REPORTS of preaching activities in different lands are now commonplace, and few ecclesias have not been exposed through visits by their own members or by hearing the tales of those who are involved in spreading the Gospel message throughout the world. Fifty years ago, the situation was very different. In the main, brethren and sisters were found only in English-speaking countries, and there
was little intercontinental travel.

Yet there were some far-sighted brethren who foresaw the wonderful opportunities that existed in other lands. Some had experienced the tremendous response in countries where the scriptures were still accepted as the inspired word of God, and they saw the need to harness the resources of the brotherhood to focus on preaching the Truth wherever an opportunity presented itself. In October 1955 the Christadelphian Bible Mission was formed, firstly under the auspices of the Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society, out of whose work the overseas venture grew.

To fulfil the scriptural precedent to report back to those brethren and sisters in whose name the work was being undertaken (Acts 14:25-27), a magazine was started to convey both news and reports of the activities of the CBM. The first issue of The Bible Missionary was therefore published in May 1956, exactly fifty years ago this month. Since those days, when Europe was regenerating after the Second World War, the work has grown enormously. The vast continent of Africa now contains many ecclesias, and some of its countries have proved extremely fertile ground for the Truth to take hold. Four countries in West Africa, for example, each have over 1,000 brethren and sisters (Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania). More recently, with the dismantling of the iron curtain providing new opportunities in Eastern Europe, there has been great interest expressed in response to newspaper and Internet advertising.

The Christadelphian Bible Mission was soon joined by the Australasian Bible Mission (ACBM), and later by the Bible Mission of the Americas (CBMA) and much more recently by the South African CBM. Rather than each of these organisations reporting separately about their work, since July 2004 The Bible Missionary has had a worldwide scope with an editorial panel elected by CBM (UK), ACBM and CBMA. Brethren and sisters therefore have the opportunity to become involved in this important work, even if they are not able personally to assist through correspondence or visits.

– The Christadelphian (May, 2006)