History of Arbor Heights Community Church
In 1937, two students from Simpson Bible Institute, now Simpson Bible College, were driving through the Arbor Heights neighborhood looking to start a Sunday school program. While driving through, they wound up getting a flat tire. In the midst of fixing the flat tire, they encountered some local boys who gave them a rough time. The students asked the boys if they had a Sunday school program in the neighborhood which the boys responded, “no”. The students decided Arbor Heights would be a great place to start a church and Arbor Heights Community Church was born.
In the early years, the church community met in a local Community Center. They set up classes in homes, cars and buses for the community to grow and learn. The church was primarily focused on a younger audience and had nearly 400 children attending the Sunday gatherings.
History of the C&MA
When Alliance founder A. B. Simpson left a lucrative pastorate in New York City, he had a call from God to reach the lost masses both in New York and around the world.
Prostitutes, longshoremen, and the homeless received the reconciliation message that all people are eligible for Christ’s amazing grace. He established the New York Gospel Tabernacle to bring like-minded people together into an organization that could facilitate outreach ministries. And he set up the Missionary Training Institute (MTI) to provide training and resources for men and women God was calling to take the gospel to the world.
During that time, Simpson’s group sent out the first team of missionaries to the Congo in 1884. Since then, thousands of people have followed God’s call to serve Him through The Alliance in the United States and abroad. In 1974, The Christian and Missionary (C&MA) officially became a denomination, but it still had at its core a heart for overseas missions. Past Alliance president Dr. L. L.King said of the C&MA that it “was not established as a mission divorced from the normal activity of a church, but a church which had within it the life and function of a mission…. The mission came first and the church grew out of a mission.”
Today, the C&MA focuses on planting churches in the United States and overseas. More than 800 missionaries and workers minister in 50-plus countries planting churches and training national church leaders, providing relief and development assistance, medical and dental care, and microenterprise projects. Nearly 2,000 churches in the U.S. minister Christ’s love to their communities and cities.
Living the Call Together describes what The Alliance is and does—living out the preeminence of Jesus, fulfilling His Great Commission, in an alliance made of up of churches around the world.
The Founding Years (1887-1919)
The C&MA grew out of the vision of Rev. A.B. Simpson, a Presbyterian pastor from Canada. Simpson believed that Christ was not only his Savior, but also his Sanctifier, and Healer through dramatic spiritual encounters that changed the direction of his life. Formed as a missionary society and not a denomination, early Alliance congregations were known as “branches” and were made up of members from most major denominations. Find out more about those early years where the movement began.
Sacrifice and Expansion (1919-1946)
After Simpson’s death in 1919, Dr. Paul Rader, a dynamic evangelist and pastor, was chosen to lead the C&MA. During this era the “tabernacle strategy” became popular. C&MA tabernacles sprung up in many U.S. cities and in Canada. The Great Depression and World War II had an impact on The Christian and Missionary Alliance, though it did not deter its expansion to new mission fields. Discover how challenging times fueled the movement.
The Evangelical Era (1947-1974)
Following World War II, many people began moving to the cities, and the C&MA continued to move forward. The tabernacles were exchanged for traditional church buildings and many C&MA churches moved to the suburbs. In 1974 the C&MA officially declared itself to be a denomination, along with a sweeping restructuring of the organization. During this time, Dr. A.W. Tozer and Dr. Louis L. King greatly influenced The Alliance. Dr. King as head of the missionary effort began to implement the indigenous church policy—envisioning each national church of the C&MA as self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing entity. Learn more about the growth of the church both overseas and domestically.
The Missionary Church Era (1975-present)
The C&MA in the U.S. and Canada became increasingly multicultural with the influx of refugees from Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s, and immigrants from many parts of the world. As ethnic churches were planted the awareness of a need for mission-sending congregations was never higher. Find out how The Alliance is answering the call to go and make disciples.