Sacrifice and Expansion

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After Simpson’s death in 1919, many wondered if the C&MA would survive. Dr. Paul Rader, a dynamic evangelist and pastor, was chosen to lead the C&MA.

Alliance Leaders circa 1920Though Rader was in many ways like Simpson, his leadership style was more autocratic, and in a few years he stepped down from leadership, although he maintained cordial ties with the C&MA. He was succeeded briefly by Frederick Senft, and then by Dr. Harry M. Shuman, who led The Alliance for nearly three decades.

During this era the “tabernacle strategy” became popular. Rather than establishing churches in the traditional sense, the C&MA built large, roughly-finished evangelistic centers called “tabernacles,” which often had a seating capacity of several hundred people. Seating consisted of rough benches, with sawdust on a dirt floor. Nationally recognized evangelists could draw large crowds to these tabernacles, though the “core membership” may consist of only 50 or fewer people. C&MA tabernacles sprung up in many U.S. cities and in Canada.

The Great Depression also had an impact on The Christian and Missionary Alliance, though it did not deter its expansion to new mission fields. Though money was scarce during those days, people gave sacrificially. Many “branches” gave as much to the missionary effort as they did for the expenses of the local congregation. Missionaries also sacrificed. Sometimes they received only sixty percent of their allowance, but they continued their ministry despite the cutbacks.

Dr. R.A. JaffrayNot only did the C&MA in the United States and Canada continue to grow, but the C&MA opened several new fields during those years: French Indochina, Indonesia, Thailand, French West Africa, and French Equatorial Africa, and Colombia and Peru. A C&MA missionary to China, Rev. Robert Jaffray, was very influential in keeping open the work in the Philippines as well as opening the work in Indochina. His vision also pioneered the work in Indonesia. This selfless servant died in a Japanese internment camp in Indonesia during World War II.

World War II brought an end to the Great Depression, but brought danger to missionaries in many areas, especially in China, Japan, French Indochina, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Several missionaries were martyred, and others were interned in prison camps.

World War II also had another impact on the C&MA as well as other missionary societies. Many veterans returned with the Call of God on their lives and dedicated their lives to missionary service.


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