A WWM pastor baptizes a new believer in India.
The Basil Miller Foundation was founded in 1950 in Altadena, California. Its name was changed to World-Wide Missions in 1960. “Religious, charitable, benevolent,” read the original statement of purpose, “to promote production and distribution of Christian literature, to further the training of ministers and other religious workers… and to furnish their support, to conduct religious services, and to improve the moral and social conditions of humanity.”
The organization evolved gradually from the prolific publishing career of its founder, Dr. Basil Miller, a minister in the Church of the Nazarene. When several of his books on missionary themes were published in the 1940s, Dr. Miller received a number of requests for assistance from gospel workers in various nations. As a result of this correspondence, he founded World-Wide Missions as an independent interdenominational faith mission based on the principle of national leadership.
World-Wide Missions began with a mailing list of only 200 names, with cramped workspace in the basement of Dr. Miller’s home, and with no financial support other than royalties from his books. By the end of the first year, mission work had been established in 20 different countries. That number was to quadruple by the mid-1970s.
After Dr. Miller’s death, World-Wide Missions was led by his daughter, Esther Howard, until the Board of Directors appointed the Reverend Fred Johnson as President and CEO in 1985. The headquarters was for many years in Pasadena, California, then briefly in Sierra Madre, and finally was moved to Redlands in 1995.
During its history World-Wide Missions has played an important part in the revival that swept through Ghana and brought over 80,000 people to Christ… in the establishment of rehabilitation centers in Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam for families of outcast lepers… in the feverish planting of 400 churches in southern Nigeria, the area made famous by the tragic Biafran civil war… in the launching of a gospel witness into such difficult or forbidden territories as Somalia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal, and Tibet… in the spiritual breakthroughs among the Aymara Indians of Bolivia, the Eskimos of Alaska, and the pygmies of Cameroon… in the salvaging of innocent little lives through our childcare centers in such places as Haiti, Congo, and South Korea… and in numerous other dramatic and effective ministries around the globe.
“The sun never sets on the work of World-Wide Missions!” Dr. Miller often exclaimed. It is true. Somewhere, day and night, someone in our fellowship of pastors, evangelists, teachers, doctors and nurses is witnessing for the Master—touching a suffering world with the healing love of Jesus Christ.
Basil William Miller was born into a humble home in Laconia, Indiana, February 26, 1897. He moved with his family to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1905, and nine years later entered a small Christian college in Greenville, Texas, to earn A.B. and B.D. degrees.
After pastoring churches in Oklahoma, he was called to teach at Pasadena College in California. He married Esther Kirk and they had four children: Kirk, Basil, Myrt, and Esther. He earned a master’s degree at the University of Southern California. Further graduate degrees—the M.A., S.T.M., Th.M., S.T.D., and Ph.D.—were earned while he was holding pastorates in San Diego, Pittsburgh, New York City, San Antonio, and Pasadena. He was listed in Who’s Who in Religion.
In 1939, Dr. Miller was involved in a serious car accident and suffered a severe brain concussion which kept him bedridden for a year and partially incapacitated for the next four. A heart attack in 1947 further complicated his life. During his convalescence he began a writing career and, over a period of 35 years, produced 200 books and thousands of articles for Christian publications.
“Oh, I ache for the world—the poor, the sick, the hungry,” Dr. Miller said after returning from one of his worldwide mission surveys. Until his death on May 7, 1978, at the age of 81, he was “driven almost beyond endurance with the knowledge that there is so much to do, and so little that I can accomplish.”
The global missionary outreach that he built stands as a witness to his compassion and faithfulness. He touched thousands with the love of Jesus; now they, in turn, are carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Dr. Miller lived by one credo during his long and fruitful ministry—“Our God is able.” Through debilitating illnesses, excruciating pain, financial reverses, and personal disappointments, he proved that “our God . . . is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:17).
That faith became the solid foundation upon which World-Wide Missions is built. We know that “little is much when God is in it.” Through the years, with the help of thousands of supporters, we have acted in faith and miracles have occurred.
We rejoice in how God is using our people and resources to help others find Christ, to alleviate human suffering, to bring hope and a better life to millions of needy people all around the world.