Christian Aid is an organisation that supplies aid to those in need. It is generally considered to have been the first missionary agency to support indigenous mission boards in countries all over the world.
It all began in 1945 when Bob Finley was asked to speak at a rally of Youth for Christ in a Chicago stadium. His testimony was so fresh, unique and powerful that the 25,000 people in the stadium interrupted him several times with spontaneous applause. His words were broadcasted all over the continent and he was sent to speak at rallies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Along with his close friend, Billy Graham, they were enlisted as field evangelists with the Youth for Christ and spoke at youth rallies, churches, public schools, seminaries, colleges and Bible institutes. Between 1948 and 1950 Bob Finley traveled the East – China, Korea and Asia – preaching the word and lead Korea in the spiritual awakening that took place there in early 1950.
Bob Finley returned to America determined to arouse the churches about the need for reform in foreign missions. He said the best way to plant a Christian witness in closed countries was to reach people who were away from home. Then when they would go back to serve Christ in their homelands; get behind them with financial assistance.
Following the presentation of his honorary doctor’s degree, in 1953 he started International Students, Inc. to reach foreign students all over the U.S. and Canada. In 1972 the headquarters of ISI was moved to Colorado Springs, while the AID (Assisting Indigenous Developments) division was spun off as Christian Aid and remained in Washington D.C. with Bob Finley as the President. A competent staff was assembled to travel all over the world searching out indigenous ministries in every country, especially those that were closed to missionaries from America.
Christian Aid grew and grew, with a number of new buildings built in co-ordination with the agency. They had a new headquarters with a conference center and more offices. It continued making contact with indigenous missionary groups in closed countries all over the world. Bob Finley’s goal was to have a part in planting a witness for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ among every unreached people group on earth.
Christian Aid is governed and staffed by evangelistic, Bible believing, born again Christians who uphold the fundamental doctrines of historic evangelical Christianity.
The work of Christian Aid is felt in over 60 countries where they try to fulfill its aims of helping people in the long-term. This is achieved in various ways. The first is to raise money that is needed in order to help these people. They gain an income of around 48 Million Pounds a year, which they can use. This is done throughout the whole year where churches may hold collections or some sort of fund raising events where donations go to charity. A considerable amount of this money is collected during one particular week, annually. This is called Christian Aid Week. In 1995, 8.6 Million Pounds was raised in this one-week.
Christian Aid has two main policies of donations. They give Emergency Aid and Long Term Aid. Emergency Aid – 10% to 15% of their money – is when people are in need of some sort of aid, straight away. For example, if there has been a natural disaster, or an influx of refugees to a country then they are in need of emergency aid in order for them to survive. We can see the work of Christian Aid in the Caribbean Sea islands where a 140mile-per-hour Hurricane battered the islands, leaving 20 dead and numerous others in desperate need of attention and shelter. Christian Aid went to the islands to help the suffering people get their lives back on track.
Long Term Aid is when Christian Aid helps to set up funds in communities to help them in the future. This is done through churches and community centers. We can see this in place in Bangladesh where Christian Aid workers have been living there to help administer drugs to the people in need of it. They get their money to do this by Christian Aid and have helped many hundreds of people.
Bob Finley has now completed 53 years of ministry as an evangelist, pastor, missionary, Bible teacher and Christian statesman. During these years he has traveled over four million miles and preached “face to face” to more than 20 million people. Additional millions have heard his message through radio, TV, films and videos. His published articles have touched thousands of lives and played a major role in changing the methodology and direction of Christian missions throughout the world. His influence and financial support has been used of God to further the cause of Christ among more than 2000 tongues, tribes and nations.
Christian Aid continues to reach out to those who are in the remotest countries and have not heard of our Lord Jesus Christ. They continue to help other struggling ministries to preach the word of our Lord.