Before his death on May 20, 2009, Dr. Ralph Winter both spoke and wrote extensively for many years about the need for a global-level association of mission agencies and the organizing of a 2010 meeting at the 100th anniversary of Edinburgh 1910. It was his vision for this meeting to follow the format of the 1910 meeting especially regarding who would attend.
Notes taken from Dr. Winter’s “Problem Solving” database, page 2, published in Mission Frontiers May-August 2009 includes the following quotes:
“…clear back in 1980, an ongoing global-level association of mission agencies was proposed, but it was not effectively led.”
“Finally, there is an urgent need to organize a 2010 global meeting commemorating the 1910 meeting, and the 1980 meeting, focusing on the frontiers and gathering agency leaders from around the world, especially from non-Western countries.”A significant part of Dr. Winter’s focus in the last years of his life was on this need of a global-level association. His May-June 2003 Mission Frontiers Editorial marked a renewed call for a global-level conference and a global mission structure. The next year he led an effort to gather mission leaders to consider these “problems” when he wrote and circulated “The Third Call“, which resulted in the April 2005 gathering in Amsterdam of 28 mission leaders from around the world. Out of that gathering, the Global Network of Mission Structures (GNMS) was formed as mentioned above, with a challenge to champion a 2010 meeting in the pattern of 1910.
The next step toward a 2010 meeting occurred at the Asia Missions Association meeting in late 2006, in Ephesus, Turkey where Dr. Winter presented the vision for a 2010 meeting in the pattern and celebration of Edinburgh 1910. Then further, in early 2007 at the Third World Mission Association (TWMA) Executive meeting in Portland, Oregon, USA, the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit continued to lead to an initiative to move forward under the joint auspices of “international” associations of mission agencies. At the TWMA meeting in London that followed in May, 2007, a commitment was made and a planning committee established for the Global Mission Consultation and Celebration – From Edinburgh to Tokyo to meet May 11-14, 2010 in Tokyo, Japan. The commitment was made that it would be hosted by the Japanese Church and sponsored jointly by the GNMS, the TWMA, the Asia Mission Association (AMA) and CrossGlobal Link (formerly IFMA). TWMA assumed the primary responsibility to manage the conference under the guidance of a conference planning committee comprised of individuals from several different associations and agencies.
Dr. Winter was closely involved in the planning of Tokyo 2010 and participated in each planning committee meeting and the ongoing conference plans up until his death. His participation included a trip to Tokyo where on October 26-27, 2008, he met with Japanese church leaders and the preliminary Tokyo 2010 host committee. He followed this with a meeting in Boston on November 3, 2008, with the leaders of the four 2010 meetings that are planned in Edinburgh, Cape Town, and Boston as well as Tokyo. The Tokyo trip was his last overseas and the Boston trip one of his last domestic trips.
Dr. Winter frequently spoke of his heart for a 2010 global consultation following the format of the Edinburgh 1910 meeting, and for some continuing global-level cooperation of mission agencies. He did not live to see the fulfillment of this vision, but the vision is going forward with Tokyo 2010 and the Global Network of Mission Structures. His prayer certainly would be that the Lord would bring together those serious about working cooperatively in fulfillment of the Lord’s command to “…make disciples of all peoples.” Because there is increasing diaspora all over the world, networking for effectively and efficiently reaching each people group is urgent.