With 80 years experience ministering cross-culturally in the Latin American context, Latin America Mission (LAM) is a missiologically significant mission agency. This critical, comprehensive history of LAM, written primarily from an organizational perspective, fills a significant gap in mission history. Understanding the lessons of this organization’s past history yields insights for LAM’s, and perhaps other mission agencies’, future effectiveness in the areas of organizational transitioning, multileveled vision, mobilization, and ministry.
Interpreting history from an organizational perspective focuses mainly on the organization’s culture as seen in its primary leaders, its activities, and its typical workers. Drawing heavily upon Denison (1997), Schein (1992), and Greiner’s (1978) models of organizational stages, organizational culture, and organizational effectiveness, this study documents and evaluates LAM at various historical junctures.
Specifically, this study focuses on the problems of organizational vision, organizational identity, organizational leadership, and, to a lesser degree, theology. This historical documentation looks at LAM’s organizational culture and processes, LAM’s major leaders, a sampling of stories about ordinary LAM missionaries, major events, obvious theological assumptions, and significant missiological contributions. Following the process of historical documentation and analysis, and based in part on insights gained from the study, a series of proposals are set forth designed to guide LAM and mission organization’s like LAM into effective ministry in the coming decades.