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Celebrating 30 Years

History of World Mission Centre

The Founding (1989)

After pastoring for many years, Willie Crew wanted to create an organization that would come alongside churches and bring motivation, strategies, and training for missions. Thus, led by a call from the Lord, Willie and Lydia Crew founded World Mission Centre in South Africa in 1989.


The Beginning

  • WMC Starts in the lounge of the home of Willie and Lydia Crew in 289 Charless Str, Pretoria, South Africa

Dairy Mall

  • WMC moves to the Dairy Mall in the centre of the Taxi Rank


  • Staff at the Dairy Mall

The Old Mahem Hotel

  • The growing WMC moves its base to the old Mahem hotel




  • Staff at the Mahem hotel


  • The First Board of Directors

Developing Ministry Models

In the early years, World Mission Centre created several models of outreach, mercy ministry, and evangelism that were always focused on engaging churches and their members to reach their community with the gospel. They created projects like People Reaching People (partnering wealthier churches with underprivileged churches throughout South Africa), the Gospel Taxi Club (putting tapes of worship songs and gospel presentations in cabs), and the Linaka catamaran (transporting missionaries and resources to remote peoples on the coastline of Madagascar).


In the early 1990s, a community development model project called People Reaching People was started in the impoverished community of Mmakaunyane, northwest of Pretoria, for the purpose of physical, intellectual, and spiritual upliftment. This included skills training, job creation, and planting a church. Ultimately, WMC pulled together 38 local churches in Pretoria alone and fed more than 7,000 families every month for over two years. WMC transferred the PRP project entirely to those 38 churches, introducing them to the funding partners as well, which continued partnering local churches from privileged communities with those from underprivileged communities.


Gospel Taxi Clubs


In South Africa, the taxi is a vital form of public transportation with an estimated 200,000 minibus taxis used daily by 15 million commuters. In 1992, WMC began working with thousands of taxi drivers at taxi ranks (or stands) across South Africa who agreed to play specially prepared recordings while on duty. The tapes featured Christian music interspersed with short, five-minute gospel messages. Added to these messages were brief road safety tips for both drivers and passengers. The tapes were made in seven languages and addressed issues such as principles of employment, culture vs. Christianity, how to become a believer, and God’s answer to AIDS. The largest annual outreach was over Easter weekend, when WMC partnered with 130 local churches to distribute the cassette tapes to as many taxi ranks as possible. In 2014, WMC handed the Gospel Taxi Club project over to interested local churches to continue the project.

Transforming a City

World Mission Centre was founded on the belief that mobilized churches could transform their local communities and cities. To aid in this goal, WMC helped to host Jesus Marches through Pretoria, the Week of Bounty in which churches donated thousands of items to give to needy populations, and the Global Day of Prayer, which brought together hundreds of congregations to pray for their city.

City wide prayer meeting at Super Sport Park, Centurion

Tswane / Pretoria

Community Meeting

Praying for the city at Freedom Park, Pretoria

Week of Bounty

City Leaders Banquet

The March

Columbia South Carolina (Global day of prayer)

Church Mobilization

WMC wanted to encourage churches to be evangelistically focused not only on their local community but also on the ends of the earth. Willie Crew established Faith Promise offerings in many churches to encourage believers to give specifically and faithfully to missions, as well as the Gateway Strategy, which connected churches in gospel-saturated areas to churches and believers in least-reached areas of the world to provide resources, prayer, and communication.

Faith Promise

Decade of Missions Conferences

The Gateway Strategy

What is a Hub?

With the conviction that the local church is the key to completing the task of world evangelization, World Mission Centre designed this unique strategy in order to establish international, comprehensive, and local church-driven mission networks. A Hub is that network by which those local churches focus their mission efforts on one world region or country. Through such Hubs, resources are pooled, information is disseminated, and efforts coordinated to facilitate reaching the unreached in that area. Ultimately, any Hub’s success depends on committed relationships and strategic vision.

What is a Gateway?

A Gateway is essentially a door to a country or world region through which a Hub can enter in order to assist in reaching the unreached peoples of that area, as well as helping to mobilise the body of Christ within that country or region to do the task of missions. World Mission Centre is currently working to establish Gateway offices in twelve regions of the world.

Over the course of several years, WMC hosted a number of conferences in South Africa at which new Hubs were formed for new Gateway countries and regions, while functioning Hubs shared what was happening where they were already working.

The Hub Conferences

Willie with Lawrence Khong and Phil Butler at the Hub Conference 1998

One of the break out sessions

Our Servant Team

Washing Lawrence Khong’s feet at the Hub Conference

Landa Cope teaching about the kingdom during one of our Hub conferences

A time of prayer

The ‘Love Southern Africa’ Initiative

In the early 90s, Willie Crew and Lazarus Selahle, WMC’s then-leadership team, met regularly with Francois Vosloo (then-director of SA Operation Mobilisation), Don Price (the-director of Youth with a Mission), and Marjory Froise (author of the South African Christian Handbook) to build relationships and establish partnerships among mission organisations with a common goal. Later, the relationships and partnerships were extended to local churches across South Africa. This resulted in 140 mission and church leaders forming the Southern African Mission Association in 1992 and, through it, the Love Southern Africa (LSA) initiative a few months later. LSA committed to an annual national missions conference hosted by a different organisation each year; the implementation of short-term outreaches into southern Africa immediately after each conference; and establishing networks of ministries and interest groups.

Large International Missions Conferences

World Mission Centre partnered with missions organizations across the African continent and world to host the Love Southern Africa Initiative and the GCOWE ’97 (Global Consultation on World Evangelization) conferences, which both highlighted the need to reach the remaining unreached and least-reached people groups of the world.

Our Global Village for God

Veteran Missionary Ps Fred Burke opens
the GCOWE Conference in Prayer

Willie Crew, Luis Bush and Lazarus Sehlale
co-hosts of GCOWE ‘97

Dr. David Kim with Lazarus and Willie

Hatfield Christian Church,
the primary venue forGCOWE ‘97

Signing the agreement to host
GCOWE ‘97 with the AD2000 movement

The Leadership of GCOWE ‘97

Gunnar Olson, Leader of the business consultation
of the GCOWE ‘97

Enjoying a cup of coffee

The Leadership and team members of GCOWE ‘97

Project Focus 1997-2000

As a result of the GCOWE ’97 conference, WMC created the Project Focus strategy with the objective of planting one self-reproducing church in each of the 100 least-reached people groups in southern Africa by the end of 2000. To do this, WMC equipped specially trained missionaries who could enter very resistant people groups in almost inaccessible areas and not only survive but also bring the gospel to them in effective ways. For six months, 51 students from various countries received intense training in theology, church planting, cultural sensitivity, bush survival and evangelism and then led teams numbering 498 to work among the people groups. By the end of 2000, 99 of the 100 least reached people groups in southern Africa had been reached with the gospel. By the end of 2001, all 100 people groups had believers among them.

Project FOCUS

Meeting with the Minister of
Home Affairs of Swaziland

Willie together with Karel Sanders
(Founder of AFMIN)
ministering in Africa

Thousands of Churches planted in Southern Africa


The Linaka was a 46-foot catamaran that Danie & Linda Heyns donated to WMC to reach otherwise inaccessible people groups along the western coastline of Madagascar. For six years, a dedicated crew were able to use it to reach six of the eight unreached people groups on the island.

As a catamaran, the Linaka was ideally suited for the work as it sat high in the water allowing it to sail into bays, close to beaches, and in some cases up rivers without running aground. It acted as personnel and supply carrier, as well as a communications and training base. In areas where weak infrastructure or dense vegetation made it difficult to travel, the Linaka and its crew picked up team leaders at the closest port and transported them to where they could easily reach their next destination. Team leaders often brought on board up to four emerging leaders from the people group to teach them the Bible and train them how to plant churches, as well as practical training in skills such as starting and running a micro business and
establishing vegetable gardens.

After six amazing and effective years, WMC sold the Linaka when it felt the boat’s mission was complete.

Healing Miracles during the Lake to Sea Project

Willie asked if there was a woman in the crowd who was
suffering from terrible pain on the right side of her abdomen.
A well-dressed woman cried out, “It’s me!”

Live School Begins

In God’s providence, the leaders at WMC decided to tape all 240 hours of the Project Focus lectures. After they saw the caliber of students the curriculum produced and the resulting fruit on the field, WMC decided the curriculum needed to be distributed to train indigenous believers as full-time missionaries and church planters. The custom-made curriculum was called Live School, and it included theology, evangelism, character development, community health, cross-cultural communication, church planting, and much more. A group of international experts, pastors, seminary professors, businessmen, and missionaries taught the subjects.



Live School Development

As Live School spread to churches around the world, WMC decided to translate the original English version into various languages and dub over the video. Today, Live School has been translated and dubbed into 12 additional languages and is used in over 112 countries. WMC also developed a Live School Facilitators training to equip pastors or church leaders to lead their own church members in full-time or part-time Live Schools. The original BetaCam tapes were first converted to DVDs and then to a media player, to hard-drives and SD cards, and now to an online format that can be downloaded or streamed.

The Team that worked 20 hours a day,
6 days a week for 8 months
to complete the Live School Editing.

The launch of the Arabic version of Live School in 2008

Launching the English version of the
Live School in 2005

Edited 300 BetaCam tapes
down to 93 DVD’s

Developing the MITS (Mobile Intergrated Training System)

A fully contained, battery powered playback device

Packaging the first DVD version of Live School

Making the Live School Unit more portable

The MITS (2004)

The DVD Box (2005)

The DVD Case (2008)

The Media Player (2011)

Live School on Solid State

For the 2018 version of Live School, a team of 24—made up of WMC staff, and university and high
school interns—spent over 8,500 hours converting all 11 language versions of the 248 hours of
recordings onto solid-state devices, and checking each one.

The New Live School Media Player (2018)

The Farsi and Arabic SD Version of Live School (2018)

Translating Live School

William, with Hennie & Katie, signing the Russian translation aggreement with Yana from Lepta in Ukraine

Rikkie Le Roux from the WMC media department dubbing the Swahili version of Live School at the WMC dubbing Studio