About Interserve

Interserve is one of the oldest international, interdenominational, overseas-focused agencies in existence. We began in 1852 in South Asia to care for the poor and marginalized in such a way that they could encounter Jesus and experience the life that He wanted for them. The vision God gave to our founders is still alive.

Jesus shapes our vision

By God’s grace, Jesus Christ has taken the first and foremost place in our hearts. Jesus shapes the way we see our world, and the way we see our place in the world.

We see brokenness and suffering in many places around the world. This is not surprising. After the fall, the human race quickly descended to a place where poverty and oppression abounded. Broken relationships, dashed expectations, lying, jealousy, manipulation, blame, shame, misogyny, murder and the like shaped the human experience. Jesus has shown us how this brokenness and suffering pains His heart and the Father’s heart.

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Many in the world have never had the opportunity to discover that their lives can be different. Since this is the case, Jesus has asked us to go and work alongside our brothers and sisters so that they may have the opportunity to hear about Him and ascend, not only out of the abyss of poverty and oppression, but also into His holy and transforming presence.

Jesus motivates us, inspires us, and directs us. Out of our love for and devotion to Him we are willing to follow Him wherever He leads. Jesus often leads us to work in areas that are not easy. Many of these areas are underdeveloped. Some of these areas are conflict ridden and have been for years. Nonetheless, along with His leading He gives us the grace we need to willingly go to these places and do what needs to be done. We go so that He may be pleased.

Since Jesus came as a servant, we are servants as well.

Jesus shapes our mission

Jesus’ incarnation shapes the way we live. 

We seek to live in communities for extended periods of time, learning their languages and adapting to their cultures while letting them experience the difference that the presence of the Lord makes in our lives.

Jesus’ cross shapes the way we work.

We work in areas where we do not have the power to control events and make things happen. Nonetheless, Jesus uses our lives, our work, and our relationships. Through these He enables us to be living expressions of His love and truth, directing people to Himself. They change and flourish as they encounter and follow Him.

Jesus’ resurrection shapes our confidence.

By following Jesus we change the way tomorrow looks for these individuals, for their communities, and for the world.

What We Believe

Interserve is an interdenominational and international community of evangelical Christians that exists to make Jesus Christ known through wholistic ministry, in partnership with the global church, among the neediest peoples of Asia and the Arab world.

1. We Bear Witness

As a community of disciples of Jesus Christ, we bear witness to the one living Creator God revealed in the Bible as three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We also bear witness to God’s loving intentions for humanity and for creation. Despite the entrance of sin into the world and its profound ramifications, God’s loving intentions remain unchanged. God initiated a plan which is being fulfilled through Jesus Christ: to reconcile humanity to God, to eliminate evil and suffering, to renew creation, and to live with redeemed humanity forever.

2. We Take Part in His Plan

God invites us to take part in this unchanging redemptive plan. We accept this invitation through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and in joyful obedience. We take on God’s mission as our wholistic mission. Therefore we aim to:

  • live as a community of the redeemed with moral integrity
  • work together in Christ-like unity, humility and sacrificial love
  • demonstrate the values and the transforming power of the kingdom of God in every sphere of society, participating through suffering in Christ’s triumph over evil
  • communicate to all nations the good news of God’s grace in Christ, through whom we can receive forgiveness of sin and live as disciples, in faith and repentance
  • serve needy people with compassion, pursue justice and peace, and care for creation.

3. Historic Truths of the Christian Faith

As a community of believers in Jesus Christ, we bear witness to the following truths of the historic Christian faith which inform our understanding of God, humanity, and creation; motivate us for mission; and form the foundation of our commitment:

God is personal
God actively reveals his existence, power and glory through the created universe. God is also personal, creating humanity to be in relationship with himself; to know, love, worship and obey him. God also created humanity in the divine image, reflecting his lordship over creation, and so delegating responsibility for stewardship of the earth to humanity, as male and female. As bearers of this divine image, humanity also reflects other attributes of God, such as holiness, creativity and love. We reflect these divine qualities to one another through our human equivalents, namely righteousness, creativity, justice and compassion.

Jesus is Lord and Christ
Jesus is the Word of God, through whom all things were made; he is the Lord of all Creation. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. God in Christ Jesus is reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Messiah; uniquely appointed by the Father to bring the blessings of healing and salvation to all nations. The Lord took on our human nature by a virgin birth as Jesus of Nazareth and entered into both our joy and our suffering. He taught and modelled the character of the kingdom of God to which he calls his disciples. When Jesus died on the cross he took upon himself the sin of the world, bearing its full penalty and removing its shame. Therefore, we are reconciled with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. On the cross Jesus defeated the powers of evil and made God’s offer of reconciliation available to all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or any other social identity. By his bodily resurrection, Jesus defeated death and initiated a new humanity. Through his ascension he was exalted as Lord of all. When Jesus Christ returns he will execute God’s judgement; destroy Satan, evil and death; and establish the universal reign of God.

God the Holy Spirit is present
The Holy Spirit has remained active ever since creation. The Holy Spirit convicts humanity of sin and judgement, leads us to faith and repentance, and provides transformation and empowering action for justice.  The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to dwell in all believers, enabling us to live in unity and to bear the fruits of holiness, Christ-likeness and practical obedience. The Holy Spirit gives gifts and empowers believers to discern truth, pray effectively, proclaim and demonstrate the gospel, and prevail over the forces of darkness.

The Bible is the Word of God
The Bible is the authentic Word of God spoken through human authors under the full inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It gives the account of creation, the fall, redemption and new creation. It is true and trustworthy in all it affirms, revealing God’s identity, character, purposes and actions throughout history. Therefore, God has supremely and uniquely authorised the Bible to guide and govern our beliefs, values and behaviors.

Humans have sinned
All humans have sinned by rebelling against God, rejecting God’s authority, and disobeying God’s Word. Our rebellion has alienated us from God and has unleashed the destructive powers of sin and evil. Our sin distorts the relationships within our families, our communities and our cultures. It adversely shapes economic, social, political and religious structures, resulting in injustice, inequality, poverty and abuse of the environment. Human rebellion deserves judgement and leads to eternal separation from God.

Humans are intrinsically valuable
The image of God in humanity, although distorted by sin, remains the basis of the uniqueness, dignity, sanctity and equality of all persons, without distinction. God is unchanging in love, despite human rejection, and cares for all people in all their cultural and ethnic diversity. Therefore all people are equally valuable in the sight of God, and he is reaching out in grace to save and transform all people through Jesus Christ.

The Church participates in God’s mission
The Church exists to worship and glorify God for all eternity, as well as to be a distinctive community of holiness, compassion and justice. As such, the Church stands in continuity with God’s people throughout the ages and is called, as Abraham was, to be a blessing to the nations. Therefore, the Church is commissioned by Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in the transforming, wholistic mission of God in history.

What Makes Interserve Different

International

Interserve is an international organization with 14 national councils and over 800 cross-cultural workers – whom we refer to as Partners.  An International Leadership ensures the development of the fellowship’s purpose, vision, direction, standard and systems. Each entity is responsible to implement these on behalf of the whole fellowship, developing them in ways that are contextually appropriate.

Inclusive

We celebrate the diversity that exists in the Body of Christ and welcome the distinctives that each denomination brings to our fellowship.  We welcome a rich diversity of cultures, providing opportunity for growth and learning. We also affirm that women and men share in the full range of ministry and leadership roles.

Wholistic

We believe that mission is our participation at God’s invitation and command in God’s goal to redeem God’s creation.  Therefore, our participation is wholistic, embracing the whole context of the individuals and communities we serve.

Embedded

Our Partners work in the heartlands of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.  These are areas where roughly ninety percent of the world’s unreached peoples live and only three percent of Christian workers serve.  Since these contexts are significantly different from ours, we emphasize that long-term, career service is the best way to effectively serve the peoples of these areas and glorify God.

Discipleship Focused

Being and making disciples cannot be separated from each other. Therefore, we are committed to the personal growth and development of our Partners. In addition, we are committed to seeing the transformation of individuals and communities in our areas of service through their encounter and ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ.  Since this transformation begins and expands at the relational level, it is natural that the sharing of our gifts, knowledge, experience, and walk with Christ take place in the context of our interpersonal relationships.

Extension of the Church

Local bodies of believers, here and abroad, are God’s vehicles for mission.  For churches in the USA, Interserve acts as a facilitator and extension of their involvement in worldwide service.  While abroad, Partners identify with and support the development of local churches in their areas of service.

The History of Interserve

Interserve’s roots go back to the early 19th century as a movement of Christian women from around the world. Inspired by the love of Jesus, and with the desire to do what they could to bring about his promise of fullness of life, women set up educational and healthcare initiatives to serve the women and children they met who lacked access to education or healthcare.

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In 1852 the Calcutta Normal School was inaugurated, followed by several hospitals across India which existed to serve all those in need. Other forms of service were initiated including community development programs, caring for people with leprosy, plague relief, and caring for orphans, reflecting our organizational commitment to whole-life ministry.

For the first hundred years of its life Interserve was an organization run solely by women who came not just from India and Britain but also New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Ireland. 

Interserve later merged with a like-minded organization based in the USA-founded by women in 1860-and Interservers now come from many more countries including Korea, Brazil, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  In 1952 Interserve decided to allow men to join.  Interserve’s ministry has expanded to include peoples from the Asia and Arab World living elsewhere in the world, a trend that started in 1960s UK among immigrants from South Asia.

Much has changed since those early days, but our core desire remains the same.  Motivated by the love of Christ, serving in partnership with the global church and using the skills, passions and abilities that God gave us, we seek to see lives and communities transformed through encounter with Jesus Christ.