In the late 1930s, as WWII loomed, Japan invaded China. At this time, many western missionaries in China found themselves forced out due to the war. One of the last missionaries to leave China, Duncan McRoberts, had a deep burden to see the gospel reach the lost. He gathered a group of businessmen to support the existing Chinese church. Together, they formed a partnership model that allowed western Christians to fuel the vision of indigenous leaders in China. The China Native Evangelistic Crusade (CNEC) was formed in 1943 with Calvin Chao as their first leader. Partnerships quickly multiplied and by 1949 there were 150 indigenous leaders in China supported through this model.
In 1960, Allen Finley became the first president of CNEC, and partnership expanded throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Allen focused on coming alongside indigenous leaders to truly fuel their vision for their community—our partnership model that still exists today. In the mid-1980s, CNEC officially became Partners International, and in 1999 God gave a new vision to reach those in the world who do not have access to the gospel. At this time, the least reached became our sole focus. Today, working in over 30 of the least reached countries, we continue to fuel indigenous leaders through resources, training, and prayer, aiming to reach the 3.2 billion people who have not yet had an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.