In 1805 the famed missionary trio of William Carey, William Ward, and Joshua Marshman, along with six other men of the British Baptist Missionary Society who were stationed at Serampore, India, set forth for themselves, and a stream of new missionaries arriving from England, eleven “great principles” (as they called them) to explain their commitments and aims. The Serampore Form of Agreement (SFA) articulates a more robust and biblical understanding of the church planter’s life and ministry than typically does the popular contemporary literature on missions that is consumed by US American evangelicals.
Travis Myers, STH alumnus, recently published an article titled “The ‘Peculiar Qualifications’ and Goals of Frontier Church Planters and Other Missionaries According to the Serampore Form of Agreement (1805)” in Journal of Global Christianity. His article demonstrates Serampore Form of Agreement’s early-nineteenth-century signers’ attention to culture learning and avoiding offense, to building rapport and diligent evangelism, to proper doctrine and patient disciple-making, as well as to indigenous churches and missionary oversight. Throughout the article, he suggests several points of application to certain contemporary issues in missions, especially those related to best practices in the field and missionary qualifications.