English and Spanish, to all Spanish. Fresno missionaries ministered to many Hmong, Vietnamese and Cambodians.
The 1992 Los Angeles riot focused national attention on the inner city.
In the 90s, we became a church‑planting organization nationally. We trained other ministries to plant urban churches through The Crowns of Beauty Conferences, The School of Urban Church Planting and The Nehemiah Team.
In 1991, we added a 30‑acre camp north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Harmony Heart.
In 1992, we opened ministries in Oakland and San Jose.
In 1993, we opened ministries in San Francisco and Detroit.
In 1994, the Watts Christian School opened.
In 1995, we opened the Frederick Douglass Christian School. Churches were planted in Los Angeles, Wichita and Newark. Deer Creek Christian Camp in the Colorado Rockies was acquired and became World Impact’s fourth camping ministry.
We began The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) in Wichita, Kansas to provide theological education to urban leaders.
In 1996, we celebrated our 25th year at Operation Jericho, a national staff conference on church planting. We began our Dallas ministry, published our Missionary Orientation Training Course for new staff orientation, and Keith wrote “Out of Ashes.”
In 1999, the Crowns of Beauty Conference welcomed 1200 registrants from multiple countries. Second and third Conferences were held with similar results in 2001 and 2004.
In 2000, we conducted our first week‑long Church‑Plant School for urban church‑plant teams. We have since trained 32 teams.
In 2001, initial TUMI satellite campuses were launched in three cities; the John Mark Curriculum was completed.
In 2002, the first TUMI Capstone module was released.
By 2004, we had planted 20 churches in eight World Impact cities, Hayford Hall was dedicated at THE OAKS, and we held our first Candidate Acceptance Program to screen and orient new World Impact missionaries.
In 2005, World Impact missionaries convened at THE OAKS for a Wi‑Fi (World Impact Focus and Identity) Conference. We expanded TUMI’s satellite program, which by 2010 reached 75 sites in 11 countries.
In 2010, TUMIs Capstone Spanish translation was completed. Our efforts expanded beyond planting churches to equipping indigenous leaders to plant churches, with the vision of launching church‑planting movements in the city.